The UK is re-opening following a long winter in lockdown, but with reported staff shortages already potentially hampering plans for economic recovery, new data has revealed that despite over two thirds (68%) of the UK’s workforce believing company benefits and perks have an important role in driving staff recruitment and retention as we emerge from the pandemic, more than one in five of UK employees have had their packages reduced or cut completely in the last 12 months.
The study by borofree, a UK salary advance start-up that helps people avoid debt, by providing free access to a proportion of their next pay cheque in advance, looks at the company benefits landscape and examines what now matters to the UK workforce. The research, which was conducted by Censuswide, highlights that the impact of the pandemic has been toughest on younger employees, with 28% of 16-24 seeing their company benefits reduced or removed during the last 12 months and 29% of those aged 25-34 years old. As a result of this, 15% of 16-24 year old’s have considered leaving their job, illustrating the potentially damaging impact this will have on company stability.
All too often, companies have focused on offering benefits that capture short-term attention, but fail to offer the long-term benefits to staff. In fact, one in five UK employees revealed that if given the option to access some of the more eye-catching benefits being provided by companies today, such as fertility treatment, annual sailing trips or a day off when David Attenborough dies, they wouldn’t be interested in these.
With Covid recovery now a key focus for businesses and employees playing a key factor in this, the study indicates that more needs to be done to meet the needs of employees at this time, with a quarter (25%) stating that they don’t think the perks being offered are relevant or tailored to them and over one in ten (15%) revealing they have never received any perks from the company they currently work for.
Comparatively, some benefits packages offered by companies now focus on providing financial wellbeing support to staff, which 75% of UK employees indicated they would be interested in having access to. While pensions remain popular among nearly a third of workers, the findings reveal that UK employees are also craving alternative support through benefits packages at this time, with nearly one in five (18%) wanting the option of being paid weekly and 14% keen on an interest free loan.
Minck Hermans, CEO and Co-founder at borofree, comments: “In the wake of the pandemic, businesses need to ensure they are in a strong position for recovery and growth, and having a happy and productive workforce sits at the heart of this. Many companies took the decision to cut back on benefits in the last 12 months, but organisations should not underestimate the value or importance in giving staff perks that are going to make a positive difference to them, and therefore the company as a whole at this time.
Too many companies approach company benefits as a PR exercise, failing to consider what’s going to make a real difference to their employees workplace wellbeing and happiness. Evidently, the fads and outrageous corporate packages are no longer ticking the boxes for staff, who are looking for perks that are both relevant and useful for them. Financial support packages, such as borofree’s ‘all zero’ salary advance solution gives businesses the opportunity to support staff wellbeing and mental health by giving greater financial confidence, at no cost to either the employer or employee. Not only is this something that companies can offer completely free of charge, but in doing so they are playing a valuable role in driving staff happiness and long-term retention.”