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Employees are eschewing traditional pension schemes and demanding more progressive and accessible perks that better suit their lifestyle, according to research from e-bike subscription service DASH Rides and Sapio. Over a third (34%) of the 2,013 UK workers surveyed consider a benefits package to be one of the most important factors when choosing a company to work for, and 71% of respondents rated perks that can be easily accessed, such as office drinks and social events, above traditional pension schemes. 

COVID-19 has accelerated a ground-up revolution in employee expectations, with workers seeking more meaningful and relevant benefits. 82% of UK workers said that they would like their employers to use the pandemic as a catalyst to revamp employee benefits and perks, with a further 71% believing their company remunerations package is outdated. Importantly, 85% of those surveyed want benefits that are more lifestyle orientated and focussed on employee wellbeing. 

Jamie Milroy, co-founder and CEO at DASH Rides, explains: 

“Employees have described the past 18 months as the most stressful in their careers. The pandemic has not only amplified financial stress, as well as mental and physical strain, but people have also been working longer hours than ever before. Attitudes around work have fundamentally changed and as we begin to build a ‘new normal’ in our working lives, employees are placing a higher value on workplace benefits that address these challenges. Perks and benefits that are both easily and immediately accessible and help contribute to healthier, more fulfilling and sustainable lifestyles will be increasingly important as we rebuild post COVID.” 

There’s no question that a company pension provision remains a valued part of any employee benefits package. The survey showed that employees still rate a pension provision in their top four benefits, along with bonus or profit related reward schemes, flexi-hours, and mental health / wellness support. The difference in a post-COVID era is that employees are also placing greater value on perks that they can gain access to almost immediately, and with ease. Only 39% of those surveyed said that their current benefits are easy to access. 

The research also pointed to greater emphasis being placed on physical and mental wellness. 80% of workers planning on returning to the office want to travel in a way that is better for their physical fitness, and the same percentage are looking to find greener and more sustainable ways to travel. A quarter (23%) of respondents highlighted transport and travel schemes, such as cycle to work, among their top-three must-have benefits. 

Purpose before profit, small steps over grand gestures

Reaffirming the importance of an organisation’s values and ideals, almost nine out of ten employees surveyed value working for a company with purpose (88%), with a similar number (87%) wanting their companies to take meaningful action against climate change. Increasingly, employees want to feel connected to the work they are doing, to work in a way that matches their lifestyle and supports their mental and physical health, and to work for a company with purpose.

Four out of five people (85%) believe that sustainability means more than investing in carbon offset credits, and a similar number (84%) would prefer their employer to be making small, achievable steps to bettering their environmental impact today than setting ambitious targets that won’t be realised for years to come.

Milroy continued: “The evolution of modern work requires organisations and HR departments to rethink how they’re structuring their workplace rewards in order to optimise employee engagement and motivate the workforce of the future. Providing benefits packages that are closely aligned to people’s individual needs and aspirations is an important step to take, but real value comes from building sustainability, climate action and employee wellness right into the heart of a business. As HR teams seek to minimise the impact of ‘the Great Resignation’, introducing rewards that echo the changing expectations of employees can go a very long way in the war for talent.” 

Through the Cycle to Work scheme, DASH Rides is making e-bikes affordable and accessible to all, while providing businesses with the tools they need to be carbon neutral. Since COVID-19, progressive HR teams including What3words, FlyVictor and CurrencyCloud, have invested heavily in its e-bike subscription to provide their people with safer, healthier, more environmentally friendly transport solutions as part of their employee perks.