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Half of UK HR leaders think their workplace benefits aren’t working

A lack of focus on what employees actually need and a failure to properly onboard staff are among the key reasons that benefits aren’t being used, the analysis found. 

New research* on the uptake of employee benefits has revealed that HR leaders across the UK believe benefits and work perks are falling short.

A lack of focus on what employees actually need and a failure to properly onboard staff are among the key reasons that benefits aren’t being used, the analysis found.

In a survey of 500 UK HR Directors*, almost half (48%) of HR leaders said they were seeing poor uptake of employee benefits because “employees don’t seem interested” in what’s on offer, showing perks are missing the mark for staff.

Two thirds (62%) agreed the benefits they currently offer “don’t address what people really need” or are “only useful to some of the workforce”.

This is despite many workers still viewing benefits as a critical part of an employer’s value proposition. Recent research suggests a quarter of the workforce want better benefits options, with as many as 1 in 2 willing to accept lower pay for improved and tailored perks.

HR leaders admit access and onboarding is affecting benefits uptake 

The Nous survey results highlighted the belief among HR leaders that shortcomings in how employee benefits are introduced and communicated to staff is leading to poor uptake.

Nearly a fifth (18%) of respondents said the employee benefits they offered were difficult for staff to access, with a third (32%) agreeing that leveraging certain employee benefits required too much effort on the part of employees.

A fifth (20%) of HR leaders admitted that there was either a lack of onboarding for employee benefits initiatives, or onboarding was inadequate. A further fifth (20%) thought employees weren’t aware that certain employee benefits were available to them.

The most popular benefits currently being offered by the employers surveyed included flexible working, enhanced pension benefits, enhanced holiday leave, private health and or dental care and free food or drink at work.

Jon Rudoe, employee money-saving expert and co-founder at Nous.co, said “competitive employers know they need to offer more than just a good salary to attract and retain top talent. And employees increasingly expect their company to help them out with the struggles that daily life throws at them.

“But clearly something is wrong when this many HR leaders admit their benefits aren’t working.

“Businesses need to focus their attention – and their budgets – on benefits and support that actually meet people’s needs, whether that’s through flexible working, support with childcare or help with essential expenses.

“While rising prices remain the number one source of concern for UK employees, financial wellbeing is a crucial part of this.

“I’d recommend starting with the issues that are universal. Helping with household bills using solutions like Nous is an effective way of making a genuine impact. We all have to pay them and we’ve all been affected by recent price hikes.

“None of this is worthwhile unless leaders put real effort into making sure employees actually use benefits available to them. Employers should use their convening power to set aside time in the working day for staff to engage with benefits so that people actually see the upside.”

*carried out by Nous.co

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