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Companies are cutting back on staff benefits. Should yours do the same?

should you reduce staff benefits
Due to the current economic situation, some companies are considering reducing their employee benefits. A LinkedIn survey found that flexible working was at risk, with fewer remote and hybrid roles available since their peak in January 2021.

Others report needing to cut back on their employee well-being schemes. 

Some perks in jeopardy could include:
 
  • Multiple health subscriptions
  • Gym memberships 
  • Extra days off (e.g. birthdays)
  • Unlimited holidays
  • Free counselling 
  • Free meals and drinks
  • Unlimited learning
  • Team events

But while at first, this news might cause dismay to some, reducing employee benefits of this nature could have a positive impact.

Why? Because companies can use this opportunity to tailor their benefits to address the unique needs of their teams. 

By eliminating waste, HR can focus on gearing their resources towards benefits that will support employees during trying times.

Should your company reduce benefits? Let’s explore some alternative options.

 

What does your team really want?


While we understand the motivation to jam-pack job descriptions with attractive employee perks, it's worth asking: "Is this really meeting my team's needs?"

At Eden Scott, we regularly monitor candidate feedback. Right now, we’re hearing that most employees want the following:

 

A fair salary 


While we'd all love a six-figure salary, people are generally realistic about the type of salary their skills and experience can attract. 

If you can provide market rate or better, while also creating opportunities to progress, then this is enough for most employees. 

For entry-level or junior staff, it's worth considering paying at least the real living wage, which at the time of writing is £10.90 per hour (or £11.95 for London-based workers). This will ensure that all team members can meet minimum living costs.

 

Life insurance and life assurance


For many people, family is their primary consideration. Many employees simply want reassurance that, should they become ill or pass away, their family will be cared for. 

There are many reasonably priced life assurance and insurance schemes available for organisations, including those that pay out monthly or in lumpsum to employees' families.

 

Realistic working hours


63% of the workforce has experienced burnout. Realistic working hours aren't about the time requirements listed on an employee's contract. Rather, they are about making sure your company culture doesn't demand excessive hours from your team. 

Some organisations have an unspoken culture requiring people to work beyond their contracted hours to fulfil the duties of their roles. This essentially means expecting your team to work additional hours for free. In fact, in 2021, UK workers put in an additional £27 billion of unpaid overtime.

You can stop this by encouraging teams to finish at the right time, reducing or eliminating work communications out of hours, and rewarding productivity during work hours rather than results that happen due to excess work.

 

Fair sick pay 


Providing statutory sick pay alone can be a huge source of stress for employees. 

While it's understandable that some companies are not able to afford additional sick pay, it's essential that you focus on benefits like these ahead of any additional perks. We heard of one employer regularly hosting staff team away days who did not offer staff sick pay. 

When sick pay is not provided, the worry about becoming ill can be self-fulfilling and can lead to stress and burnout.

 

Leave for major life events


Employees want reassurance that when life happens, they will receive support.

This can include better maternity and paternity leave, compassionate leave, leave for fertility treatments, pregnancy loss, gender transition, menopausal conditions and more. 

Considering the type of support your team needs will help you create tailored policies.

 

So, should you reduce your staff benefits?


While it's certainly not for us to say which perks your team wants, we would absolutely encourage you to review their requirements during this time.

If you're cutting expenditure, look at your existing benefits and consider which perks are 'nice to haves' and which are essential. If most of your benefits fall into the former rather than the latter category, it's probably time to reassess.

 

Next steps


Looking for support with your recruitment strategy? Speak to the specialists at Eden Scott.

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