Getting creative with employee benefits

by Cameron Edmond30 Sep 2013

Across Australia, the average amount of hours worked per week has increased to 41-45 hours this year, from 2012’s 38-40, new research from Mercer has revealed.

The study surveyed 353 Australian organisations, and found the increase in hours worked has been met with more employers offering flexi-time and time off in lieu arrangements, with 75% of employers now offering these.

Health and wellness programs were also prominent, with 94% of the organisations surveyed offering this benefit in some way.

However, while Garry Adams, talent business leader at Mercer Pacific, stated that these benefits do not equate to high costs if handled properly, many employees still seek to incorporate more innovating low-cost benefits.

Mercer’s Annual Benefits Review (ABR) revealed some of the most innovative benefits within Australian organisations, including:

  • Half-day Fridays each fortnight in summer.
  • A free or subsidized boot camp, gym or other exercise plan.
  • Allowance for carpooling or public transport.
  • Free lunch once a week.
  • Sleep pods.


“The importance of benefits in a cost constrained environment should not be underestimated. 

Aligning the right benefits with a company’s culture can improve staff turnover and productivity by improving morale,” Garry Adams, talent business leader at Mercer Pacific, said.

Adams added that effective employee benefits are often about “trust, flexibility and enabling the employee’s career to progress with their lifestyle”.


Do you offer any unique benefits at your organisation, or are some of these gimmicky? Share your innovations, thoughts and ideas in the comments.


  • by Ethan Harley 30/09/2013 5:31:42 PM

    I coordinate the employee benefits program for a large employer (10 000+) with employees all over Australia communication is one of the biggest challenges with employee benefits. Our benefits program has seen various unique offers including discounts on health, finance, IT, automotive, educational, entertainment and travel services (with leads often generated from supply chain) but generally delivered little return.

    The benefits that have delivered value are such things as our flexable working arrangements supported by our subsidised BYOD policy and a funded long service and recognition program.

    Our future efforts will be on developing a wellness strategy, using data to demonstrate how benefits are being used and working with marketing to strengthen internal communications. The idea is to use benefits as a primer to support other HR efforts.

  • by Zoe Lamont 2/10/2013 12:09:52 PM

    I agree Ethan, I run a fun financial wellness program. Every employer we work with offers some awesome benefits but it seems communicating them and measuring their effectiveness is where the gap is.

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