Half of UK HR leaders think their workplace benefits aren’t working

New research into the adoption of employee benefits has indicated that HR leaders throughout the UK find that benefits and workplace perks are not meeting expectations.

The primary issues, as identified by a study conducted by employee money-saving platform Nous.co, include a disconnect between the benefits provided and the actual needs of employees, as well as insufficient onboarding processes.

From a survey of 500 UK HR Directors, nearly half (48%) observed a low engagement with employee benefits, attributing this to a lack of interest from employees in the offerings available, suggesting that the perks are not aligning with staff requirements.

Additionally, two-thirds (62%) of HR leaders acknowledged that the benefits they provide do not meet the real needs of their employees or are only useful to a portion of their workforce.

Despite these challenges, employee benefits are still considered a vital component of an employer’s value proposition. Recent studies indicate that a quarter of the workforce desires better benefits, with up to one in two employees willing to accept lower pay in exchange for enhanced and customised perks.

HR leaders also recognise that issues with access and onboarding are negatively impacting the uptake of benefits. The findings from the Nous survey show that nearly a fifth (18%) of HR Directors reported that the benefits they offer are hard for employees to access, with a third (32%) agreeing that utilising certain benefits requires too much effort from the employees.

Furthermore, a fifth (20%) of HR leaders conceded that there is either insufficient onboarding for new benefits initiatives, or that the onboarding process is inadequate. Another fifth (20%) believed that employees are not even aware that certain benefits are available to them.

The survey also highlighted the most popular benefits currently offered by employers, including flexible working arrangements, enhanced pension benefits, additional holiday leave, private health or dental care, and complimentary food or beverages at work.

Jon Rudoe, employee money-saving expert and co-founder at Nous.co, comments: “Competitive employers know they need to offer more than just a good salary to attract and retain top talent. And employees increasingly expect their company to help them out with the struggles that daily life throws at them.

“But clearly something is wrong when this many HR leaders admit their benefits aren’t working.

“Businesses need to focus their attention – and their budgets – on benefits and support that actually meet people’s needs, whether that’s through flexible working, support with childcare or help with essential expenses.

“While rising prices remain the number one source of concern for UK employees, financial wellbeing is a crucial part of this.

“I’d recommend starting with the issues that are universal. Helping with household bills using solutions like Nous is an effective way of making a genuine impact. We all have to pay them and we’ve all been affected by recent price hikes.

“None of this is worthwhile unless leaders put real effort into making sure employees actually use benefits available to them. Employers should use their convening power to set aside time in the working day for staff to engage with benefits so that people actually see the upside.”