Employers have their work cut out if they are to make sure that their employees are satisfied with their benefits package. More than 60% of the UK workers surveyed are not satisfied with their perks, while 29% are actually dissatisfied. Some employers, however, must be doing something right because 38% say that they are satisfied with their benefits to some degree or another.

Benefits, like salary, constitute a basic employee need. Therefore, if an employer is offering an inadequate package, there is little prospect of it influencing engagement levels positively through other elements of total reward, such as training and development, and career opportunities. This situation is most acute in relation to those staff who are dissatisfied with their perks. Fortunately for employers in the finance sector, 56% of respondents are satisfied with their perks, compared with only 29% who are unhappy with them. The computer and information technology sector also has a high proportion of workers who are satisfied with their perks (53%) and a low proportion who are dissatisfied with their package (22%).

Satisfaction with benefits appears to fall significantly after the first 12 months of working for an organisation. Almost half (48%) of those with less than 12 months’ service at their current organisation express satisfaction with their perks, but this figure drops to 33% among those who have been with their employer between one and two years. However, where employees end up working for their organisations for seven years or more the proportion expressing satisfaction with their benefits rises again.

Employers may find that if improvements are made to their benefits packages, this would help boost employee engagement and retention. Some 57% of workers say that a better benefits package would help them go the extra mile, while 55% said it would make them stay with their current employer.

There are a number of ways in which employers can improve their packages. Simply providing more benefits to the workforce would prove the most popular move among employees, with 48% of respondents advocating this. Another possibility would be introducing some flexibility so that staff can tailor perks to their needs, as favoured by 38% of respondents. According to this survey, only 11% of employees say they have a flexible benefits scheme offering them a choice of perks, so there is plenty of opportunity for more employers to implement such plans helping them also to better communicate the value of the benefits on offer and boost employee appreciation of them. Just under a third (30%) of respondents claim that their package is effectively communicated, while only 24% of respondents say that they highly value their benefits package, and 26% say it is pathetic.

However, for some employers it may not be worth going to the trouble of improving their benefits package as a third (34%) of workers say they would prefer cash instead of benefits. This sentiment, unsurprisingly, is strongest among part-time workers working less than eight hours and those who are paid less than £15,000. But by providing an adequate benefits package, employers not only demonstrate that they care about their workforce (29% of respondents say this) but are also taking steps to ensure that staff are not lured elsewhere by the promise of perks.

Retention should be a key concern for employers, as just over half (51%) of workers say that a better benefits package elsewhere would motivate them to move organisations. This is a real risk for some employers as 27% of respondents believe that their current package is worse than that offered by competitors, while 43% of respondents say they have a benefits package that is at least on a par with any offered by their employer’s rivals.

Perceptions of the effectiveness of employers’ benefits packages appears to be an issue. While
almost a third of respondents (29%) believe their employer’s benefits package is effective as both a recruitment and a retention tool, over a third do not think that it is. There is a similar difference of opinion as to the effectiveness of employers’ benefits packages in relation to improving staff motivation and productivity levels, as well as engagement with their organisation.






Back to ‘The Employee Benefits Research 2008’