Tag: employee benefits

Employee compensation impacted by economic conditions

Microsoft’s full-time employees will not be receiving salary increases this year, as the company prepares for the impact of current economic conditions, according to reports. The decision was communicated to the staff through an email from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, as confirmed by BQ Prime, who obtained a copy of the email.

Nadella acknowledged that the choice not to increase salaries for full-time employees was not made lightly by the senior leadership team. However, he emphasized its necessity in ensuring the long-term success of the company. Certain hourly or equivalent roles will still receive salary increases, as stated by Nadella.

While the freeze on salary increases is in effect, Microsoft will maintain its budget for bonuses and stock awards this year. In 2022, the company significantly raised its global merit budget and annual stock ranges by at least 25% for employees at level 67 and below, as previously reported by CNBC. This year, Nadella mentioned that the bonus and stock award budget will be maintained, but not overfunded as it was in the previous year, aligning it more closely with historical averages.

Nadella made it clear that outstanding performance will still be recognized with generous rewards, but managers will need to carefully allocate their budgets to differentiate pay based on performance. This approach applies not only to the senior leadership team but also to Nadella himself. Consequently, salary increases will be absent, and annual performance-based bonuses for the senior leadership team will be considerably lower compared to the previous year.

Microsoft’s decision to freeze salary increases coincides with its increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) as a major investor in OpenAI, as well as the global economic uncertainty. Earlier this year, the tech giant announced plans to lay off 10,000 employees as part of its strategy to align its cost structure with revenue and customer demand. LinkedIn, one of Microsoft’s subsidiaries, also recently disclosed its intention to reduce its workforce by over 700 positions.

These measures align with the actions taken by numerous employers worldwide, who are implementing layoffs in anticipation of economic turbulence.

Share this article on social media

Josh Bersin recommends a more systemic approach to pay and benefits

Employers have been advised to adopt a “systemic approach” to their corporate pay and benefits strategies to attract jobseekers in the post-pandemic workplace. Josh Bersin, global industry analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, recommends that a more systemic approach to pay and benefits is necessary to make a company “irresistible” to current and prospective employees. According to Indeed, many employers are using a total rewards approach, which may no longer be suitable for the current workplace. Pay has emerged as the number one concern for workers globally, making an old-style total rewards approach insufficient. Instead, The Josh Bersin Company recommends a “Systemic Rewards” approach that balances pay equity and pay for performance, personalizes employee options, and reinvests benefits dollars to focus more on flexibility, career, and recognition.

The firm’s latest research, The Definitive Guide to Pay and Benefits: The Road to Systemic Rewards, outlines a systemic approach that includes competitive compensation, generous benefits, health and wellbeing support, flexibility, career, and purpose, and pay equity. According to the report, only nine per cent of companies have achieved this approach, but they are also 3.1 times more likely to innovate efficiently. A systemic approach would require collaboration among HR teams to be effective, Bersin added.

Share this article on social media

Half of UK employees would choose great relationships with colleagues over a pay rise

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, 50% of employees would choose great working relationships over a 10% pay increase, and 35% said relationship building is the main problem for hybrid workers.  This is according to HubSpot’s 2023 Hybrid Work Report.

The UK hybrid working respondents were asked about their main reason for office visits. Fifty-one percent agreed that it was to connect with colleagues. A further 37% said they use the office to communicate more efficiently with colleagues.

The report revealed feelings and patterns towards hybrid working and revealed that 47% of UK workers would opt for a four-day workweek over a salary increase. Flexibility was also found to be a priority. When asked what they would choose to boost their productivity, 70% of employees picked flexible start and finish times.

The report’s findings indicate that employers should consider improving benefits packages to recruit and retain top talent. The report showed that UK workers who work from home would feel more motivated to visit the office if commuter benefits (58%) and catered meals (56%) were part of their packages.

Other big challenges were revealed, such as the management of remote employees (26%) and a lack of alignment between in-office and remote employees (21%).

Shockingly, 31% of employees said that they do not regularly feel engaged at work, and 44% consider themselves to be quitting quietly. Twenty-three percent feel they will be quiet quitting soon.

Regarding parental support, the report also revealed that the UK and Ireland are the least likely to make parents’ lives easier. For example, only 14% (UK) and 13% (Ireland) of parents receive childcare subsidies, compared to 37% in the US, 34% in Colombia, and 23% in Germany.

