More than half of professionals (55%) are currently looking or considering looking for a new job, with dissatisfaction over their salary and benefits among the top reasons behind their search for new roles.
The findings are the result of research carried out by Reed, which also found that almost half of UK workers (44%) are not satisfied with the pay they receive.
While offering a higher salary remains the most ideal way to attract and retain employees, this isn’t viable for every business, as they are also battling higher overheads.
A wide-ranging, flexible benefits package is therefore vital for any organisation looking to attract new and retain existing staff in the modern work landscape.
Crunching the benefits numbers
Reed’s survey, which questioned 5,000 professionals and took place at the end of 2023, asked UK workers about their current and preferred salary and benefits, their organisation’s performance and priorities, how they rated their job satisfaction and career prospects, as well as the key recruitment and skills trends they’re witnessing.
The figures show 56% of workers are happy with their pay, with 20% neither happy or unhappy, 18% somewhat unhappy and 6% very unhappy with their current salary.
And incredibly, three-in-10 (30%) of those surveyed said they don’t receive any workplace benefits at all.
Looking into people’s savings priorities can pinpoint where businesses may be able to help. The top thing people are saving for is retirement (42%), meaning businesses that offer help with better pension support can be more attractive.
Another top item people are saving for is a holiday (34%). In such cases, offering a performance bonus may help; a benefit that only 15% receive but, again, 29% would like.
Offering the benefits that suit your workforce
Benefits options need to be flexible
To grow and prosper in today’s increasingly competitive landscape, organisations need to put their employees’ first. Introducing benefits that will help them maintain their wellbeing and health is essential to achieve this.
Employees from an ever-wider range of backgrounds, ages and cultures will require and prioritise different benefits meaning it is imperative to put flexible benefits in place.
Although most employees will have been receiving some form of benefits package for some time, historically it was employers who dictated how these would look. The coronavirus pandemic, with its emphasis on remote working, has shifted this emphasis with workers desiring ever-more flexible working environments.
While it is still up to companies to come up with benefit options, enabling workers to choose which ones to include in their plans will bring the flexibility people desire.
There are vast variety of options when it comes to benefits, but they can be broadly divided into operational, health and wellness, and retirement or savings benefits.
Operations benefits – those associated directly with an employee’s work – include:
Reimbursement of commuting expenses
Opportunities for learning and development
Hybrid working options
Payment of remote work expenses
The introduction of flexible work schedules
Health and wellness benefits – associated with someone’s home life – include:
Student loan remuneration schemes
Employee assistance programmes
Retirement and savings benefits are related to future planning and encompass, and include:
Flexible working options for employees approaching retirement
Different benefits for different ages
With four generations – baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z – in the workplace, it is important to offer benefits packages which appeal to people of different ages who are at various stages of their working lives.
Of course, while looking at any selection of benefits and how they might be favoured by one generation over another it is important to avoid generalisations. For example, someone in Gen X who hasn’t got any children will have no interest in childcare packages. That is why it is so important to have a variety of attractive benefits to suit everyone’s potential requirements. That said, there are some areas where age and the benefits employees require potentially align.
While those in Generation Z (born 1996 to 2012) favour benefits such as student loan assistance and mental health support, millennials (1981 to 1996) want fertility and caregiving benefits.
Baby boomers, meanwhile, born between 1965 and 1980, might require benefits involving healthcare and finances, such as medical, dental, vision, assistance with retirement savings or life insurance.
Those in Generation X are in a particularly unique position. Broadly defined as those born between 1965 and 1980, employees in Gen X are not only providing for school age children but are often also caring for aging parents.
Mid-life benefits can therefore feature both eldercare packages or early cancer detection programmes, but also university admission assistance and help with childcare.
Benefits such as menopause support and health screenings are also particularly appealing to Gen Xers – a generation which organisations really want to attract and retain as they are likely to be senior leaders in their organisations.
Diversity and inclusion
As well as being the right thing to do, organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDI&B) in boosting productivity. A recent survey by consultants McKinsey found companies with diverse leadership teams outperform their peers by as much as 20% to 30% in terms of income.
With that in mind, attracting and retaining a skilled, diverse workforce is vital. Benefits packages should therefore be produced in an inclusive manner and be constantly evolving based on employee need.
Again, a one-sized-fits-all approach simply won’t work in the modern workplace. A strong benefits package will offer something to everyone irrespective of their gender, sexuality, race, any disabilities or inequality levels.
Remove unpopular benefits
There are some areas where companies could save money by removing less popular benefits from their offering.
Reed’s survey showed cycle to work schemes are the fourth most popular benefit supplied by workplaces (16%) but fall into one of the least desired benefits for employees, with only four per cent finding it an attractive add-on.
Only 12% of respondents receive private healthcare, whereas 28% find it an attractive benefit; the same trend is found in health insurance, with only 12% of businesses offering it, but 22% of employees wanting it.
Businesses should consider evaluating the benefits they offer and whether they appeal to their workers today, as the money they save on removing undesirable benefits could be better spent on more costly rewards that attract and retain top talent.
Providing innovative benefits
One way to stand out from the crowd is to offer next-level benefits. We’ve all heard about the way companies such as Google have innovated by introducing schemes such as allowing employees to devote 20% of their time to pursue their own interests and projects.
These five benefits from leading organisations show just how attractive developing a strong offering can be:
Weekly massages anyone?
The Institute of Integrative Nutrition not only offers healthy food and snacks for staff, but also allows employees to take weekly massage and yoga classes within work hours.
Ice cream all round
It may not hit the healthy eating agendas some organisations love, but Ben & Jerry’s offer of three pints of ice cream every day is hard to resist – especially as employees are encouraged to spread the love and share the perk with friends and family.
The ultimate flexible day
If the perfect work-life balance is your thing, then Netflix’s flexible hours policy is hard to beat. At the company’s California headquarters, vacation days and work hours aren’t tracked with the company instead measuring what people get done. As long as employees complete the tasks assigned to them, they can spend as much time in or out of the office as they like.
Perfect for pooches
Perhaps understandably for a doggie daycare business, Dogtopia provides a truly pet-friendly workplace. Employee benefits include free visits to the vet and dog daycare, while employees who don’t have a pooch can get free gym membership or healthy lunches.
Bookworms may be interested in Penguin Random House’s Free Book Program, which allows employees to order multiple books and e-books free of charge from a list of 100 regularly updated titles, two or three times a year.
In summary, employee benefits are a must for attraction and retention, to boost productivity, motivate your employees, and promote you employer brand.
The most forward-thinking organisations know that while salary might be at the forefront of employees' minds, the power of benefits can shift the balance to persuade the best people to join or stay with them.
Having a flexible benefits package that can cater to all employees regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, any disabilities, or inequality levels will allow organisations to attract and retain the very best people – and ultimately boost their bottom line.
Constant shifts in the market present threats and opportunities for organisations looking to reward and source talent effectively. Find out how our salary and reward benchmarking services can help.