Implement staff incentive schemes
Using staff benefits to motivate and retain staff - Outsource Solutions
Outsource Solutions is an IT managed services provider offering IT, communications and consultancy services. The company based across various locations in Northern Ireland, including Antrim, Belfast and Cookstown, also has offices in Dublin and Scotland.
Sara Allen, Head of Communication and Culture, explains how the company engages with employees and through incentives and benefits, they retain and attract staff.
"The organisation is committed to creating and maintaining a company culture that values staff and actively listens to them. Our regular team days, random treats, and ongoing celebrations, when we want to mark a moment of success, are a small part of this ethos. Outsource staff also have access to benefits including flexible working, health schemes, medical insurance and a bonus day off on their birthday. We believe that our approach and some of these benefits help to contribute to increased staff engagement and employee retention."
Promote healthy work-life balance
"The importance of work-life balance is recognised by Outsource, so flexible and remote working is open to all staff. The only exception to remote working within the company is for our telephone support team where staff need to have a physical presence in the office over a set period. In this instance, that team benefits by personally managing their rota so that support cover is always available, but individuals also get to enjoy regular time off on a rotational basis."
Offer a birthday day off
"Another benefit we offer is that staff employed for a year qualify for an extra annual day off on their birthday. If this day falls on a weekend, the employee can choose to take either the Friday or Monday as leave. Staff with birthdays that fall during a public holiday such as Christmas can take an alternative day. This approach works positively to boost staff morale, as employees get to enjoy an extra day off. From a company perspective, staff birthdays fall relatively evenly across the year, so absences never affect operational function in any one single day."
Focus on health and wellbeing
"Staff health and wellbeing is an important focus within the organisation. A financial benefit we provide to staff is automatic enrolment to free healthcare when they have been with the company for a qualifying period. These employees get access to, dental care, private medical care, counselling sessions and discounted family membership.
"We support health and wellbeing events organised by staff throughout the year. We also have Vitality Champions, who we recognise and celebrate for their individual health or fitness achievements - this could include a team member who quit smoking and took up running."
Offer surprise treats
"Staff incentives don't have to be expensive. We have had a positive response to surprising staff with random treats. These can be to celebrate success, boost morale or even just because it's Friday! We have had everything from speciality doughnuts, pastries for morning coffee, or an ice-cream van arriving at the offices on a sunny afternoon. These small gestures frequently bring a smile to faces and make staff feel appreciated."
Ask staff their opinions
"Outsource places importance on listening to staff. We value feedback from every member of the team. The company actively makes and creates space for staff to be heard. We have impromptu team huddles - these gather staff together to provide feedback on ideas. These sessions aim to allow equal opportunity for staff to share their views and opinions."
"Another way that we engage with staff is through our employee forum. The employee forum aims to achieve two-way communication between staff and management. The group meets on a quarterly basis and assembles staff from various site locations and different teams to voice concerns and table ideas for improvement. Ideas often range from suggestions for enhancing organisational processes to improving site facilities. Engaging with staff is important but we believe that it must be balanced with implementing positive suggestions for change and delivering on any promises made."
"Other ways that Outsource makes and creates space for staff to be heard is through management open door policies and regular staff surveys. We believe that our approach and the benefits help to contribute to increased staff engagement and employee retention We are a growing team, our motto, 'work with us not for us' is certainly bought into by our staff who give us regular positive feedback confirming they feel valued, trusted and happy to come to work."
Sara's top tips:
- “Listen to your staff - create the space to hear what your staff say, never just dismiss a staff suggestion or idea, take every comment on board, even if there may be areas of disagreement.”
- “Be true to your word - integrity is key when introducing any benefits or staff incentives, make sure you deliver on any promises made.”
- “Make it personal and enjoy it - not everything will work, so don’t offer benefits or incentives just for the sake of it. Make it personal for your team. Making your staff smile is something that money cannot buy.”