The research consisted of making around 10,000 phone calls to employers which are representative of the UK company population and then conducting in-depth interviews with senior HR decision makers in randomly selected businesses to capture their attitude and current perspective on benefit provision. The research took place from the end of 2016 until mid March 2017.
When asked about the reason the employers provide employee benefits, 23 per cent realise how important providing a competitive benefits package is in recruiting and retaining good quality staff. Other reasons were believing that providing a good range of employee benefits supports the company goals and strategy, along with an aim to recognise employees as individuals. 15 per cent said that their staff value the benefits reward package they have in place and 14 per cent stated that it makes employees feel secure in their job at the company.
There is not one over-riding reason why employers provide employee benefits. Many of the reasons are supportive of recruiting and retaining staff while the others are more focused on business goals.
At 38 per cent, popularity with staff was selected as the main reason why employers offer their current employee benefits packages. A mere 5 per cent state the importance due to being recommended by an adviser.
It is concerning that nearly one in four employers provide their current benefits range simply because it is their historical offering and these benefits are not analysed or reviewed. This is more likely to mean that employers are not getting good value for the money they’re spending.
In relation to updating staff on benefits packages, 57 per cent of employers said that their organisation did give regular updates on employee benefits whilst 43 per cent said employers said they did not. This is likely to mean that many employees aren’t engaged with their benefits package.
It is positive that employers are using a wide range of methods to communicate to their staff about pensions and employee benefits. However, the most common methods used don’t allow the employee to confirm their understanding, provide feedback or even acknowledge that they’ve seen the information, with the majority of employers communicating through individual personalised letters. Other forms of communicating with employees were with an induction pack, on noticeboards and in meetings.
Sean McSweeney, Corporate Advice Manager, Chase de Vere, says: “Employee benefits packages have become a key way for employers to recruit and retain good quality employees. It is therefore important that they offer the right benefits, which are reviewed regularly and communicated effectively.
“However, what we’ve found is that nearly a quarter of employers have their benefits package in place for historical reasons, when it probably isn’t the most appropriate, more than four in ten employers don’t communicate regularly on their employee benefits and the most common communication methods used are not interactive and so there are no guarantees that the core messages are being received and understood.
“The result is likely to be that many employers are spending large sums of money on their benefits packages and are getting very little value in return.”