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Changes Abound for UK Benefits


Amid a highly-competitive labor market, there could be a shift in the benefits United Kingdom employers provide.

This is according to Gallagher's Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey, which found that 45% of the more than 170 U.K.-based Human Resources practitioners surveyed are planning to make changes to their benefits package. The survey shows an increasing number of organizations are fully aware of the measurable impact that benefits have on employee engagement and productivity.

Among HR practitioners planning changes, 72% are seeking to enhance benefits in hopes of improving their employer brand and becoming more competitive in recruitment. The second most popular planned change is improving flexibility in benefits, with 47% attempting to bolster flexible options to extend individual choice.

“While cost is always central to business performance, we are seeing a shift in the market as employers are having to compete for talent in a very diverse workforce,” said Leslie Lemenager, President of Gallagher's International Employee Benefits Consulting and Brokerage. “The fact that 47% of organizations are aiming to enhance flexibility in benefits provisions — despite cost management being their biggest challenge — points to a strong recognition that there is a need to go above and beyond to attract and retain talent.”

Other key findings:

  • More than half of respondents (52%) reported that it is difficult to adequately benchmark their benefits offering against the market.
  • Employers have been largely receptive to flexible working: 91% offer part-time work or shorter hours, and 69% said they allow workers to personalize their hours within certain parameters.
  • 52% of organizations do not allow employees to work from home (i.e., teleworking or telecommuting). Furthermore, other benefits that suit a diverse workforce are uncommon: 43% offer a condensed working week; just 24% offer agile working; and a scant 14% offer term-time only working.
  • More than one-third of organizations (36%) identified communications as a barrier to effective benefits, making it the fourth-most commonly cited challenge.
  • 84% of organizations do not use total reward statements to communicate the value of their benefits package. Of those using total reward statements, 77% send these communications digitally.

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