Perks of the job

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 During an era of job cuts and widespread pay freezes, employee benefits are an essential way of maintaining motivation and satisfaction. But just how important are these?

After sitting through a palm-sweating, grilling and probing interview from potential bosses, the first question you’re likely to be asked afterwards is not about how well your interrogation went, but what are the perks like?

It’s in our nature to want to know what added extras we’re going to get. We always like to believe we’re getting a good deal, be it at a hotel, whilst out buying a new pair of jeans, or at work.

With job security at an all time low and wage increases way below the rate of inflation, employers are realising the importance of reward packages to keep experienced professionals on board.

For the past four decades, organisations have increasingly looked to improve the benefits packages which they offer to staff. These have become more individualistic recently as organisations aim to increase loyalty via new perks instead of widespread salary increases.

Private medical and accident insurance, season ticket travel passes, death in service payments, flexitime and pensions schemes are all commonplace. But are they enough to stop employees making envious glances at roles in other organisations?

These perks are appreciated if they are ever called upon – and may even be taken for granted in the modern workplace – but when employees are asking for more towards the price of travel or a greater subsidy at the canteen there comes a point when employers start to rein in added benefits.

As companies have started to tighten their belts, company cars have been pulled, pension schemes have stopped and the portion sizes at lunch have been reduced. These added extras may seem to be expendable by employers, but they are valued by the workforce. When these are removed staff take it personally – people like boasting about having the nearest car parking space to the door or how their dog is insured through the firm.

But what can be done about it? Would you really put your job on the line to insist Puddles’ vet’s bill is covered or because you now have to fight for a parking space every morning? How important are perks of the job at a time when people are pleased not to arrive at work on a Monday morning and find their P45?

Have your say on your benefits package in Pf’s annual Company Perception, Motivation and Satisfaction Survey here. The online survey takes only ten minutes to complete with a donation made by HSP – the publisher of Pharmaceutical Field – to the charity Home from Hospital Care for every completed form.