Good news! According to the Office of National Statistics, UK wage growth is at an 11-year high!
And that’s not all. Employment rates are now at record levels not seen since the early 70’s. On these facts alone, more people are in work than ever before and better still, they’re earning more than ever, too.
Time to celebrate then? Well, no… not quite.
Whilst the rise in annual wages is of course a good thing, the facts don’t tell the whole story. The ONS report that the driving force behind the 3.9% growth in wages is mostly down to the unusual timing of pay increase of public health workers that had been deferred from July.
Also, it’s also important to note that in real terms, wages are still some way off their pre-economic downturn levels of 2008. Plus, the rising cost of living is showing no signs of waning, with wages struggling to keep pace.
Pay may be on the up for many, but in truth, we’re all still in recovery mode – and that recovery is certainly fragile.
BREXIT BOMBSHELL ON THE HORIZON?
Given that the spectre of Brexit is a financial Pandora’s Box for the economy, there is a very real possibility that, in the short term at least, there may be more financial hardships just around the corner. As a result, people will most likely have two choices if things get tough: either sit tight and watch the pennies or seek out pastures new in jobs that pay more to make ends meet.
Whichever route people decide to take, it will put pressure on organisations in two ways: the first is how they can retain their best staff without simply adding to the wage bill and increasing their own overheads, and the second will be how they can attract the best employees in an über-competitive jobs market.
The employee benefits that businesses offer can help employees on both those fronts.
What’s more, the ones that create genuine engagement with staff are the ones that help that all-important salary stretch for longer and improves the quality of an employee’s life, too. After all, people are wanting more than just a good wage and a bog-standard set of benefits, so focusing on the benefits that really make a difference can be a real boon to both employee retention and reputation.
So, what are the ways employee benefits can be used to stretch pay further and help retain and attract the best staff?
1. OFFER FLEXIBLE WORKING…
How much money do you and your workforce spend on simply getting to work each week? It’s probably more than you realise; and that’s even before you consider the amount of time you also lose!
Giving the benefit of flexible working means your employees can retain more of their wages by not having to travel to a place of work. After all, if they can work remotely just as effectively as being in an office, does travelling to work really make sense?
2... OR HELP REDUCE THE COST OF COMMUTING
If flexible working isn’t feasible, then reducing the cost of the daily commute is one way to boost the bank balance.
Benefits such as reduced train season tickets or access to deals on ULEV or electric vehicles are fantastic ways to help stretch pay further – and a pretty good deal for the planet, too!
3. LOOK OUT FOR LOCAL DISCOUNTS
We’d bet that there are plenty of good quality local businesses within easy reach of your employees that deal in the every-day essentials; be it the morning coffee to groceries, dry cleaning or even personal grooming.
There’s a good chance that these local businesses would agree to offer your workforce discounts on their services as it’s a great way to generate both new business and ongoing loyalty. And, whilst none of these things are critical to their survival, they’re all everyday things your workforce probably spends money on.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PLANS
Did you know that Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) can offer a wealth of wellbeing services, such as mental health counselling, financial and legal advice?
For example, with proper financial advice, both you and your employees can all learn to be more financially savvy and avoid the cycle of debt – meaning you’re not only being money smart, but also looking after something money can’t buy: positive wellbeing.
5. ASK YOUR EMPLOYEES!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, involve your businesses’ most important asset: your staff!
If you want to build engagement with them through a benefits programme, get them involved from the outset to find out what they’d really value. Your colleagues will know what they need (and what might work well for your business), so ask them—and listen!
IS YOUR BUSINESS SUFFERING FROM POOR STAFF ENGAGEMENT?
If your staff are un-engaged with your business or their work, it could be costing you a fortune - quite literally! Discover how much poor staff engagement could be costing your business and try our free online engagement calculator by hitting the link below!