Covid’s mark on job satisfaction
We are in the middle of what’s called the ‘Great Resignation’. Covid gave opportunity for employees to reappraise job expectations and move on to better things: a 2022 PwC survey notes that 18% of UK workers are very or extremely likely to change jobs in the next 12 months. Covid allowed employees to tread new waters such as remote working, flexible hours, side hustles and reskilling/upskilling opportunities. Concurrently, it drew a stark contrast to their typical pre-pandemic work-life balance, where an increasingly digitised, fast-paced and all-consuming work environment has bred unhealthy levels of employee burnout. In short, the grass appears greener than ever.
At present, unemployment levels remain at their lowest since the 1970s and job vacancies in the UK rose to a record 1.25m in December 2021, giving employees the upper hand over their employers in an already competitive talent war. The resultant fight for recruitment and retention means that companies must find innovative and impactful ways to differentiate from competitors and attract top talent.
Employee benefits as a solution
One way employers can compete in the talent war is by re-addressing employee benefits. Whilst the majority of large companies offer a standard benefits package, freelancers, contract workers and SME workers often can’t access these basic benefits offered to permanent employees. This problem is a two-way street, with SMEs and independent workers forgoing financial security due to tighter employee spend per head and benefit providers chasing larger-scale revenue opportunities.
Collectively, SMEs and independent workers make up a growing market share that benefit providers cannot afford to exclude for much longer. SMEs and contingent workers constitute +60% of the UK’s workforce, with the UK gig economy alone totalling +4.5m workers in 2022, up from 2.4m in 2016. We believe in a future where independent workers comprise a much greater portion of the global workforce, seeing the emergence of a truly flexible work economy.
Moreover, demand for flexible employee benefits is evident across the board: 50% of UK employees would sacrifice part of their basic salary for a personalised benefits package, with 74% declaring they would work harder for an employer that provided individualized benefits.
pirkx – On demand employee wellbeing for everyone
This is where UK start-up pirkx comes in. We believe that every company should be able to affordably foster an employee-first environment, and that’s why we invested in the company’s £3m Seed round to democratise employee benefits.
pirkx uses technology to simplify wellbeing access for SMEs and flexible workers via a customisable self-service platform and app. The company provides its members with essential benefits across numerous and diverse wellbeing channels for just £4.50 per month.
pirkx’s product puts customers at its core. Its 40+ benefits are spread across five wellbeing channels:
- Financial wellbeing
- Social interaction
These 40+ benefits collectively focus on three key areas to maintain or improve employee happiness or health: i) resilience building, ii) diagnosis and iii) fixing. pirkx’s flexible services offered include unlimited private GP appointments, 24/7 counselling and mental health resilience training.
Additionally, pirkx is fully customisable at both company and individual levels. It can be whitelabelled via its API integration functionality, with companies also able to add their own tailored content alongside pirkx’s suite of products. Embedded personalisation and flexibility gives SMEs and independent workers a true ‘wellbeing on demand’ experience.
The company is founded by superstar Stella Smith, who in 2018 was unable to find affordable wellbeing benefits for her own team of contractors. She has been building pirkx with a clear vision and relentless grit ever since. Following the release of pirkx’s upgraded platform launch in April 2021, pirkx has more than doubled its user base and counts over 5,000 users. To date, pirkx has closed sales with PwC, Hays, Robert Half and IWG Plc, with a growing pipeline across the globe.
We look forward to working closely with team pirkx on its journey to democratise employee wellbeing for the global workplace.