Staff would sacrifice workplace benefits for more flexibility

Staff would sacrifice workplace benefits for more pay and flexibilityWork/life balance, and the ability to take more annual leave, is the top priority for most European workers and 52 percent explicitly see this as an incentive for choosing certain benefits claims research from SD Worx. Employees in France (63 percent) prioritise this the most across the Europe, next is the UK, whilst workers in Austria (36 percent) and the Netherlands (32 percent) are least likely to opt for additional annual leave. Flexible working also plays a significant role in the benefits employees would choose, with home working allowances being a key factor for 21 percent of respondents and 21 percent wanting a laptop or smartphone included in their benefits package. If given the option, more than a quarter (28 percent) of UK workers would actually prefer to have fewer benefits and instead have more cash, which proved to be the most popular change workers would make. UK workers are more likely to feel like this than any other country in Europe, with only 11 percent sharing that opinion in Belgium. The next most likely to agree with this change are Austrian (20 percent) and French (20 percent) workers, ahead of German (19 percent) and Dutch (17 percent) employees, indicating that often softer benefits aren’t a priority when compared to an increase in take home pay.

If given the option, more than a quarter (28 percent) of UK workers would actually prefer to have fewer benefits and instead have more cash, which proved to be the most popular change workers would make. UK workers are more likely to feel like this than any other country in Europe, with only 11 percent sharing that opinion in Belgium. The next most likely to agree with this change are Austrian (20 percent) and French (20 percent) workers, ahead of German (19 percent) and Dutch (17 percent) employees, indicating that often softer benefits aren’t a priority when compared to an increase in take home pay.

In line with this, 16 percent of British workers would be happy to sacrifice their holiday allowance in exchange for a boost in pay. However, the fourth most popular change would be an increase in holiday (9 percent), with an active reduction in other benefits.

Regardless of the specific rewards that employees prefer, the desire for flexibility is so high that 69 percent of British employees would be more likely to apply for a new job if the prospective employer offered the opportunity for them to put together a personalised remuneration based on a certain budget.

Across all European employees working for organisations that offer a set budget for tailored benefits, 71 percent agree that they are satisfied and 72 percent intend to stay with the business for a long time. Moreover, 71 percent say they would remain in the organisation, even if they received a comparable offer from another employer. In terms of employee retention in an increasingly competitive talent market, getting rewards policies right is absolutely crucial.

“Whilst money may seem an obvious incentive, in an increasingly flexible world, employees across Europe are also placing a greater emphasis on their personal lives, and having a good work/life balance is clearly very important to them,” said Jeremy Campbell, Chief Commercial Officer at SD Worx.

“Mobility and flexible working all contribute to a culture where the employee is in control of their professional day to day life. The ability to tailor a benefits package to suit your individual needs is of great interest for many workers, and businesses need to do more to offer this as standard. Doing so will not only keep current employees happy, it will also help companies find and recruit the best talent.”

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