Businesses are under pressure from multiple directions but conducting a benefits review could be an efficient way to save money and improve employee morale. With decades-high inflation and rising interest rates, firms and their employees are likely to be feeling an increasing amount of financial strain.


This may be leading to employees seeking pay rises from their employers, something that might not be financially viable even if management is sympathetic to the requests.


But in the post-pandemic world of work, employers shouldn’t simply look to salaries as a way of retaining and attracting staff, rather they should review their benefits package to create a more holistic remuneration package. Securing benefits at the corporate level can be advantageous from a cost perspective, but it also demonstrates that an employer cares for its employees, something that could be worth more to many workers than simply a higher salary.



Balancing act


All firms, but especially those that are in a growth phase and are looking to recruit, must be aware of how competitive their employee benefits package is, as well as their salaries. Business leaders must analyse and stress-test their offering to ensure that their salaries are enticing, but not overgenerous, and that the non-cash benefits on offer are compelling to their workforce.


Seeking input from employees is also vital, especially as this enables managers to truly appreciate what their employees value, allowing them to target their workplace benefits budget in the right places. This is particularly relevant for firms that are recruiting now given a burgeoning recruitment challenge; fresh data from the Office for National Statistics shows that economic activity levels among the over-50s are now at their highest since the pandemic began, as older workers start to ‘unretire’ due to the rising cost of living.


This means that firms might have to consider the types of benefits on offer that would most appeal to this cohort. Just as employees now expect a better work/life balance, many may expect an improved pay/benefits balance as well.


Developing a benefits and remuneration package that enables your employees to live and work in a way that echoes your firm’s ethos should be a core goal.

Cost vs value


Every business will be carefully monitoring its finances right now, but this is particularly true for smaller businesses. Leaders of such companies should see their benefits package for the value it provides, rather than the cost required to implement it.


It’s likely that the cost-per-head of many benefits will be higher for smaller firms, but the impact of a member of staff being absent for a long period of time would also be more problematic for an SME than a larger company.


With 6.7 million people on the official NHS waiting list, the benefits of private medical insurance to a small business could be huge if one of its employees needed medical treatment. And with three in 10 people unable to access an NHS dentist, securing business-wide dental cover could ensure that staff can seek treatment in a timely fashion, preventing them being absent due to a dental issue.


Essentially, every business leader must make sure that they have the workplace benefits that enhance their company’s appeal as well as their employees’ lives. Achieving this means assessing your firm’s benefits package, and with the economy entering a particularly uncertain period, overhauling it now could prove a vital ballast for your business.


For a free, no obligation benefits audit that can help you deliver value to your employees and your business, please get in touch.


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Rachel Riley
Partner and Commercial Leader
Mercer Marsh Benefits

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