What can Companies do to be Competitive, Beyond Salary?


Your company reputation as an employer and, therefore, how attractive your company is to candidates can be made or broken by what you offer them as an extra to the basic need to work for money. In turn, your retention of staff and productivity is boosted by an excellent rewards system. Here are just some ideas you can offer:

Hybrid working

This, of course, is the most obvious and most talked about perk. In fact, it’s often talked about as being the new normal working model rather than as a perk. 84% of workers surveyed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that they wanted to continue hybrid working post-pandemic. Of course, it’s not possible for all professions, but it really should be top of your perk list if it works for your business.

Flexible working 

Other flexible working options you could consider are:

  • Job sharing, where two people do one job and split the hours.
  • Compressed hours where the employee works the full number of hours but over fewer days.
  • Flexitime, where the employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits).
  • Annualised hours where the employee has to work a certain number of hours over the year, but they have some flexibility about when they work, again within agreed limits.
  • Staggered hours where employees have different start, finish and break times from other workers.

Bonuses and financial rewards

  • Profit shares offered in addition to the regular salary.
  • Employee stock options, where the employee is able to buy stock at a reduced price.
  • Performance-based bonuses. As opposed to the profit share this would reward specific pre-established goals and benchmarks.
  • Enhanced company pensions. Whilst all companies now have to provide a pension and pay 3% of the salary into it, you could offer an enhanced pension where you contribute more.
  • Discounts and offers. If you are a large enough company, you may be able to negotiate discounts on products from local businesses, such as shops, cafes or services. The bonus here is supporting your local community and boosting your reputation as an employer. Smaller companies could join an employee rewards company for access to a greater range of discounts and perks. These can include discounts and vouchers for restaurants, shops, fuel, book vouchers, concert tickets, and sports events. Really, the world’s your oyster!
  • Subsidised public transport to get to and from work would be a great money saver for your employees.
  • Childcare vouchers and other employer-supported childcare. Student loan repayment contributions.

Employee development

  • Offer a mentoring scheme. This can be hugely rewarding for both the mentor and the mentee. 
  • Always make sure you have a ring-fenced professional development budget.
  • Link training to recognised qualifications.
  • Time off or financial support for work-related adult education or development and training courses.
  • Pay for memberships to professional organisations.
  • Look out for industry conferences and events.


There are certain things you can provide to promote the health of your workforce, such as:

  • Cycle-to-work schemes
  • Gym membership
  • Lunchtime exercise classes
  • Free health trackers
  • Private dental care

Christmas and other holidays

  • An annual Christmas or summer event for your staff is great for fostering togetherness and having fun. It doesn’t have to be a big boozy event if you don’t want that sort of thing. If you can combine it with giving a Christmas gift or bonus time, even better.
  • Time off at Christmas is a winner. Let your staff have the week between Christmas and New Year off as an extra to their annual leave.
  • Recognising and supporting other religious holidays with a day off would also go down well.

Company culture 

  • Charitable connections such as charity donation matching, company-sponsored charity events, company-supported volunteering, or having a partner charity.
  • Monday morning pastries to make getting over the weekend easier! Everyone always does treats for the wind-down feeling on Fridays, but why not make coming into work on Monday more enjoyable too?! That said, having a Friday treat day – cakes or cocktails – is a winner too.
  • Birthday recognition. A simple birthday card from the boss can go a long way.
  • Employee to employee nomination for special thanks. This could be done in a weekly all-staff email or at one of the regular all-staff meetings.
  • Introduce lunchtime leisure classes like painting, pottery, or astronomy! Be creative!

One very important caveat, though. Don’t forget that not everything will be for everyone. Events outside of work hours might be impossible for those needing to provide childcare. Many people don’t drink, so they won’t see anything boozy as much of a treat. Going to the gym/exercise classes is some people’s idea of hell. So, make sure that all perks are seen as just that, a perk and not a requirement.