When do you tell new employees about the benefits available to them? Do you put the information in the job advert or offer letter, or do you leave it until they have joined the company?
Employee benefits can be an incredibly effective recruitment tool, but all too often they are only communicated by employers during the onboarding process after an offer has been accepted, according to research by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector.
A survey of 500 HR decision makers and 1,165 UK employees found that just 22% of organisations promote employee benefits prior to recruitment, i.e. in job ads, and only a quarter (25%) include any mention of employee benefits before day one of employment, e.g. in an offer letter.
Yet almost a third (32%) of employees say that employee benefits are just as important to them as salary.
What's more, candidate research conducted by PageGroup found that 78% of Britons would be more likely to apply for a job if the advert mentioned the benefits on offer.
When considering similar positions with similar salaries, a candidate will look beyond the pay packet to the added extras, PageGroup explained.
Employers are missing a trick by not using benefits to appeal to potential applicants, said Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD.
"It is completely nonsensical that most employers fail to promote their employee benefits as part of the recruitment process," Moxham argued. "Benefits already in place within the organisation will be utilised by existing staff, and ostensibly communicated to new recruits should they sign on the dotted line, so it really is a missed opportunity not to make the most of them to attract the best possible talent."
It's also a missed opportunity to embed the value of employee benefits in the mind's eye of staff, GRiD pointed out. For benefits to be fully appreciated by a new member of staff, the conversation has to start early and the communication needs to be clear. However, if benefits are presented as an afterthought or secondary to pay, they lose some of their perceived value.
Moxham continued: "2020 has undoubtedly taught us to value our health and so there needs to be a greater awareness amongst employers about what their next recruits will be looking for in a new role. Financial security will always be important but it's likely we'll see that being balanced against other factors, such as whether a potential employer looks after the wider health and wellbeing of staff.
"An obvious way to demonstrate this is to promote benefits, such as employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness. Not only do these products provide financial support but most of these benefits now also include a wide range of embedded support that can be accessed by staff in times of physical and mental ill-health and often as a preventative measure too. These are some of the most valued benefits, and if potential recruits know about them in advance, it can be a deciding factor to join a company."
She concluded: "Whether recruiting for entry-level positions or headhunting for senior management, employers need to respond to the post-pandemic situation and ensure that their benefits package is at the heart of any recruitment strategy, as support for health and wellbeing is only going to become more important to employees."
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