The Rise of Non-Traditional Benefits to Increase Retention - XCD

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Non-traditional benefits to retain employees are making a serious splash in the HR world with more companies hopping on the bandwagon daily.

In the post-Great Resignation world, traditional life and health insurance simply isn’t enough for retaining employees who are invested in the company.

That’s where non-traditional employee benefits come in. Today, we’re looking at what non-traditional benefits are, how they can impact employee retention, and how to ensure you’re providing the right benefits for your business. 

Examples of Non-Traditional Benefits

Traditional benefits refer to things like health insurance, pension, and life insurance, they are standard. Non-traditional benefits are a new concept that focuses on giving employees more freedom and incentives through benefits like flexible work arrangements, professional development, and employee recognition. Let’s take a look at some common examples.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements are slowly but surely becoming one of the most popular employee retention strategies in the UK. A competitive salary simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Recent global events have shown just how much flexible work arrangements can benefit companies’ employee retention.

In-office work might not be necessary in certain fields where one-on-one communication and collaboration aren’t required. In this instance, offering employees the flexibility to incorporate a less traditional work arrangement can greatly increase healthy work/life balance opportunities.

This doesn’t only make for a more positive workspace but can also avoid burnout. Employees feel they can take the time they need for work, which benefits employee retention. 

Even in collaborative workplaces, many organisations are finding ways to make asynchronous and remote work effective. It’s become clear that flexibility is highly valued by many employees and is a great motivator to stay at a company.

You may also be interested in: How cloud technology enables flexible working

Unlimited Time Off

The thought of unlimited holidays can sound like a nightmare for HR, but it shouldn’t. Unlimited time off simply means that the workers that get their work done to a high standard in a fraction of the time aren’t punished with more work. Instead, they can take time off how and when they like, as long as the work is still finished effectively. 

Unlimited time off encourages employees to make the most of their work time. It’s an incentive to work hard when it’s required so that they can enjoy the free time that waits ahead. 

To make unlimited time off work you need to have a good structure with policies in place to ensure employees don’t abuse the system. It also requires a lot of trust from employers to give employees the reins of their own schedules. 

However, there is a limit and that’s where having the right policies in place is important. While there is no number of days provided with unlimited time off, there are guidelines and parameters that HR should clearly communicate to ensure it’s fair for everyone. 

The company culture should be about working hard and getting involved to ensure everyone benefits from unlimited time off. It’s a company-wide initiative, not about personal gain. 

Be sure to check the leave days though as some studies show that employees tend to take less than their allotted legal amount of leave with this model. Fortunately, with XCD’s time and expenses software, keeping track of employees’ leave couldn’t be easier.

Wellness Programs

Wellness programs are fantastic for employee retention for two reasons. Firstly, providing employees with wellness incentives can make them feel supported. Secondly, there is potential to improve employee health, leading to fewer sick days and better productivity overall. 

Here are a few ways to incorporate a wellness program:

  • Education: The company invites a speaker to educate the team and run workshops on various health topics. This could be for quitting smoking, increasing mindfulness, or how to improve mental health. 
  • Workout rooms or gym memberships: Physical activity is vital for a healthy body and mind. Consider providing employees with a space within the office or nearby where they can schedule a quick workout. 
  • Healthy recreational activities: Planning team sports days or competitions are great for team morale and personal health. 

Professional Development Opportunities

Employees want to know that there is room for growth and upskilling in their roles. Without this incentive employees can start to feel stagnant, leading to discontent and high employee turnover.

Companies should always encourage employee career growth

One of the main benefits of employee retention is the more skills employees have the better the company will do as a whole. It’s all about progressing team members to the next level to continually better the organisation and what it has to offer. 

Here are some ways organisations can implement professional development:

  • Workshops
  • Seminars
  • Mentoring
  • Tuition assistance for further studies
  • Online learning platforms
  • Access to relevant materials (studies, eBooks etc)
  • Conferences
  • Certifications

If funds are an issue, offering in-house training and mentorships also benefits employees. It’s a fantastic place to start improving employee engagement.

Employee Recognition Initiatives

One of the best ways to increase employee retention with relatively little cost to the company is recognition initiatives. You would be surprised how far a pat on the back will go. 

Employees want to know that when they put the hard work in they are recognised and appreciated. Low employee morale and a hesitancy to put the hard work in is common if employees are never recognised for the work they’re doing. 

Here are recognition initiatives to try:

  • Employee of the month or quarter
  • Performance bonuses
  • Peer recognition initiatives
  • Team recognition
  • Impromptu rewards for fantastic results
  • Employee appreciation events
  • Personal thank you notes

Any one of these is sure to have employees feeling a lot more appreciated and seen for the hard work they’ve put in. 

Impact on Employee Retention

Implementing some of these non-traditional employee benefits can have a substantial impact on employee retention. 

  • Better employee loyalty: Employees who feel recognised, supported, looked after, and encouraged are far more likely to remain loyal to the company that invested in them. Employees can feel more supportive of company values and goals when they are rewarded for their time and efforts.
  • Highly skilled workers: By providing professional development opportunities, companies improve the skills and knowledge of all employees. This leads to higher work standards and increased industry knowledge that can improve team success. Employees prefer to stay where they are making a difference. 
  • Improved company culture: Offering any of the above will leave employees happier and healthier. When workers feel like their company is investing in them and their wellbeing they are more inclined to support and promote company culture. When employees feel like part of the bigger team they want to remain on board to drive success. 
  • Better customer relations: It’s not only employees and companies that benefit. Long-standing employees build and maintain relationships with clients. These relationships are often what keep clients coming back. Clients also trust companies that look after workers and focus on employee retention for long periods. High employee turnover is a red flag for customers.

You may also be interested in: Developing retention strategies to combat the Great Resignation

Aligning Non-Traditional Benefits with Organisational Culture and Preferences

When making considerable changes to employee benefits you need an understanding of the organisational culture and employee engagement. There’s no point in offering benefits that employees won’t use or that won’t positively impact the company. 

Here are a few ways to find out what non-traditional benefits your employees are looking for:

  • Employee surveys: Focus groups and surveys offer the perfect opportunity for existing employees to voice their needs and wants. Ask directly what types of employee benefits they will value and that they believe will have a positive impact on the team and employee satisfaction. 
  • Customisable benefits: Non-traditional benefits are already quite a big leap for some more traditional companies, but it goes a bit further. You can customise the benefits per employee. This could mean individual schedules, learning opportunities, or even childcare assistance. 
  • Communicate the benefits: Most employees aren’t aware of the employee benefits package at their disposal. It’s up to HR to ensure that all employees know about the benefits and how to apply them in the workplace. 
  • Select benefits that work for the organisation: Non-traditional benefits aren’t for every company, so it’s important to know what your organisation represents. For example, if the company is set with a 9-5 and meeting with clients face to face, there isn’t much room for flexible work arrangements. But you can focus on other benefits to make up for it. 
  • Monitor effectiveness: You need to evaluate how the new benefits are working for employees and whether they’re making an impactful difference. Only then can you decide which benefits are a good long-term fit. 

Regardless of the benefits you choose, they must align with the overall organisational culture. With XCD’s powerful reporting and analytics software, HR professionals can use essential data to glean key insights into benefits, retention, and employee happiness.


Increasing retention is one of the key challenges for HR professionals, especially in 2023. This means learning what employees need to stay and how changing benefit schemes can keep employees fulfilled and content. 

With all this going on you shouldn’t have to worry about HR administrative tasks taking up all your time. Book a demo or contact us to find out more about how our single solution software can give you the time to focus on more important and strategic aspects of the business.