By Declan Byrne, Managing Director at One4all UK

Offering a great salary to attract and retain staff is no longer enough to employees. Expectations are at an all-time high and an attractive benefits package that goes above and beyond, has quickly become one of the most important items on a job specification.

A competitive benefits and rewards scheme can be a real influence in how attractive the role is to candidates. In fact, a benefits package that offers a diverse set of benefits tailored to the needs of a wide range of employees may actually be a more attractive prospect than a higher base salary with no benefits at all.

Recent research carried out by One4all has shown that 71% of people would forgo a higher salary to work for an employer that regularly thanks its employees for their efforts and 68% of employees are more loyal to employers that regularly thank them for their efforts.

In many organisations it falls to the Payroll team to oversee employee benefits and they have a strategic role of selecting the correct benefits for the company. There are a number of effective schemes that are available that will have gains for both your workforce and business too.

Employee Benefits and Recruitment

Recruitment can be a lengthy and costly process. Not only is staff turnover a huge cost to business but it can lead to team disruption, underserviced clients and lack of staff morale.

A good quality and well communicated benefits scheme can make a huge difference when attracting new employees and if used correctly, it can be used to improve engagement and satisfaction for current employees.

A fixed benefits scheme including traditional benefits such as pensions, insurance, health care, may appeal to the majority of employees, but can leave some staff feeling uninspired. The needs of employees are varied and whilst traditional benefits will have a widespread appeal, many more will be interested in flexible schemes.

A flexible package that allows employees to select the benefits most relevant to their needs can be hugely valuable compared to a fixed set of benefits that all employees across the company receive.

When it comes to rewarding staff for team or company performance, some employees will be motivated by money, particularly those in performance-driven environments, like sales. Cash bonuses can be awarded as a one-off payment when staff motivation needs a boost or linked to performance targets and paid on a more regular basis.

However, personalised rewards such as a multi-retailer gift card means that employers are not limited by a traditional cash bonus, which can often become spent on family or bills. They can actually get real trophy value out of their reward and treat themselves.

What are the pitfalls?

The most common reason a benefit scheme fails to deliver, is due to a lack of communication. Employees either aren’t aware of what benefits are available to them or aren’t aware how they can make the most of what is on offer.

Therefore, it’s important for the Payroll department to ensure the scheme is fully communicated to all existing and potential employees. Leveraging a company intranet, internal newsletter or notice board are the most obvious forms of communication for a workforce. Larger companies could even hold an employee benefits roadshow, where they showcase the range of benefits and rewards on offer. By doing this, the more effective the benefits package will be at improving employee satisfaction and engagement.

Adding these to the company’s external website and making sure it stands out by giving its own page or having website banners that promote the benefits is the best way of communicating to potential employees.

Employee reward and benefit schemes are there to support and attract potential employees as well as strengthen businesses. It is the Payroll department’s responsibility to ensure that the schemes are leveraged to their maximum potential and, depending on the nature of your company it’s important that the correct benefits are selected to ensure the scheme is successful for both the employees and the company.