Over the ‘Great Resignation’ of 2021, 85% of UK senior leaders reported significant business disruption, as job-to-job moves reached a record high of 3.2% across the UK. While many employees held off on moving roles during the pandemic, creating what the CIPD calls a ‘delayed churn’ in 2021, surveys show that the ‘Great Resignation’ was in part driven by employee feelings of dissatisfaction at work.
According to a 2021 report by PwC, 18% of employees said they were likely to change roles over 2022, with 32% saying they were moderately likely to. The key drivers for their motivations for change were pay, wanting fulfilment, and wanting to be themselves in the workplace.
As employee motivations continue to shift, the rising importance of impactful workplace benefits is fast becoming critical to successful talent attraction and retention. And that means giving employees more control and customisation over their benefits. In today’s competitive climate, do flexible benefits cut it? Or is the time right to advance the model further to activate real personalisation?
Read on to find out:
- How benefits influence candidate attraction and employee retention
- The difference between personalised and flexible benefits
- How to action a personalised benefits plan
How benefits influence candidate attraction and employee retention
Employees value work environments where they’re appreciated, listened to, and rewarded in the way they want to be rewarded. Research shows that benefits packages that meet the needs of employees and that authentically improve their experiences drive a 78% retention rate, compared to just 41% when benefits do not meet employee needs.
As workplaces become increasingly flexible in recognition of the disruptions faced over the course of the pandemic, it’s clear that a blanket approach for everyone does not work.
Our own research into STEM employee priorities in the workplace is a prime example of the mix of priorities employees have in the workplace. Our 2022 Global Science Employment Report revealed that while a good-work life balance was cited as the most important factor for a workplace by the highest number of people, it was also ranked as the least important factor by the most respondents in the UK and Europe.
Meanwhile, over half of all respondents across the UK, Europe and the US would find STEM employers appealing if they offered an attractive salary, meaningful benefits, and stimulating and challenging work.
Taking this into consideration, it’s surprising that merely 27% of employers have benefits that address the needs of their workforce, and only 26% offer flexibility in benefit choice.
Representative, meaningful benefits have a key role to play in not only personalising the employee experience, but also in creating a workplace environment that people want to be part of - thereby establishing a competitive edge over other businesses seeking expert talent in your industry.
The difference between personalised and flexible benefits
So, what are flexible benefits?
According to the HMRC, flexible benefits, or flexi benefits, generally refer to instances where employees can choose their benefits from a given menu. Flexible employee benefits schemes often include benefits such as company cars, childcare provision, private health insurance, additional pension contributions, and even additional annual holiday.
Personalised benefits, on the other hand, build on the foundations of flexible benefits and refer to allowing employees to annually select the benefits that most align with their goals, needs and motivations on an ongoing basis. Personalised benefits also involve working together with employees to introduce more nuanced benefits that meet the specific needs of employees within the workforce; for example, offering a four-day week with longer hours, or part-time working to improve work-life balance.
How to action a personalised benefits plan
A personalised benefits plan means assessing employee’s individual needs and priorities. For example, managers could ask employees on an annual basis about their needs in the workplace and what benefits would make a difference. Once the needs of the employee has been expressed, managers can then work with the employee to prioritise and action the benefits mentioned.
The critical factor in successfully implementing a personalised benefits plan is the regularity of assessment.
It’s important to make sure employees have the opportunity to reassess their situation; what has been important last year, may not be a priority this year. From pension plans, to planning for children and requiring maternity cover, or improving salaries for a mortgage to buy a new house, it’s important to provide employees with the space to acquire the benefits they need to improve their employee experience.
In my experience, not feeling heard or appreciated is one of the key reasons talented employees leave a company. Creating opportunities to instil a sense of belonging and providing meaningful opportunities to tailor the employee experience are powerful ways to combat employee turnover, all while strengthening your candidate attraction strategy.
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About the author: Janne Bate specialises in resourcing top talent within AI, Machine Learning and Bioinformatics across the Life Science industry. She partners with companies across the globe with a focus on the European market. Connect with Janne on Linkedin
Specialist Areas: AI
The typical roles Janne recruits include from C suite down: Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Computational Chemistry, Machine Learning, Data Science, Biological Systems Specialists