Salary might have been the sticking point in the past, but our attitudes to work are changing. Employees are asking for different kinds of compensation and workplace perks as a reward for their hard work.
There’s lots of reasons for this, namely COVID-19. More people than ever have had to work from home. Whether you love it or hate it, it's here to stay. For many, it's a better way of working. Post-COVID, we expect that a lot of teams will remain remote or move towards a hybrid-working model.
Clearly, flexibility is key, but that's not the only thing applicants should consider when applying for a role. We've put together a checklist of things to ask in a job interview besides salary. Seven benefits and factors to consider that add value, not just financially either.
Feedback on the following will provide an insight into the company culture and give you an idea of the kind of benefits you'll want to negotiate early on. As for existing employees, it's worth broaching these topics too, if you haven't already, to ensure job satisfaction and work/life balance all-round.
1) Remote working
We've touched on this already, so let's dive deeper. In a survey conducted by Future Strategy Club, 52% of employees said they enjoy a better work-life balance now they work at home. Less time (and money) spent commuting means more time for ourselves and our loved ones.
Of course, remote working has its challenges. Trust us, we know, because our team is totally remote. But we have been for a while, so we’ve put appropriate measures in place to stay healthy and happy at home.
If you think remote working could be for you, then ask your prospective employer what's possible. They may offer a mix of office-based and remote working. Research by the Adecco Group revealed that 77% of employees believe this is the way to go.
2) Employee share scheme
Not enough people ask about employee share schemes. So, why should you? Well, if you have a piece of the pie, you'll be more invested in the business, in every sense of the word. Having shares in addition to salary can be financially rewarding and, depending on the scheme, there are often tax advantages too.
Employee share schemes are proven to boost productivity, performance, engagement and overall happiness. Great for both employer and employee. Also, asking an employer about equity shows that you're interested in the future of the business and in it for the long haul.
3) Flexible working
Employers that don't offer flexible working are missing a trick. In a survey we conducted with YouGov, we put the following scenario forward to 2,000 UK workers. If they had to choose between two jobs with identical pay, what would be the deciding factor? 66% said flexibility would tip the scales.
Flexible working is a priority not just for parents with child-care considerations but the Millennial workforce too. According to research by Capability Jane, 92% of Millennials identified flexibility as a top priority when job hunting. So employers, if you’re reading this, take note.
Flexible working isn't just the opportunity to work from home. Every organisation has a different definition of what constitutes flexible working. In the interview, ask about flexible working hours, time in lieu, dedicated training days, shift swaps or ways to accrue or buy more holiday.
Find out if the company offers training and development programmes. No one wants to stagnate at work. We're curious beings that require mental stimulation. In fact, a study by LinkedIn revealed that a staggering 94% of employees revealed that they would probably stay at a company longer if the company invested in their career development.
The benefits for both employee and employer is obvious. An engaged employee with access to learning resources is a happier employee, and a happy employee is more productive. The consequence? A positive company culture. And who doesn't want that?
Training and development incentives often lead to career progression, but training exercises don't have to be strictly work-related. Your prospective employer may offer opportunities for individuals to upskill in different areas, benefiting the wider business and giving employees the confidence to apply said skills outside of work.
5) Health and wellbeing
Wellbeing is a hot topic set to trend for the foreseeable future and for good reason. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, online searches for “wellbeing at work” and related terms have soared. It’s more important than ever for organisations to show that they care.
Ask what steps the company takes to maintain the positive mental health and wellbeing of their teams. Don’t be fooled by the odd fitness class either; wellbeing at work is so much more than that. Ask about emotional and psychological wellbeing strategies like stress management.
In the YouGov survey, 63% of respondents said that they would choose a company with a proactive reputation for wellbeing rather than one offering a higher salary. So we anticipate that many more interviewees will be asking and employees will be lobbying for health and wellbeing programmes.
6) Company values
Who are they? What do they stand for? It’s up to you to find out. Check out reviews and testimonials to discover what clients say about them. Read beyond the job description to be sure that your beliefs and interests align. If it’s a match made in heaven, then both parties will undoubtedly benefit.
Company culture comes under this category. Everyone has different ideas of what great company culture looks like so we put the question to a group of founders. Recurring themes include autonomy, communication, honesty and transparency and ensuring that every employee feels valued and supported.
Ask the employer to describe the company culture in one or two sentences. You can ask about fun stuff like team-building exercises, team socials and other activities. But throw in a few curveballs too, like how they communicate effectively or find solutions together.
7) Corporate social responsibility
It may seem like an unusual point to finish on, but we expect corporate social responsibility (CSR) to crop up in conversation more and more. CSR is a commitment to carry out business ethically. We're becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the planet and the economies around us.
CSR is relevant to some organisations more than others. Nevertheless, it’s worth asking about charity fundraisers, volunteering programmes and whether the company follows eco-friendly practices. It’s a brilliant way to align teams too behind a common goal. We feel good when we do good.
So, applicants, be sure to consider these seven key things when applying for a role. Or you can use this checklist to initiate a conversation with your current employer. Feel free to point them in our direction to talk about employee equity.
Salary matters, of course, but flexible working, employee share schemes, company culture and wellbeing initiatives can make a world of difference to your overall experience.