Struggling to find ways to offer attractive staff benefits for your employees?
Staff benefits are one of the most crucial aspects that employees look at when considering whether or not to take a job. Subsequently, attractive staff benefits also play a key role in ensuring that your employees are satisfied and motivated in the long run. Thus making your company more likely to retain your most important workers.
A survey conducted by STJobs revealed that only 45% of Singaporeans are satisfied with their job benefits, a significantly lower figure when compared to the Asia pacific average of 56% and even the global average of 53%.
In order to address this problem, there’s been a trend of employers adopting flexible staff benefits in the hopes of meeting the needs of their employees for the sake of employee retention and attracting new talent.
Competing with other companies as an SME can be difficult, but making your workplace culture appealing by providing flexible staff benefits is one way you can gain an edge over multinationals in the job market.
1. Subsidized company trips/retreats
Any employee would agree that time off from work is important. However, surveys have shown that many Singaporean employees desire subsidized trips as part of their ideal staff benefits package.
Typical days off don’t necessarily reinforce the company’s standing among employees, but a subsidized trip or company retreat could be a great way to provide employees with some respite from work while also fostering a positive view of the company in the eyes of your staff and building positive relationships between your employees.
2. Sponsored Group Outings/activities
Subsidized holiday trips overseas are a very attractive staff benefit for employees. The problem is – they require a lot of time, effort and money to organize and are usually limited to taking place once a year.
Instead of just providing full-on company retreats, perhaps consider organizing more sponsored group outings for your employees. This can include activities such as sports, visits to places of interest in Singapore, or even group cooking classes.
Such group outings are useful for reinforcing motivation and team spirit among your employees. There’s even an additional benefit to your company. They fall under the category of benefits outlined by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) as: “Benefits that foster goodwill or promote camaraderie among staff”.
Tax concessions are provided for these types of staff benefits as long as they are provided for all employees. This makes them a great way of boosting employee satisfaction without over-stretching the company budget.
3. Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)
This is one example of staff benefits that is becoming increasingly important among Singaporean companies. Especially since it’s one of the key actions under the Tripartite Standards which mark the companies that are joining the ranks of Singapore’s growing number of progressive employers.
In the modern era of business, many companies understand that employees don’t need to be physically present in the office to facilitate efficiency and communication. Progressive businesses/employers that are offering flexible work arrangements as part of their staff benefits have been reaping the benefits of doing so.
Giving employees the ability to determine their own working hours can go a long away in improving efficiency and boosting employee satisfaction.
It would be reasonable for a small company to assume that it would have difficulty implementing flexible work arrangements, but according to the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, at least 1 in 5 of the 250+ early adopters of the tripartite standards were SME’s.
Types of flexible work arrangements under the tripartite standards (as per the TAFEP.sg website) include:
Flexi-load (e.g. part-time or job-sharing)
Flexi-time (e.g. staggered hours and compressed work week)
Flexi-place (e.g. telecommuting)
Adopting flexible work arrangements under the tripartite standard could even make your company eligible for the FWA Incentive or the Job Sharing Incentive which could grant you up to $70,000 or $35,000 respectively over the course of 2 years – both of which are grants intended to help companies (particularly SMEs) implement the progressive standards for flexible working arrangements.
4. Individual Performance Bonus
It’s no secret that employees want to be rewarded for their work. However, employees still commonly feel like they aren’t being adequately recognized for their contributions in the workplace.
An individual performance bonus can motivate employees to hit desirable targets and key performance indicators within certain periods of time. Make sure you can set reasonable targets for the employees to achieve while having a reasonable incentive to go with it.
5. Annual Wage Supplement
The annual wage supplement (AWS) is a single annual payment that is made in addition to the employee’s full annual wage.
It’s very similar to the yearly bonus in a sense, but the difference between a bonus and an AWS is that the bonus is usually a reward based on an employee’s performance, while the amount of an AWS is listed as part of the employee contract or decided in a collective agreement.
Including a yearly reward for your employees’ service is usually a good idea, and reaching an agreement regarding an AWS with your employees may be more effective for improving employee morale than leaving the possibility of a bonus dangling.
6. Long Service Awards
The long service award can come in particularly useful in reassuring employees that their service will be appreciated and rewarded by the company, particularly for SME’s
Bestowing the long service award on deserving employees will reduce the likelihood that employees become disgruntled as time goes on. New and prospective employees will also be convinced that they have a good reason to commit to your company in the long term.
Remember that the flexibility of staff benefits is just as important as their availability. This applies particularly for the long service award, as different employees may want to claim the benefits of the award in different ways.
Rather than offering physical or monetary gifts, employees may prefer to have more days of paid leave or more flexible work arrangement options.
Non-monetary awards are also exempted from tax according to the (IRAS), or gifts and small sums provided that they do not exceed the value of $200, making them even more beneficial for companies to give out.
7. Insurance/Medical Benefits
Speaking of reassurance, certain groups of employees greatly value medical benefits, particularly those that have dependent families.
It’s quite common for employees to decide not to work at somewhere that doesn’t provide adequate medical coverage under their staff benefits. This is especially true for employees that have special circumstances, such as a sick family member.
Offering insurance as part of a flexible benefits package can go a long a way in assisting such employees or maintaining employees that inadvertently find themselves in a situation where they require more comprehensive insurance coverage during the course of their employment at your company.
The IRAS offers a tax concession on medical benefits that cover both hospitalisation and outpatient treatment, as long as these benefits are made available to all staff. As such, making good medical coverage a part of your staff benefits program is a vital aspect that no company should neglect.
8. Staff Discounts
Staff discounts are terrific as they can be an attractive part of a flexible benefits package while actually helping to reduce the overall burden of the employee’s benefits on your company’s budget.
With staff discounts in place, the benefits you bestow to employees will be re-invested into your company. This also strengthens the sense of brand identity and exclusivity amongst your employees.
Furthermore, the IRAS doesn’t consider staff discounts offered by employees and their related entities as taxable items. Make sure that all staff have access to the discount, and that the discounted item doesn’t exceed $500 in value. With all this considered, staff discounts are easily one of the best staff benefits to offer.
A seemingly innocuous benefit, but one that many Singaporean employees apparently desire from their employers.
Keep in mind that company dental plans are sometimes entirely separate from medical benefits, but dental problems can easily be just as concerning as other health problems. This ends up becoming a major source of financial grief for many employees and their families
Providing a comprehensive dental plan for all employees may be costly to an SME, but you can offer dental coverage as part of a flexible benefits package for your employees to utilize as they see fit. This allows you to cater to certain employees needs without putting excessive strain on your budget.
Furthermore, dental care also falls under the category of “Benefits and perquisites relating to employee’s health”. This makes it exempt from tax the same way employee health benefits are.
Providing the above benefits doesn’t necessarily entail a huge cost, but can go a long way in improving employee satisfaction. Especially when it comes to providing those staff benefits that are eligible for tax concessions.
Singaporean employers have been following the trend of adopting flexible benefits to help improve employee work-life balance. The Singapore Government is also pushing this by providing grants for companies to facilitate flexible arrangements.
Companies may wish to look into government grants to help facilitate these arrangements, but one of the most effective and hassle free ways of facilitating your employee benefits budget could be to apply for a loan through FS Bolt which can give your business a quick injection of funds up to $50,000.
By providing desirable and flexible benefits to your employees, you will be able to ensure high levels of productivity and employee retention, while attracting new talents and reducing turnover.