Concerning the number of days spent working at home, the UK is higher than the global average, with 18% of hybrid workers only visiting an office once a week and 34% spending two days in the office.

It was also clear from the data that employees want investment that fosters a strong culture, including engagement and team-building events (45%), communication and collaboration tools (36%), diversity, inclusion, and belonging (31%), and sustainability (26%)

Flavia Colombo, General Manager UK&I, at HubSpot said: “People clearly care about getting on with others in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean employers should scale back on flexibility or force people back to the office. Companies need to help employees find meaningful ways to connect both in-person and online by providing tools and support that work on a personal level. If failing to do so we will see a bigger impact on employees’ engagement, belonging and loyalty to their organisation and it will lead to higher attrition rates.

“It’s an employee’s market and people no longer accept the bare minimum in culture and benefits. Employers must distinguish what will nurture the sense of being cared for by an employer – whether that’s benefits, working hours or the right collaboration tools to boost morale and thus a sense of connection and purpose to the business.”

Share this article on social media

Nurses given free parking as staff exodus ends private sector monopoly on employment perks

It’s been revealed by Socially Recruited  that an exodus of nurses is forcing the health sector to respond with an increasing array of employment perks in a desperate bid to fill roles.

The staffing firm, which recruits for big brands and organisations using social media, has reported that the proportion of jobs offering nurses free parking, free lunches and extra annual leave has at least doubled in the past year as the profession suffers a recruitment crisis.

According to Socially Recruited, 2 in 5 of its health service clients now list extra holiday as a benefit, up from 1 in 5 a year ago. The proportion that offer extra annual leave has jumped from 21.2% to 44.1%.

None of the company’s clients was listing free meals and parking 12 months ago, but now 60.4% are doing so.

Nurses are quitting the health service in record numbers in England, according to analysis by the Nuffield Trust, with 40,000 quitting in a year1. That’s equivalent to one in nine of the workforce, leaving recruiters struggling to keep up with the rate at which they need replacing.

A survey by NHS Providers has also shown that many nurses are leaving for better-paid jobs in the hospitality and retail industries2, sparking intense competition to attract and retain staff.

It comes after recent figures from the NHS Business Services Authority revealed that 66,000 NHS staff in England and Wales had stopped paying into their NHS pensions between April and July, with over one in three (23,000) citing affordability pressures.

Ben Keighley, founder of Socially Recruited, said: “Nurses are getting scarcer, and the sector is having to battle even harder just to replace those that are leaving. To stem the tide, we’ve seen an unprecedented influx of employment benefits in healthcare.

“Recruiters are throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at candidates and rolling out the red carpet in a way that, until now, was more commonly associated with the private sector.

“Competition is rife and healthcare providers aren’t just trying to outbid each other — wages in other industries, such as hospitality, have been making gains and turning the heads of nurses and other workers looking for a way out of the cost-of-living crisis.”

Share this article on social media

A third of UK workers indicating that they don’t enjoy their current job

New research by Reed.co.uk, has found that 25% of UK workers are considering leaving their current job within the next 12 months, citing job dissatisfaction as the main reason while a further 18% of UK workers are undecided on whether they want to leave or not.

The research revealed that despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, “I don’t enjoy my current job” ranked as the main reason (30%) why workers are looking for a new job, exceeding the desire for an ‘increased salary’ (29%), followed by a dislike of the current workplace culture (19%).

With almost a third of UK workers indicating that they don’t enjoy their current job, the root causes of this sense of job dissatisfaction amongst workers range from low salaries (50%), toxic workplace culture (44%), poor management (39%), a sense of not being valued (34%), and a lack of career progression opportunities (16%).

According to the data, middle-aged workers – those aged 35-44- and 45–54-year-olds – are those who desire to move jobs in search of more satisfying work ranked highest – 33% and 34% respectively, compared to an average of 25% amongst other age groups, with 18-34-year-olds are almost twice as likely to actually act on this job dissatisfaction by considering a job move than older workers (32% compared to 17% of 55-64-year-olds).

For employers keen to retain staff, a salary increase (50%), flexible hours (24%) and more perks and benefits (24%) rank as the factors most likely to make workers stay.

