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Benefits packages are a top priority for UK job seekers

Diverse business team eating pizza together in the office

From flexible hours and pensions to employee assistance plans, employees view benefits and perks as an important factor when it comes to joining a company, staying in a role or leaving.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults by Canada Life revealed that more than one in three workers (34%) have been swayed to accept a job because of a competitive benefit, perk or company policy.

In their current job, two fifths (41%) most appreciate flexible or hybrid working, while a third (36%) cited their annual leave allowance policy and another 21% value learning allowances.

'Human-first' approach

Today's employees don't just want pensions and holidays -- they are seeking enhanced care for their social, financial, mental and physical wellbeing, says insurance company Zurich.

Its new report on the future of employee benefits recommends taking a "human-first" approach to ensure choice, transparency and alignment with employees' values. For example:

  • A diverse, multigenerational workforce will have differing needs and expectations, so organisations should seek input from a range of employee voices when looking at their benefits packages.
  • Employers can cultivate a benefits system with wellness at its core with innovations like early warning systems to detect burnout and online mindfulness sessions.
  • Adjustable working hours, work-from-anywhere schemes and pick-and-choose health benefits allow organisations to promote greater personalisation in their overall benefits offering.
  • To demonstrate that they embody the values of their people, employers could offer employees paid time off for volunteering and invest company pensions in climate-friendly portfolios.

Communicate regularly

Many employers are still keeping quiet about the benefits they offer.

Canada Life found that after joining their most recent company, one in five (20%) employees did not receive any information on their company's benefits and perk packages. And separate research by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, found that only 21% of employees feel they have a very good understanding of all the health and wellbeing benefits available to them.

"Having competitive benefits packages means nothing if the employer does little to promote them to the employee -- prospective or otherwise," said Dan Crook, sales director for Protection at Canada Life. "It should be a given that new starters receive information on what is available and how to access the various benefits, but ongoing communications are also needed to ensure uptake. Reminding an employee of what is on offer might just make the difference between someone leaving a role, or staying."

The most popular method used by employers to communicate employee benefits is via email (39%), followed by staff welcome packs (31%) and staff handbooks (28%). However, GRiD recommends making use of a broader range of channels and mediums to increase engagement.

"Employers should be loud and proud of the benefits they offer their staff," said Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD. "They need to communicate in a way that works, utilise a mix of channels, and to communicate regularly as not all employees will be receptive at the same time, on the same day or via the same method.

"Creating a buzz around the support available means staff will be much more aware of what is on offer and allows staff to get a deeper understanding, really value the benefits they receive and engage with them."

Posted by Fidelius on November 27th 2023

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