Small Gift Incentives Highlighted as Most Popular Employee Benefit
Over 50% of companies would describe the employment outlook as positive for 2011
61.6% of companies plan on recruiting in the next 6 - 12 months
70% of companies have implemented a pay freeze within the last three years
81% of companies have not introduced pay cuts within the last three years
In the absence of salary increases, small incentives such as gift vouchers are the most popular benefit among employees
Over 50% of UK companies would describe the employment outlook as positive for 2011, according to new research carried out by One4all Rewards, the corporate rewards division of the Gift Voucher Shop among 120 HR managers and employers nationwide.
The companies surveyed represent a broad spectrum of small, medium and large-sized enterprises across a variety of industry sectors, with over half employing 500 staff or more. In the majority of cases, employers feel that either ‘the recruitment market is picking up’ (24.7%) or ‘the outlook is positive’ (50.1%), while 61.6% plan on recruiting in the next 6-12 months. For 38% of respondents, the recruitment outlook remains negative while 12% think that it will be difficult to attract staff due to salary restrictions.
70% of companies surveyed have implemented a pay freeze within the last three years. In the majority of cases, the pay freeze took place during 2009 (20.1%) or 2010 (10.1%). The figure for 2008 is lower at 8.9% and only 8.1% of companies surveyed have implemented a freeze so far in 2011.
Despite a significant proportion of pay freezes, however, over half of the companies surveyed have not introduced pay cuts within the last three years. Where pay cuts did occur, the majority (44%) were not implemented until 2010. Only 2.2% of those surveyed have introduced pay cuts this year.
Commenting on the findings, Declan Byrne, Managing Director UK The Gift Voucher Shop, said “We deal directly with HR managers on a daily basis and the overriding challenge facing businesses of all sizes is motivating staff to work long hours and take on extra workloads for less reward. Our research highlights this sentiment and the need for employers to drill deeper to find innovative cost effective solutions.”
In the absence of salary increases, employers were asked to identify which benefits are most important to their employees in the current economic climate. Over half (60.3%) of those surveyed highlighted small incentives such as gift cards and vouchers as the most popular benefit, followed by a pension (50%), an annual bonus (37%), health insurance (32.2%), additional leave (30%) and professional training (22.2%).
Almost 30% of HR managers and employers indicated that staff are increasingly seeking advice on personal finance or budgeting matters. Issues raised included general budgeting (50%), tax advice (40%) and managing debt (32%)
In terms of budgeting assistance, over three quarters of those surveyed do not facilitate employees to put money aside each month through the payroll while only 29% of companies operate an employee savings club such as the One4all Smart Planner scheme.
In terms of increasing productivity among employees, 60% of employers cited small gift incentives as the most motivating non-salary reward. Other useful incentives include company entertainment such as Christmas parties or team nights out (32.5%), professional training (38.4%), flexible benefits (39%) and health and relaxation activities (12.3%).
Among the innovative employee incentives introduced by companies in the last three years are recognition awards, employee wellbeing at work programmes, travel allowances, onsite car valet and dry cleaning services, bikes to work schemes and perfect attendance incentive programmes.
When asked if their employees are working longer hours as a result of the current economic climate, the respondents were evenly split at 50%. According to the survey, illness remains the main contributing factor to absenteeism in the workplace (56%) followed by stress (32.9%) and low staff morale (21.9%).
*Research was conducted among 120 HR managers and employers nationwide during May 2011. The companies represented a broad spectrum of small, medium and large-sized enterprises across a variety of industry sectors.