What Work Perks Do Employees Really Want?

To some businesses, employee benefits are perceived as an added extra instead of an essential.

In fact, according to research, 26% of UK employees don’t receive any employee benefits at all.

Yet, this fact is even more staggering when further studies discovered that more than a third of employees class company benefits as one of the biggest factors they consider before accepting a new job.

So if you’re wondering why you have a high turnover rate or simply can’t attract the best talent, you may want to address this factor immediately.

As we mentioned previously, getting this right from the outset can:

  • Improve staff retention — with 66% of employees stating that they’d probably choose to stay longer with a business that offers top benefits.

With this in mind, what are the best employee benefits to offer?

Well, while it mostly depends on the type of personnel you have in your business, there are a few places to start.

Using the latest findings by London Loves Business, we’ve listed the results below.

The best employee benefits revealed

Of course flexi-time and sabbaticals are still a positive addition to any employee benefits package.

However, the report by London Loves Business stated that they are actually declining in popularity among employees.

Instead, workers are starting to demand more social and learning-based perks.

Employees are increasingly looking to enjoy as well as learn new things via clubs and activities.

These include things like setting up knitting and book clubs.

Naturally, this may come as a surprise to many businesses.

More traditional benefits like:

  • sabbatical opportunities;

are averaging a score of 72 out of 100.

In fact, 48% of workers believe that social and learning-based perks can help make their colleagues work better together.

Although 42% would simply appreciate the opportunity to do these sort of things.

But regardless of these interesting revelations, only 3% of UK businesses are currently offering this kind of employee benefit.

This means that millions of businesses are risking making employees feel undervalued and wanting to move on.

Are you one of them?

Chieu Cao, CMO & Co-Founder at Perkbox, said:

“It’s interesting to see that extra-curricular clubs and activities such as book clubs are in such high demand by UK employees.

And it’s especially fascinating to see how so many are moving away from what are often more boozy perks like Christmas parties or free drinks on Fridays.

Whether it’s a case of workers simply expecting these more traditional benefits, or simply that people are wanting more unusual or innovative benefits from their employers, the workforce is changing.

Interestingly, this research has shown a bit of disconnect between what employees want and what employers believe they want.

In order to ensure the budget being put into offering employee benefits is being used as effectively as it can, this is something that employers should pay closer attention to.

If a benefit or perk that is being offered isn’t something the majority of the workforce is interested in, it begs the question of whether it is the best use of this budget.”

The business lesson

While these statistics offer an interesting insight, there are a lot of other findings out there that provide a different analysis on the scenario.

For instance, Reed’s findings reveal that free tea and coffee is voted as the most popular office perk and free ice cream as the best seasonal benefit.

Interestingly, the same study found that flexible working hours is also a popular seasonal benefit among businesses — which is a complete contradiction to the other report.

The real lesson to remember here is the fact that a large majority of professionals see employee benefits as a key element in their decision-making process of whether to take a job or stay at a particular company.

My word of advice is to sit down and ask your employees what they are actually interested in.

To avoid getting a wide-range of odd requests, narrow their options down into categories.

For example:

  • Social activities — like monthly team bonding nights.


Hopefully, this has given you a nice bit of inspiration on what employee perks to provide and ways to improve your current package.

All in all, just give your current employees the option and you should see a significant improvement in staff retention.

For more HR and recruitment tips, head over to our blog — here.

- Mark Wilkinson

Originally published at www.coburgbanks.co.uk on November 5, 2018.



We’re a UK based, multi-sector recruiter that‘s on a mission to prove that recruitment doesn’t necessarily have to be predictable and boring.

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Coburg Banks

We’re a UK based, multi-sector recruiter that‘s on a mission to prove that recruitment doesn’t necessarily have to be predictable and boring.