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Firms underestimating importance of benefits in these challenging times

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

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* 

Just 22% of organisations promote employee benefits prior to recruitment i.e. in job advertisementsand only a quarter (25%) include any mention of employee benefits before day one of employment e.g. in an offer letter. 

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD) said: “It is completely nonsensical that most employers fail to promote their employee benefits as part of the recruitment process. 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.  

 Benefits as important as salary
Employers would be wise to use existing benefits to appeal to job seekers, as GRiD’s research shows how valued they are. 

  •  29% of employers think that ‘benefits are as important as salary’ in helping to recruit and retain employees and 33% believe potential staff are as interested in the wider benefits as they are in the salary’.

  • This is backed up by employees themselves, with 32% saying that employee benefits are as equally important to them as salary. 

Not only is this a missed opportunity in terms of recruitment but it’s also a missed opportunity to embed the value of employee benefits in the mind’s eye of staff. 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. 

“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 illnessNot 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.”

Employees’ right to a statement of particulars on their first day
Just 38% of employers communicate employee benefits in a welcome pack, which is an increase from 31% in 2019. However, new legislation** was introduced 6 April 2020 requiring employers to inform new employees about their employment and benefits on day one or on request for existing employees, and all organisations need meet this obligationso communicating them as part of the recruitment process is a natural progression. 

In conclusion: 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.  

“At the earliest possible stage of recruitment, employers need to demonstrate that they are not simply meeting their duty of care with regards to supporting employee health and wellbeing but that it’s at the core of their cultureEmployers who don’t make this adjustment risk their ability to recruit the best people.” 

* Research undertaken during January 2020 by Opinium on behalf of GRiD amongst 500 HR decision makers and 1,165 UK employees.

** The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378)

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