Big business feeling perky over staff benefits

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




(2000), "Big business feeling perky over staff benefits", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 21 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Big business feeling perky over staff benefits

Big business feeling perky over staff benefits

Keywords Benefits, Loyalty, Retention, Commitment

Research conducted by Abbey National amongst some of the country's leading companies has revealed that many organisations feel employee benefit schemes are an important method of keeping staff loyal and motivated.

The study goes a long way to proving that, by linking rewards – especially employee share ownership – to the success of the business, companies can foster a feeling of greater commitment in the workforce. Abbey National found that 85 per cent of those firms questioned believe good employee benefits help to improve staff loyalty and 83 per cent were sure that they also helped with staff retention.

However, only 54 per cent say that employee benefit schemes boost performance, highlighting the fact that financial perks should not be used to replace staff development programmes. This is borne out by results elsewhere in the research which reveal that, although 89 per cent of companies feel flexible benefits are either effective or very effective at raising morale, 100 per cent of the organisations questioned feel that ongoing training is a better means of boosting morale.

A key finding in Abbey National's research is that employers feel these schemes play an important role in encouraging greater commitment among staff by linking their rewards to the interests of the company itself. The vast majority (94 per cent) of organisations feel employee benefit schemes enable companies to share rewards with their workforce.

As for commitment, 83 per cent of businesses told Abbey National they believe employee benefit schemes give staff a greater sense of involvement – although only 59 per cent feel staff benefits will improve employee understanding of the company they work for. Nine out of ten of companies either agree or strongly agree that by offering a genuine stake in the future of the company, in which they work, share ownership can greatly increase employee motivation and performance.

The research does show that employers are disappointed with the Government's "All Employee Share Scheme" proposals, designed to make it easier for organisations to participate in employee share schemes. Asked if they feel the proposals properly reflect the needs of businesses and their employees, 37 per cent say yes, 26 per cent say no and 37 per cent are unsure.

However, the proposed Government moves are likely to increase the take-up of share ownership by varying degrees, according to Abbey National's research. Only 19 per cent of companies feel the legislation will boost take-up significantly and 41 per cent think take-up will rise slightly. Only 15 per cent believe the project will not increase the number of employee share ownership schemes in the UK.

Commenting on the survey, Peter Robins, Manager, Abbey National Corporate Business, says: "By encouraging workers to see the addition of employee benefits to their basic wages as more than 'just a salary', these schemes can help create greater staff commitment and change staff perceptions of their employer.

"So, if remuneration packages are no longer seen as 'just a salary', then hopefully work will become more than 'just a job'. In an age where the concept of 'a job for life' is history, where increasingly individuals have to provide for their own pensions and much of their own health care, both employer and employee realise it takes more than just a decent salary to attract the right calibre of staff."

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