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Employee benefits

Motivated employees can produce good results, but how can those results be maintained for the good of the business? The answer, Lauren Razavi says, might lie in employee benefits.

Today, the Yorkshire village of Saltaire is a Unesco World Heritage site. But when the first stone was laid in 1851, no one was thinking about tourist attractions. Saltaire is an example of paternalism, a 19th century movement that viewed business owners as the “parents” of their employees. Salt’s Mill, named after founder Titus Salt, hoped to improve productivity by becoming involved in wider aspects of its workers’ lives. At its peak, Saltaire housed 3,000 textile mill employees and their families. They lived in houses with running water and a gas supply – novelties at the time – and had access to a hospital, school and gym. But these benefits came with rules and restrictions: Salt’s employment contract, for example, banned workers from behaving in ways he deemed unproductive, like drinking at the pub.

This form of austere paternalism is no longer prevalent in UK society where government provides generous benefits, but the idea of companies looking after their staff remains. The modern equivalent, though, is less about controlling the lives of employees, and more about recognising what motivates people, providing a choice of perks and ensuring talent is retained. So how can companies create the right employee benefit packages – and ensure they see a good return on investment (ROI)?

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 259, November 2017.  

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