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Maximising benefits, minimising costs: how companies can streamline their employee benefits package

Maximising benefits, minimising costs: how companies can streamline their employee benefits package


Graham James - Business ExpressBy Graham James, Director, Sodexo Engage

In today’s competitive job market, offering a comprehensive benefits package is crucial for retaining staff and keeping up high levels of productivity. But our recent research shows that 28% of employees reported that their organisation either did not offer any benefits or they weren’t sure if they did. 

Given the difficult economic circumstances, it’s crucial that all 24.6 million full-time employees in the UK are aware of the benefits on offer to them. To achieve this, HR teams must conduct regular evaluations of their benefits offerings to gain insights into what their employees value, and then ensure these are communicated to everyone within the organisation, including part time employees and those on zero hours contracts.

The importance of benefits

The cost-of-living crisis can make it difficult for employees to afford essential items such as housing, food, and healthcare. Employee benefits such as tax-efficient savings like cycle to work, green car schemes, Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and early access to wages can help provide stability and reduce anxiety during difficult times.

Plus, in today’s tight employment market, companies are also realising the importance of offering a comprehensive benefits package as a means of attracting and retaining top talent. As vacancies have hit a record high of close to 1.5 million, a strong benefits package becomes an essential part of the Employee Value Proposition (EVP), which will help organisations to retain employees and recruit new talent. But it can be difficult for companies to offer a complete benefits package that satisfies their employees. Therefore, businesses must take measures to ensure that the benefits they provide align with their employees’ requirements. This involves simplifying benefit packages to avoid paying for services that staff do not want or use.

Streamline the benefits 

According to our research, 75% of employees feel valued and appreciated when their employer provides their support in the form of benefits packages. Having a workforce who is supported with their financial, mental and physical wellbeing means they will see 31% higher productivity and 59% greater employee loyalty according to recent research, so it’s worth the work. 

Another positive effect of suitable benefits is reduced turnover rates. In our study, 71% of employees reported that their benefits package plays a role in their decision to continue working for the organisation. When employees are satisfied with their job and feel that they are being taken care of, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term. This can save businesses time and money that would otherwise be spent on recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.  

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Ultimately, streamlining benefits can provide a win-win situation for both employers and employees. From a business perspective, it can help reduce administrative costs, increase efficiency, and improve the overall effectiveness of the benefits program. From an employee perspective, it can provide more personalised options, simplify the process of accessing benefits, and increase job satisfaction and motivation.

Maximum satisfaction at a lower cost 

Employee benefits are a critical part of any company’s compensation package and are essential for retaining talent. However, many businesses fail to effectively communicate the value of their benefits package to their employees, resulting in its underutilisation. It’s imperative for businesses to develop comprehensive and well communicated benefits strategy, which includes ensuring all employees are represented. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) is paramount in the usage of two-way communication channels, helping management to understand how benefits can build the company culture.

To stay within HR budgets, businesses should design their benefit packages based on their workforce’s needs. Businesses need to understand who their employees are and take demographic considerations such as gender identity and age into account.

For example, in our research, 41% of our HR respondents said they do not offer different benefits to employees of different levels or job roles, and over half (52%) said they do not consider gender or age when designing the benefits for their organisation. This clearly demonstrates that organisations are in danger of wellbeing washing, rather than truly understanding the needs of their workers.

To overcome this barrier, management teams can survey employees to get feedback on what benefits they value most or stay up to date on industry trends and new benefit offerings. By regularly reassessing and updating their benefits package, companies can ensure that they are providing their employees with the coverage they need while avoiding over-extension.

To conclude, it’s important for companies to regularly review and update their benefits package to ensure that it stays current and meets the needs of employees. In addition to boosting productivity and lowering turnover rates, benefits can also improve employee satisfaction. Companies that invest in their employees’ wellbeing, even in this economic climate, will reap the benefits of a more engaged and loyal workforce, with the added benefits of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. By doing so, businesses can also create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported, resulting in a happier and more productive workforce. In turn, this will lay the foundations of a brighter future for both the workforce and the business. 

Graham James, Director, Sodexo Engage

Graham is a strategic leader whose skillset spans commercial planning, performance management, and culture change in both large and small organisations. He has spent the last 25 years learning how to get the best from employees – guiding multiple organisations in recognition, rewards, benefits, wellbeing, and digital transformation.  

Outside of work, Graham supports charities in organisational leadership via Pilotlight – an award-winning social value programme – and has previously worked with the Samaritans to raise awareness about issues concerning men’s mental health.  

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