The benefits most valued by workers include flexible working hours (62%), remote working options (36%), mental health support (34%) and career development programmes (32%). In fact, 45% of workers stated that they either only apply for jobs that list flexible or remote working or are more likely to apply for such roles. However, ‘Boomers’ are far less concerned about flexibility with only 6% reporting they’re looking for more flexibility in a new role, compared to 22% of ‘Millennials’.

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, said: “Among the many long-lasting impacts of COVID-19 on the UK economy is the increasing demand amongst workers for employment that provides more meaningful, enjoyable and satisfying experiences. The record levels of job vacancies on offer across all sectors and regions have empowered workers to prioritise a sense of job satisfaction and, in turn, to more actively critique their current employer’s inability to meet their needs.”

Share this article on social media

46% of applicants put off by bad online reviews

A recent survey by recruitment and employment technology company, CareerWallet has revealed detailed trends and insights into the UK job market. The report has shown the top seven reasons job seekers are put off a business when applying for a new role, with bad reviews and terrible annual leave topping the list.

Top reasons job seekers are put off applying for new roles

  • Bad reviews online 46%
  • Poor annual leave 44%
  • Bad staff incentives and benefits 42%
  • Morally dubious sector 32%
  • No hybrid working 21%
  • No sustainability policy 19%
  • Outdated sector 18%

The survey showed that job seekers extensively research firms before applying for new roles with nearly half (46%) put off by bad reviews online and 19% refusing to apply to firms with no sustainability policy. Terrible annual leave (44%) and bad staff incentives/ benefits (42%) were also high on the list of reasons job seekers would be put off applying to new potential employers when looking for a career change.

The national survey also revealed what is important for job seekers when applying for new roles and gives employers a good idea of what to consider in order to attract the best talent. For example, upgrading staff benefits, offering some level of hybrid working and also making sure annual leave is competitive and in line with competitors makes a job role more attractive to potential applicants.

Craig Bines, CEO at The CareerWallet Group made commented: “At CareerWallet we process millions of jobs a day and this allows us to quickly see how the job market is being impacted on a daily basis.

Our national employee survey has highlighted how UK jobseekers are extensively researching their next potential employer with 1 in 5 even checking for sustainability policies. Many businesses may need to consider changing outdated company policies around annual leave and hybrid working, making sure they remain competitive and can attract the very best talent.”

Share this article on social media

Only 53% of staff appreciate benefits ‘very much’

With World Suicide Prevention Day coming up on the 10th of September, GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, has released new research on how employee benefits can help prevent suicide. The research also looked at how the benefits are received and their impact.

While employee benefits can help to prevent suicide by providing access to mental health support such as counselling, or assisting with debt and money worries, they can only help if they are utilised and appreciated.

According to the research, only 51% of employers even measure staff appreciation of benefits. This number moves in line with the number of employees. The smallest companies are least likely to measure appreciation of benefits, while the large corporates are likely to assess how they are valued.

The survey revealed that of those companies that measure appreciation of benefits, 42% said their employees only ‘somewhat’ appreciate them.

In terms of measurement, the most popular methods are through informal feedback to managers or HR professionals, or through formal surveys, with 41% of employers using these methods. Suggestion boxes and employee benefits forums or working groups followed, with both used by 38% of companies.

The least popular option was management information on utilisation of benefits, used by only 16% of employers. This measurement is a missed opportunity to gauge how much a benefit is utilised and could be effectively used together with other methods to understand how employees value the benefits on offer.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, commented: “If employees don’t appreciate their benefits, then it is going to be difficult for them to achieve what they are designed to do.”

“For this World Suicide Prevention Day, we would like to highlight how important it is that employers don’t just put benefits in place, but that they regularly tell their staff what support is available, actively encourage them to use it, and measure how much it’s utilised and appreciated. This is the best way to ensure benefits do what they’re designed to, which is particularly important in terms of accessing support for mental health.”

“There is a concerning set of circumstances in which employees seem to be blasé or indifferent to the benefits they are provided. Preventing ill health, both physical and mental, is a key reason for offering health and wellbeing benefits. Employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness all include a great deal of support for mental wellbeing. But if these benefits are not being communicated and appreciated, then they are not able to perform to their full potential and wellbeing may suffer as a result.”

