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Staff wellbeing – more important than pay?

Thursday 28th September 2017

For many businesses looking for ways to keep their workforce engaged and motivated, pay and bonuses will be the first incentives that come to mind.

However, research has suggested that the challenge of looking after employees is often more complicated than this, with an increasing number of workers placing an emphasis on other aspects of their work.

Employee benefits and engagement firm Reward Gateway released a survey showing that more than half (52 per cent) of UK workers would choose a job with a company that cared about their wellbeing over one that offered higher pay.

Just over half (51 per cent) of the employers taking part in the study said their organisation shows that it cares for staff mental, physical and financial wellbeing. However, only 14 per cent of employees felt their company couldn’t do any more to look after their welfare.

One in three respondents (33 per cent) said their employer doesn’t currently offer a wellbeing programme. Less than a quarter said their organisation offers a scheme dedicated to financial health (23 per cent) or mental wellbeing (22 per cent).

Nearly a third (29 per cent) of people were unsure about the staff wellbeing initiatives available from their employer, even though nearly half (48 per cent) of companies felt they did a good job of conveying information about the services on offer.

Lucy Tallick, head of wellbeing at Reward Gateway, said: “Employee wellbeing is not about crisis management and fixing problems. It’s about helping your people live better and feel better by facilitating sustainable lifestyle changes that really make a difference.”

Flexibility – more important than ever?
Flexibility is one concept that is becoming increasingly important to many people, particularly those who expect a healthy work/life balance or have other commitments outside their jobs, such as caring for relatives.

According to Ms Tallick, it’s important for employers to consider that “everyone has unique desires and needs”.

“In order to gain buy in, it’s much better to give the employee solutions that provide choice and flexibility,” she added. “By creating an inclusive programme, you’ll also hugely increase your engagement.”

The recent focus on flexibility in working methods could be a welcome development for smaller firms. These businesses might find it more feasible to offer flexible hours or to allow their staff to work remotely than to promise regular pay rises or bonuses.

Being flexible in other areas of business – opting for short-term office hire over a long-term lease, for example – can also provide cost and efficiency advantages.

According to a recent report compiled by OddsMonkey, a third of business owners believe half of their labour force will work remotely by 2020.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that use of flexi-time increased by 12.35 per cent between 2012 and 2016.

The Trades Union Congress also revealed last year that the number of people working remotely has increased by approximately 241,000 over the past decade.

 

Image courtesy of iStock/StockRocket

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