Employees and pensions

Fringe benefits: How to offer your staff real added value with employee incentives

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Fringe benefits – just a trend? On the contrary. Whether as an effective recruitment incentive, a boost for staff motivation or to strengthen company loyalty: Skillfully applied, employee gifts are a guarantee of success. They show your team how much you appreciate them and position your company as an attractive employer.

But what exactly are fringe benefits? What advantages does your SME gain with employee gifts? How are employee incentives constructively used in Switzerland? We have compiled the key findings for you.

What are fringe benefits?

Fringe benefits are employee incentives. Unlike commissions and premiums, these employee gifts are not linked to individual performance or the company’s success. With all kinds of additional services, companies guarantee real added value for your staff, both at work and at home. To support a healthy work/life balance, at AXA we offer our staff, for example:

  • A credit balance that can be individually redeemed on the Swibeco benefits platform
  • Small incentives and gifts for a birthday, company anniversary, Christmas, wedding or birth
  • Flexible working hours in line with personal needs
  • Additional vacation days
  • Extended paid maternity and paternity leave
  • Refund of half-fare card or season tickets
  • Discounts on insurance quotations
  • Additional pension fund benefits
  • Special health promotion measures
  • Stock ownership schemes
  • Meal allowances

In Switzerland, the most common benefits for a workforce also include company cars and company parking spaces as well as cell phones and cell phone contracts. 

The advantages of employee incentives 

Fringe benefits are very widespread in Switzerland. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, almost 80 percent of Swiss companies use employee gifts. And not without good reason: Investing in staff appreciation pays off many times over.

1. Improved staff retention and loyalty

For a long time, salary increases have no longer been the sole way to motivate employees, as extra benefits and discounts take on greater importance in the labor market. Variable compensation in the form of employee gifts is aimed at retaining staff in a company for longer and therefore reducing operating risk. And it works: If, in addition to work content and the corporate body, employees are also happy with financial recognition through remuneration and fringe benefits, they show a higher degree of loyalty towards their employer and stay committed for longer.

2. Increased employee satisfaction

The competition for ever higher salaries is a risky game for Swiss SMEs. The financial possibilities are limited. In addition, most salary-focused employees are not particularly loyal to their employer. If an SME improves the well-being of its employees through fringe benefits, they can be happier at work and at home. This can only have a positive effect on the working environment: Happy employees are also demonstrably more productive at their job.

3. Higher employee motivation

Appreciation motivates. Employees are more committed to their work if they are praised for their work. Carefully distributed and individually tailored gifts can play a key role in this. There is a two-fold effect for companies: Motivated employees cause accidents at work less frequently and take substantially fewer days of absence. High absence costs can thus be reduced. 

4. Improved reputation and greater appeal

Employee gifts also have a positive effect on your company's reputation. If employees are happy with their employer, they share their preferences with their contacts on ratings platforms such as kununu and on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Xing and Twitter. The company genuinely becomes more attractive and reaches potential qualified personnel without having to spend money on advertising. A simple and effective employer branding tool that makes your company a love brand.

5. Differentiation feature with staff recruitment

Finding good new employees is no easy task. For talents, attractive additional benefits can represent the convincing extra mile for the company in recruitment interviews. Soon the talk is that “AXA has won me over with attractive employee offers and benefits”. From our own experience, we can say that fringe benefits are a clear competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting qualified personnel. Even in highly competitive sectors, employers can set themselves apart from the competition through fringe benefits, thus gaining a competitive advantage when it comes to winning new employees.

And here’s a tip: Gifts for tax advantages and greater flexibility

Employee incentives have an additional positive side effect for companies in that they don’t result in higher tax. In Switzerland, fringe benefits do not increase taxable income or insurance contributions. Fringe benefits are worth it, even in times of crisis. If costs have to be saved, employee gifts can be structured flexibly in terms of type and scope, whereas adjusting the salary structure is a challenge.

Four tips: How employee incentives are the key to success

To enable fringe benefits to offer real added value to your company and your employees, you should bear the following things in mind:

Tip 1:  Tailor to your corporate culture as much as you can

The type and nature of giving gifts reflects your company's culture. For example, family-oriented SMEs like to give their employees benefits in the form of payments to cover childcare, free daycare places or special leave. When making the selection, think about what values are important to your SME and choose employee incentives that play an active role in this.

Tip 2: Consciously tailored to the needs of your employees

If you'd like to offer your employees additional benefits, ensure they are wholly geared towards employee needs. The positive effects of employee gifts only pay off if your workforce can recognize added value in the benefits. The more up-to-date and flexible the benefits are, the better.

For the same reason, you should regularly check how your staff rate the fringe benefits: Is a certain type of employee gift still accepted by the workforce? Regular questionnaires are a suitable way of determining acceptance. 

Tip 3: Choose benefits that suit your objectives

The most suitable fringe benefits for your company also depend on what objectives you are pursuing with the measure. For example, if you'd like to improve the work-life balance of your employees, you show this by offering healthcare management benefits that are important to them. If you'd like to improve employee loyalty, team motivation or make a greater contribution to environmental protection, you should choose presents that are appropriate in this regard.

Tip 4: Actively talk about them

From the initial interview through multimedia blog articles to social media: Actively communicate your employee incentives.  Staff like it that companies appreciate them in this particular way. Whether a free season ticket, free parking space or occupational benefits on special terms: Present your fringe benefits as a central plank of your identity as an employer, not simply as bonuses or premiums. 

  • Teaser Image
    Simply give joy to your employees with Swibeco

    AXA uses the Swiss company Swibeco for handling its fringe benefits. And for good reason: According to a user survey, 92% of those questioned are "satisfied" or even "very satisfied".

    More information on Swibeco

Conclusion: Employee incentives offer real added value

Satisfied employees are one of the most important pillars of any successful company. Material incentives such as salary alone are no longer enough to position companies as attractive employers. If employees are a proud part of the company, this improves performance, commitment and the company’s reputation. True appreciation and personalized gifts provide motivation and encourage a positive work environment. Whoever takes care of the individual needs of employees with fringe benefits will gain in the long run in terms of length of service, professionalism and quality.

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