By Daniel Hunter

New analysis of the annual Reward Management survey out from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, reveals that reward and HR professionals are taking steps to ensure that the benefits they offer support the objectives of the company.

For instance, a firm focusing on delivering a great product or service for customers is statistically more likely to provide benefits associated with employee training and development, than those enterprises focusing on cost. Such cost-focused companies are, in turn, more likely to offer voluntary benefits.

The annual survey report supplement, 'Aligning strategy and benefits,' shows how employers are also responding to the demographic profile of the workforce by tailoring the perks that they have on offer.

The research found that where the workforce is comprised mostly of graduates, there is a higher level of membership in defined contribution plans. This indicates that employers are either responding to the fact that graduates are more likely to want to join a pension scheme or are ensuring that their plan is well promoted, to attract and retain valuable talent.

The research also reveals that there is a strong correlation between workplace outcomes and transparency in employee benefits. Organisations that prefer to be more transparent about their benefits scheme are more likely to have good employee relations, increased labour productivity rates, lower absenteeism, good employee retention and lower pay discontent.

Charles Cotton, Reward Adviser at the CIPD said: "HR professionals continually have to ensure that the reward provisions they offer in the workplace are in keeping with the shifting nature of work, and are aligned to both the needs of business and employees and integrated with other aspects of people management strategy. Failure to do so will result in inappropriate achievements, skills and behaviours being rewarded and recognised.

What our research helps to illustrate is that HR are not adopting benefits for the sake of it but are choosing those that match what the firm is trying to achieve. It also shows the impact that employee benefits can have in the workplace in terms of employee retention, absence, productivity and relations."

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