We explore how benefits have changed over the years using initial insights from our autumn UK Reward Management Survey, which is now live.
Companies increasingly review their benefits packages on an annual basis to maximise effectiveness and affordability, with 64 per cent having reviewed their benefits in 2019 and 81 per cent set to review their benefits offering in 2020. Employees are looking beyond generous pay packets, requiring competitive pay alongside a wide range of benefits that cover wider employee wellbeing and reflect personal values.
Many sectors are used to traditional benefits, which cover base salaries, bonuses and pension schemes. However, employers are realising that they need to be more flexible to bolster their recruitment and retention. Benefits technology, alongside wellness and financial wellbeing, have increasingly come to the fore when creating their benefits strategy.
The workforce is rapidly changing, with research by YouGov finding that only six per cent of employees are working traditional hours of 9 to 5 and only 14 per cent of employees would choose to work these hours. Flexible working is a key benefit valued by employees to manage their work-life balance. A more creative approach to benefits is on the rise, covering a holistic focus on wellbeing.
Increasingly, organisations are looking at how well their benefits reflect their key values. Looking more holistically at benefits and keeping them relevant to the values of your workforce is an important priority. For example, 28 per cent of employers who have responded so far to the autumn UK Reward Management Survey offer an allowance for volunteering days and 35 per cent offer a ‘Give as You Earn’ scheme.
Virgin Atlantic has recently focused on aligning benefits with wellbeing initiatives and remaining proactive with the packages they offer to its 10,000 employees. The focus on health widens the lens to move benefits beyond additional cash perks, embracing the wider business strategy, which covers diversity and inclusion, alongside mental, physical and financial wellbeing.
New and enhanced benefits
Companies are increasingly considering how to make the most of policies such as shared parental leave and enhanced benefits, particularly maternity and paternity leave. Employers must balance affordability, whilst striving to keep their benefits packages competitive with the latest product and service innovations.
Shared parental leave (SPL) came into effect on 5 April 2015. For those eligible, employers are required to grant SPL to those who apply. This gives employees the choice of sharing the mother’s maternity leave and spending time at home together for the six month period following the child’s arrival.
Only two per cent of men are taking shared parental leave. Despite this, enhanced maternity and paternity leave is a priority for around half of employers. Championing the role of men in parenting responsibilities can have a profound effect on female career progression. Initiatives designed to promote their role may form a key cornerstone of diversity and inclusion policies going forward. This has been done with success at Aviva, where 95 per cent of eligible fathers took more than two weeks leave and two thirds took six months off.
A cornerstone of employee engagement
Carefully managed and relevant benefits can help to deliver a great employee experience and reap the rewards of a motivated workforce. Actively listening to employees is essential to identifying what drives them and understanding how the reward strategy on offer supports their wider goals in life. Offering independent advice to ensure that employees are financially secure and gym memberships to support employees being physically fit can drive employee health and happiness as the workplace becomes more fluid.
Technology allows for a more flexible model, but also reinforces the fact that a work-life balance is increasingly a blended model where emails are checked out of the office just as much as within. The traditional distinction is falling away as people seek to manage their own time and more organisations make changes to reflect the fact that presenteeism does not automatically translate into workplace productivity. Safeguarding mental health and treating employees as individuals can be addressed by offering benefits packages that offer relevant choices, reflecting feedback taken directly from employees themselves.
Illustrate the full value
One way you can demonstrate the full value of your reward package is by implementing total reward statements. These statements capture both the financial and non-financial benefits on offer to your employees. Where possible, include the monetary value of each benefit so that numbers and statistics are innately seen as valuable and accurate.
Do not be afraid to highlight your business’ expenditure on an employee. Being honest and clear about how you value your staff is appreciated, recognised and remembered – be as transparent as possible. Read more about creating an effective Total Reward Statement here.
Participate in our UK Reward Management Survey
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