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42% of companies allow buying and selling holidays
According to Gallagher’s 2021 Benefits Strategy Benchmarking Survey report, companies are changing benefit policies to align with post-pandemic priorities in a bid to attract and retain talent in a very competitive market.

More than 230 UK organisations responded to the survey, and almost half (46%) plan to change their current benefits offerings with 71% planning to enhance them.

 

“The pandemic has prompted a mass shift in working habits and companies are beginning to reflect this accordingly when it comes to their benefits strategy,” said Nick Burns, CEO of Gallagher’s Employee Benefits Consulting Division in the U.K. “As the survey reveals, areas such as health and wellbeing and ensuring a family-friendly approach to benefits are increasingly viewed as central to the employee experience.”

Key trends found in the report include:

Employee health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing continue to be a major focus as a resilient workforce will be more agile when adapting to change. That said, one-third of organisations added new benefits in this space.

  • Three quarters of organisations (76%) reported offering an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).
  • There has been an increase in fitness-related benefits such as a discounted gym memberships (69%) in order to accommodate the different ways people have been exercising during the pandemic.
  • Annual leave has become more important to support employees’ mental wellbeing.
  • Holiday or annual leave is a statutory benefit in the UK (minimum of 20 days plus eight bank holidays for a full-time employee) and just over half of organisations (51%) have applied the same holiday entitlement to all employees.
  • The ability to buy or sell holidays (36%) is up slightly compared to last year.
  • Of those who offer flexibility, around 42% allow both buying and selling of holidays.
  • It is most common by far to allow five days to be bought or sold where trading is offered, although a few organisations allow 10 days. The highest cited response was 15 days.
  • In addition, organisations are offering different kinds of leave packages outside of family leave, including: bereavement/compassionate leave (93%), study leave (58%), volunteering leave (36%), carers’ leave (22%) day off on birthday (10%).

Equalisation and fairness of benefits

Organisations are endeavouring to provide more family-friendly benefits.

  • Accordingly, maternity and paternity pay has improved – with 88% increasing enhance pay compared to 62% two years ago.
  • Forty-one per cent of respondents offer shared paternal leave on the same basis as maternity, with paid paternity leave increasingly becoming the norm.
  • The extended duration of leave has also risen among 32% of respondent organisations, compared to just 17 per cent two years ago.
  • The adoption policy matches the maternity policy for the majority of organisations (88%).

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