United Kingdom

Job security and reward can improve recruitment and retention - if workplace communication is right

Mark Carman

Job security has become more important than salary following pandemic-related changes to the working environment, while additional research highlights the role of employee benefits in retention and recruitment.

Over half of employees (51 per cent) in a YouGov survey conducted on behalf of law firm Winckworth Sherwood said job security was the most important factor, not pay, when deciding to stay with their current employer, in comparison to 32 per cent who said pay and remuneration was the most persuasive factor. The findings indicated a ‘mindset shift’ in employees and their attitudes to work, according to the subsequent report Ethical Leadership in a time of crisis.

The survey, conducted between January and February 2021 of over 1,000 employees, also found that while nearly three-quarters of respondents felt their employer had handled the pandemic ‘well’, 25 per cent said workplace communication could have been better over the last twelve months. However, 38 per cent expressed satisfaction over workplace communication levels and engagement initiatives.

In addition:

  • 18 per cent did not feel their employer had been compassionate enough during the crisis and 15 per cent did not feel there were adequate health and wellbeing initiatives in place.
  • 22 per cent were satisfied with how their employer had realigned executive pay with wider staff remuneration and job cuts in comparison to 46 per cent who were unhappy with the lack of transparency over executive pay.
  • 13 per cent felt their employer should have aligned executive pay with salary sacrifices faced by the wider workforce in relation to downturn in business over the past twelve months.

The research highlights the importance of communicating existing workplace benefits with staff to improve retention levels, rather than focusing solely on pay.

GRiD research earlier in the year revealed that employee benefits are still an ‘after thought’ during recruitment, despite 29 per cent of employers and 32 per cent of employees saying employee benefits are ‘as important’ as salary.

Pay does a certain amount for job satisfaction and employee engagement levels when someone first takes a job. But pay becomes an issue if an employee doesn’t move up the pay scale, maybe because the business isn’t growing fast enough or because staff are having to take pay cuts.

To a certain extent, employee benefits can become a key differentiator from a recruitment and retention perspective.

The cost per person of some shared benefits can be quite low but highly perceived. They can add some real value, hence the importance of communicating with staff about the benefits available to them.

Aon Benefits & Trends 2021 survey revealed a near consensus among UK employers (98 per cent) who want to improve workforce engagement with employee benefits. Part of improving benefit engagements is reminding staff of the benefits available to them at the right time so they recognise the value. If you have a workplace ISA scheme, you might want to remind staff who need help getting on the property ladder or reminding staff about tax-free childcare for those with children. It’s about communicating benefits which help employees in their day-to-day life. That’s where the value is.


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