Financial Wellbeing

Making Employee Benefits Work: A Guest Blog by Professor Amanda Kirby

12 April 2023

Professor Amanda Kirby founded and ran a transdisciplinary clinical and research team for 20 years relating to neurodiversity. Joining us for a guest blog, she shares her expert opinions on aligning employee benefits to employee needs.

With challenges attracting and retaining talent, we are paying greater attention to overall job satisfaction than ever before. Many studies have shown that a comprehensive benefits package can increase job satisfaction, reduce turnover, and improve overall employee engagement.


In a volatile and uncertain world of change with pressure from the cost-of-living crises, the wellbeing needs of our workforce have come front and centre.


As a specialist working in the field of neurodiversity in the workplace and especially in equity, diversity, and inclusion (I wrote the award-winning book, Neurodiversity at Work). I can see that it is essential to listen to all voices in our specific work settings to understand what is important for our employees. Not all of us are at the same age and stage of our lives, and this may mean we want different benefits. If we compare baby boomers, Gen X and Millennials, it will be the Baby boomers who are most interested in health benefits, for example.


Better engagement leads to better retention and creates a more stable workforce. This has the added benefit of having greater team cohesion. When employees leave, this can create a ripple factor for those who remain. Team members who are there still often must cope with temporary gaps in skills within their team. Frequent new starts in a team can be challenging, especially when you need to get to know different people’s communication styles and working practices. Miscommunication can lower morale and damage mental wellbeing.


Every penny counts today.


For those working in HR roles, there is a fine balance between supporting employees coping with work and life pressures and enabling the organisation to thrive. Deciding where and how to spend most effectively becomes even more important. For HR, time looking for new candidates and reassigning job responsibilities can also come at a real cost.


While salary is important for most people it is not necessarily everything and may not be the one reason why someone stays or leaves. Understanding what is the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can aid every organisation. The EVP is how an organisation markets their organisation to prospective talent and how they retain them in a competitive job market. It is meant not only to communicate the values and culture of the organisation but also to take a focus off remuneration as the sole reason for working there. The benefits, when done correctly, are a more committed, happier, and productive workforce which are the main goals of any employee-centred strategy. It may also have the side benefit of improving the company's perception in the eyes of consumers. It remains important to communicate and deliver the EVP effectively and measure the impact and value it derives.


What do employees want?


This report not only demonstrates the importance of listening. More than three-quarters of employee respondents said they felt more motivated to work when their organisation is supporting them. In addition, nearly three-quarters of respondents said that when choosing an organisation to work for that the benefits package was an important part of the decision-making process.


What are the concerns of HR professionals?


Over two-fifths of HR professionals reported their biggest challenge when putting in place benefits packages and ensuring relevance to employee needs and wants was also balancing reduced budgets.


Developing a competitive employee compensation package cannot be an afterthought. By creating a well-thought-out strategy that aligns with the company’s vision and business strategy, the benefits provided can have the greatest impact across the business.


About our guest blogger


Amanda is an emeritus professor at the University of South Wales and an honorary professor at Cardiff University. She has clinical and research experience and founded and ran a transdisciplinary clinical and research team for 20 years relating to neurodiversity. She is a qualified GP and has a PhD. relating to emerging adulthood and neurodiversity. She has initiated and runs a Masters in SEN programme.  


Amanda is also the founder and CEO of Do-IT Solutions, a tech for a good company that provides neurodiversity screening and web-based support tools for schools and for adults in education and employment. 


She has written ten books and more than 100 research papers in the field, and one of her recent books, published in 2021: Neurodiversity at Work, Drive Innovation, Performance and Productivity with a Neurodiverse Workforce, won the Business Book Awards 2022 for EDI. Amanda was voted one of the top UK HR Thinkers in 2022 and won the lifetime achievement awards at the National Diversity Awards as well as being voted in the power 50. She has also been one of the UK LinkedIn voices as well as one of their first creators and has a following on her weekly newsletter of more than 75,000 followers. 


She has a new book for 2023 called Neurodiversity in Education with authors Paul Ellis and Abby Osbourne. 

Professor Amanda Kirby