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We want to know if the emerging trends from our autumn UK Reward Management Survey 2023 resonate with you?

Have your say now on key trends affecting HR professionals across a variety of sectors.

You will be contributing to our survey that has collated more than a decade of intelligence about key trends and practices in the world of HR and reward.

HR and reward specialists who participate will receive a free report outlining the results in full.

Our autumn edition explores pressing issues including leave allowances, setting pay levels and helping employees manage the continuing cost of living crisis. We explore current practices around employee benefits and how employers are addressing ongoing recruitment and retention challenges.

1. Business outlooks are cautious

We are asking businesses how they think the next 12 months will compare to the last 12 months. Around one in six are saying it is too early to predict what will happen to orders, profitability and revenue.

What is not abating is the sustained costs facing employers as the prices of energy, rent and supplies essential to business operations remain expensive. Rishi Sunak has pledged that he will prioritise curbing inflation ahead of tax cuts.

Preliminary results suggest that affordability will be a key issue facing businesses going into 2024, which will be shaped further by the upcoming autumn budget and the picture on tax. Tax and HS2 are key agenda items at the Conservative annual conference this week.

2. Cost of living support

Despite the cost of living crisis persisting, the respondent organisations so far offering financial support through a non-consolidated lump sum are in the minority.

Reported payments currently range from £150 to £1,500, with one third offering payments to all employees and one quarter targeting support at people who earn below a certain threshold. We will be exploring the current package of benefits to see if they are supplanting pay packets to also ease the pressures associated with the cost of living crisis.

The survey is capturing the additional measures being offered to employees to help them weather the impact of escalating costs facing employees. These currently include financial education initiatives to help employees budget and plan, offering discounts and promotions to help employees’ money stretch further and allowing working from home arrangements to reduce commuting costs.

3. 2024 pay reviews and levels

Our UK Reward Management Survey captured the highest pay level increases in the history of our 14 year survey. Earlier this year, 37 per cent were offering increases between four and five per cent, and 33 per cent were set to offer over five per cent, reflecting the sustained pressure of inflation.

The pressure on pay frameworks is unrelenting, with the median looking to remain around 4.5 per cent among respondents. Having a system that orders pay decisions and upholds a robust methodology reaps dividends in employee engagement, as it is an objective way of making sure that employees know they are being paid fairly for similar roles.

We have consistently noted that the pay outlook is potentially skewed by out of cycle pay reviews. However, more people are potentially examining their record on pay parity across their organisations this year, so the initial results show that fewer people are likely to offer these out of the cycle increases.

4. The ongoing war for talent

This is complicated by the ongoing war for talent. Recruitment and retention challenges remain high for around two thirds of respondents who face labour shortages, a lack of suitable candidates and candidates being offered higher salaries elsewhere.

Affordability will have to be balanced with the need to drive down employee turnover when shaping recruitment and retention strategies. The increasing use of offering salaries to new staff that conflict with those paid to existing staff risks parity of pay, so offering greater support and development opportunities may be a more sustainable approach. Examining the culture of an organisation and fostering a place where people want to join and stay is important.

The majority of respondents so far anticipate that the number and size of bonus payments will stay the same. While some are saying that it is too early to tell about the impact of the business outlook and wider economic climate on bonus payments, no one so far has said that payments will reduce, as bonus packages supplement the picture on total reward as a key recruitment and retention strategy.

5. Employee leave practices

Our autumn survey explores the various types of paid and unpaid leave available to employees. From bereavement leave to fertility treatments, vital milestones in employees’ lives are increasingly being recognised by employers.

There is a greater focus on individual wellbeing and a greater understanding that the employee requires time and space in these tumultuous periods before they can expect them to get back to delivering their best work.

Awareness has been a huge part of this for things such as miscarriages, where people talk more openly about the impact on them in these circumstances and the impact on mental health. The CIPD has also reported that sickness levels are at a 10-year high due to the combination of work-pressure, Covid and the cost of living crisis, so we will explore the picture facing employers when it comes to managing leave.

We are also capturing those who are using days of leave that they dedicate to charity and volunteering. This is one way of not only giving back to the community in which the organisation operates, but it also brings your values to life through your people.

Get in touch

We want to hear your views. What do you think about the business outlook over 2023/2024? What are the most pressing challenges facing your organisation in the year ahead? Have your say today.

We understand some of the information we ask is commercially sensitive, so we will never share this in a way that could identify individual answers.

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