“Suicide is preventable, and the support within employee benefits can help with this. Employers can play their part by joining in with this year’s theme creating hope through action and boosting understanding and appreciation of the benefits they have in place to support their people. This will in turn lead to better mental health outcomes.”

Share this article on social media

Spain, Italy, and France are top destinations

According to new research, more than half (57%) of workers are planning to extend their holidays this year to work abroad.

The research undertaken by flexible workspace operator, IWG, revealed that 88% of workers plan to work from anywhere – UK or away – this year. Hybrid working has opened up opportunities for employees to work from anywhere, and many companies are responding accordingly. For example, companies such as Airbnb and Spotify have introduced work-from-anywhere policies to provide employees with flexibility when they travel.

The research showed that 67% of workers believe that they can perform their job effectively abroad, and a further 71% agreed that they would only consider a new job if it gave them the flexibility to work from anywhere for at least some of the time.

In terms of the benefits of working from anywhere, the following were cited:

  • Improved work-life balance (76%)
  • Spend more time with friends and family abroad (52%)
  • Saving money by travelling off-peak (47%)
  • Being able to enjoy longer holidays (30%)

Eighty-nine percent of office workers surveyed said they’re now more likely to work from anywhere than pre-pandemic. A further 83% believe that businesses’ adopting hybrid working has made this lifestyle possible.

‘Flexcations’ are also a popular perk. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would be more inclined to work for a company offering frequent ‘flexcations’ as a perk.

The top locations for hybrid overseas workers:

  • Spain
  • Italy
  • France
  • United States
  • Greece

According to IWG’s office usage data in popular overseas locations for the start of summer:

  • Barcelona, Spain, saw a 168% increase in usage from June to July
  • Italy saw significant rises for its shared offices in Turin (+412%), Milan (+312%), and Rome (+137%).
  • France also recorded growth in its offices in Rennes (+249%), Lille (+155%), and Reims (+147%).

While employees are keen on making the best of the summer months, employers must update policies. Forty-one percent of employees said their employers did not have an official policy in place, and this was preventing them from working from anywhere.

Mark Dixon, IWG Founder and CEO, commented: “For an increasing number of workers, the days of the daily commute are over, now that hybrid working offers the opportunity to work wherever we will be the most productive. And thanks to cloud technology, that can be anywhere in the world, provided there’s a high-quality internet connection available.

“So, it’s no wonder that more and more individuals are embracing the idea of combining work with travel, whether it’s for a few days tacked on to the end of a vacation, or a few months as a digital nomad.

“This trend is set to accelerate further, and we will continue to see more and more companies embracing WFA policies to improve employees’ work-life balance and increase their attractiveness as an employer.”

Share this article on social media

“Do you get paid for training?” is top result

In an analysis of Google search data by LMS provider Digits, the most searched for employee training-related questions in the UK over the past 12 months were revealed.

Digits’ study showed that some of the most frequent queries about employee training stem from uncertainty around who is responsible for paying for the training and whether people will be paid while they are in training.

According to the research, the most Googled questions about employee training during the last 12 months in the UK are:

  • Do you get paid for training at work? – 480 average monthly searches
  • What is training and development? – 480
  • What employee training is required by law UK? – 210
  • What is off-the-job training? – 210
  • What is on-the-job training? – 210
  • Do I get paid for mandatory training UK? – 170
  • How often do day staff require fire training? – 140
  • What is staff training? – 140
  • Why is staff training important? – 140
  • How often do night staff require fire training? – 110
  • Should I be paid for mandatory online training UK? – 110

Thirty percent of the top 10 most frequently asked questions about workplace training and development mentioned the word ‘paid’. A further 22% of the top 108 questions contained the words’ pay’, ‘paid’, or ‘charge’.

While it isn’t possible to identify who is asking the questions, the wording can sometimes reveal whether the searchers are employers or employees. For example, people using the words’ employee(s)’ or ‘staff’ (which appeared in 34%of the top 108 training-related queries) are more likely to pose ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions. These are likely on behalf of their company or as part of their job to enhance their broader knowledge of planning and improving workplace training.

