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Strengthening employer branding with the right corporate benefits

Employee benefits are common in many companies. Employers provide employees with additional benefits. In addition to salary, these benefits are a critical factor in attracting and retaining employees. Recruiting has changed dramatically in recent months and companies need to take action to attract the best talent. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, digitalization and other factors, our working world has changed. Gen Z in particular has different expectations of their employer, and companies need to internalize these in order to win over this generation. But other generations have also undergone a transformation. Employers now have to convince people with a strong employer brand, because a good salary and a fruit basket in the kitchen have long since ceased to be enough to attract and retain employees.

What is employer branding?

Competition for the best talent (the so-called "war for talent") is prompting companies to promote their brand as an employer. Employer branding describes the efforts to present oneself as an attractive employer on the market. To this end, strategies and measures are developed to draw the attention of potential employees to the employer brand and to position the company advantageously. However, employer branding does not only refer to recruiting. Once employees have been hired, they must be retained. Identification with the values and culture of the company should be strengthened.

What are the benefits of employer branding for employers?

The employer branding measures are intended to ensure that skilled workers choose the employer rather than the competition. In addition, the aim is to avoid high fluctuation. The goals include:

  • Persuading potential applicants,
  • Positioning as an attractive employer on the market,
  • Establishing a positive employer brand,
  • Authentic communication,
  • Employee retention.

If companies succeed in developing and implementing a suitable strategy, they benefit from faster application processes, an increase in applications and a strengthening of the company's profitability.

What do corporate benefits have to do with employer branding?

Employee benefits are part of the employer branding strategy. They alone are not sufficient in the battle for the best talent. However, they can provide a great advantage and should not be underestimated. Nowadays, employee benefits are much more than just providing a company car or perks in the cafeteria. Properly implemented, they offer employees real added value and help create a good work-life balance.

Employee benefits are nothing new, but they should still be reviewed as part of the employer branding strategy. While it is well-intentioned to simply provide a lot of benefits, they must really be accepted by employees and create added value. Many companies still fail to do this - several surveys confirm that employees' perceptions of good corporate benefits differ from what companies actually offer. Our working world is constantly changing, and that's where employers need to start and challenge the status quo. What worked five years ago may work less today.

Which employee benefits really add value?

Whether employers want to introduce new corporate benefits or revise existing offerings: All benefits should also offer added value to all employees! To illustrate this in practice, we have compared frequently used offers, which usually only provide an advantage to some of the employees, with individual benefits from which everyone benefits.

Flexible working models:

Most employees want more flexibility in their day-to-day work. Most job postings offer just that: Flexible working hours and the possibility to work in a home office. However, at the latest during the job interview, it often turns out that there are core working hours and that attendance is mandatory for three days in the office. If the work requires this, that is of course absolutely fine - but it should also be communicated accordingly. Many jobs can now be performed remotely, but employers are only introducing these models to a limited extent, as there is still a great deal of uncertainty here.

The alternative: real flexibility without rigid rules. Employees are all in different life situations that require different forms of flexibility. For parents, it may be important to quickly pick up the child from school. Introverted employees may work most productively when they are not exposed to so many stimuli that the open-plan office often brings. Of course, it makes sense to meet in the office every now and then, but mandatory attendance on certain days takes away from the added value of flexible work models for employees.

Grant for fitness classes:

Yoga classes in the office or discounted gym subscriptions are nice-to-haves, but not everyone loves sports or can find the right offerings for them in the limited selection. There are also employees who simply go outdoors or jog regularly. Employers should factor in these circumstances as well. 

The alternative: a flexible budget that can be used for several activities. Again, the offer should be as individual as possible. Companies can provide a monthly budget for many types of recreation and compensation: fitness, wellness, culture, etc. 

Meal Subsidy:

Companies that have a canteen often offer discounts. Alternatively, there is a meal subsidy that can be used. But this concept also falls short in the meantime and does not include everyone. Employees who work primarily in a home office do not benefit from this benefit. There are also people who prefer to bring their own food from home or don't want to eat in the canteen because of the limited choice.

The alternative: a monthly budget that can be used not only in the canteen or within walking distance of the office. Employees who work part-time should benefit just as much from the offer, even if they don't eat lunch in the office. With our B-Card in Berlin or the Minga Card in Munich, employers can offer their employees a regional non-cash card that also supports the regional economy. The budget can be used in many favorite places spread throughout the city.

When introducing or restructuring corporate benefits, it is particularly important to include the employer branding objectives and to design the offers individually. Only by taking a holistic view of employees' needs and offering real added value can a company gain an advantage and strengthen its employer brand.

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