Employee Benefits Research 2009: Employers torn between motivation and cutbacks

Employers are increasingly torn between motivating staff in the recession and needing to cut costs.

The Employee Benefits Research 2009 found that 43% of employers intend to seek ways to maintain staff motivation, or have already done so. But 29% have imposed, or are planning, pay freezes, and the same proportion are reviewing performance-related bonuses for staff. One-third intend to review their benefits providers to get a cheaper or better deal and 32% plan to renegotiate insurance benefits to achieve savings.

Perhaps in response to the economic climate, some of the main issues shaping employers’ benefits strategies have changed over the past five years. In 2004, matching benefits to employees’ needs and linking perks to performance were high priorities, but these have now slipped down the agenda for many organisations.

The top issues shaping benefits strategies have remained fairly constant. Making perks more cost-effective and improving the perceived value of the package remain the top two priorities for employers, but they have now switched in order of importance.

Not surprisingly, there has been a significant rise in the importance of obtaining and demonstrating value for money on benefits in the last five years. In 2004, just 29% of respondents said they perceived their benefits package as giving value for money. This year, 70% said so, indicating this has become a growing focus for employers.†

Read full report: Employee Benefits Research 2009