On the other hand, people using the words ‘I’, ‘my’, or ‘you’ (appearing in 24% of the top 108 training-related queries) are likely to be employees looking for answers to questions that affect them personally. These people ask ‘do’, ‘can’, or ‘should’ questions to find more ‘definitive’ answers.

Bradley Burgoyne, head of talent at Digits, commented: “Digits’ latest research sheds light on the types of questions that UK workers and their leaders want answers to and the information that they are lacking about staff training. What it highlights to me is that people do want to understand more about what training and development involves and how to make it work for them, which is great because training should benefit employees and organisations equally.

“It also shows that HR and L&D teams have a real opportunity to spearhead knowledge sharing within their organisation. Thanks to this new research, we know the most popular training questions that employees are asking. So, it’s up to employers to be more proactive in communicating the answers to these questions to their workforce.”

“If you were employed after 6 April 2020 your written terms must set out the training that you have to complete, including training your employer does not pay for. If you started before that date, you need to request clarification from your employer. It is, however, standard and best practice that employers pay for your time to complete this (eg your training is completed during your usual paid working hours, or you receive additional pay for the hours in which you complete this outside of your usual work pattern).

“If you’ve been asked by your employer to undertake some training that’s going to develop your skills and help you do your job better and more efficiently – then, again, it is best practice to be paid for the time that you spend on that training (in addition to your employer funding the cost for the training) as it’s also going to benefit the organisation that you work for. To ensure that you are paid for that time, the training should, ideally, happen within your usual working hours.

“It can be slightly more nuanced for employees that are enrolled on long programmes of training, such as degrees or MBAs. These types of training usually require a bit of give and take from both parties, and employees would typically be expected to use a certain amount of their personal time (unpaid) alongside any paid study time.

“It is common and healthy for employees to approach their employers with requests to undertake training, attend a course, or get a qualification in something that may or may not be relevant to their role. It’s then for both parties to work together to agree who will fund the training and what aspects of the training time will be paid or unpaid. Separately, it’s worth noting, that you do have a legal right to request time off from work to undertake study or training under Section 40 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, which employers have a duty to consider.

“In most instances, it’s important that both you and your employer get all the details and conditions set out in a learning agreement. This agreement should detail who is funding the training and what time off will be paid or unpaid, plus things like if travel expenses to attend the training and associated learning materials are covered. It should also include a clause about when an employee may have to repay the costs of their training if they leave the organisation within a certain timeframe before or after completing their course, which can also act as an effective retention method for employers.”

Share this article on social media

73% of workers will accept a four-day work week if pay does not decrease

A survey of over 2,000 UK workers and 250 UK employers found that flexible work is more popular among job seekers than a four-day work week.

Despite 37% of employers implementing a four-day working week, recent research from Reed.co.uk has found that candidates are more likely to apply for a job offering “flexible working” opportunities (45%) than a “four-day working week” (40%). “Work from home” followed at 32%, and “opportunity to progress” was noted at 31%.

According to the research, despite 89% of workers favouring a four-day working week, flexible work remains the more popular alternative for employers seeking to generate job applications. Flexible working is defined as a way of working that suits the individual’s needs, with flexible start and finishing times and/or the freedom to work from home.

The research also found that only 16% of workers would accept a pay reduction in exchange for a shorter week. Seventy-three percent of respondents were open to the shorter week if pay did not decrease.

Over a third (37%) of employers have implemented a four-day working week, and 27% are considering it.

Generally, the reasons for employers’ support of the four-day working week are focused on employee wellbeing. The benefits cited include:

  • “better work-life balance” (51%)
  • “increased employee happiness” (43%)
  • “higher employee engagement” (41%)
  • “increased productivity” (36%)
  • “reduction of burnout” (36%)

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, comments: “Despite strong arguments in favour of a four-day working week, evidenced also by recent UK trials, our research suggests that it may not be the best or most popular way for businesses to attract and retain top talent.

“The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work has suggested that cramming five days’ work into four might contribute to stress. Instead, offering greater flexibility could be more impactful and more popular.

“Amid a highly competitive labour market, it’s encouraging to see so many employers open to exploring new and creative methods to attract candidates. The era of the traditional 9-to-5, five day working week is over and it’s now more important than ever for employers and employees alike to embrace flexible and inclusive working patterns that will allow everyone to contribute to the workforce.”

Share this article on social media