POSTED: January 12 2021
Employee benefits: An afterthought during recruitment process?

Employee benefits: An afterthought during recruitment process?

Employee benefits can be an incredibly effective recruitment tool but all too often they are only communicated by employers during the onboarding process after an offer has been accepted, according to new research. We take a closer look.

The research conducted by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector CONFIRMS THAT Just 22% of organisations promote employee benefits prior to recruitment i.e. in job advertisements, and only a quarter (25%) include any mention of employee benefits before day one of employment e.g. in an offer letter.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “It is completely nonsensical that most employers fail to promote their employee benefits as part of the recruitment process. Benefits already in place within the organisation will be utilised by existing staff, and ostensibly communicated to new recruits should they sign on the dotted line, so it really is a missed opportunity not to make the most of them to attract the best possible talent.”

Lucy Pearce, advo group’s Commercial Director, who has considerable experience in building a team points out that “Whilst statistics show significantly less than 50% of employees rate benefits above their salary, creating and maintaining a bespoke and relevant employee benefit package helps to underpin and enhance a business’s culture. The culture and environment of a business in recent years has become much more of a priority for employees seeking potential new employment. If wellbeing and benefit strategies are implemented & communicated effectively together with financial reward the two are a perfect match and lead to longer term employee retention.”

Benefits as important as salary

Employers would be wise to use existing benefits to appeal to job seekers, as GRiD’s research shows how valued they are.

  • 29% of employers think that ‘benefits are as important as salary’ in helping to recruit and retain employees and 33% believe potential staff are as interested in the wider benefits as they are in the salary’.
  • This is backed up by employees themselves, with 32% saying that employee benefits are as equally important to them as salary.

Not only is this a missed opportunity in terms of recruitment but it’s also a missed opportunity to embed the value of employee benefits in the mind’s eye of staff. For benefits to be fully appreciated by a new member of staff, the conversation has to start early and the communication needs to be clear. However, if benefits are presented as an afterthought or secondary to pay, they lose some of their perceived value.

Alison Gill, who heads up the advo hr and Sagegreen HR advisory teams commented “Psychologists tell us that within human nature there will always be the basic needs of paying the bills and job security but the other recognised human needs of belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization should never be forgotten.

Although we live in a different new world, people will always aspire to more than just a job. Candidates want something they love, something they can enjoy and a working environment and culture which cares about them and their career.

So, whilst appealing to the wallet, it’s not always all about the money. Companies need to appeal to the heart and soul. Some candidates will often take lesser pay if they truly feel that not only, this the job for them but are being provided with a warm welcoming environment by a team who really care.

Alison adds “Companies may wish to consider total renumeration package. What employee benefits are offered and are they relevant. What is right to one candidate may not be right for other. Some candidates may love extra holiday whilst others may welcome gym membership or dental care. Within a diverse workforce, a flexible benefits package may be hugely attractive.

Look after the team by offering an Employee Assistance Programmes which supports not only mental health issues but also offers such things as legal, landlord / tenant or financial advice. As an employer, you care, as you are providing your employees with professional help which may be invaluable, and for which they will be truly thankful and may never forget!

Don’t forget those little inexpensive quirky benefits such fresh fruit, morning toast or Friday cakes in the office. Little touches make a true difference, become cultural and can make employees feel so valued and love working for you!”

Employees’ right to a statement of particulars on their first day

Just 38% of employers communicate employee benefits in a welcome pack, which is an increase from 31% in 2019. However, new legislation** was introduced 6 April 2020 requiring employers to inform new employees about their employment and benefits on day one or on request for existing employees, and all organisations need meet this obligation, so communicating them as part of the recruitment process is a natural progression.

Lucy Pearce added “advo’s internal recruitment approach ensures candidates are as educated on advo, its benefits, culture and working environment as advo are on the candidates background and ability to fulfil a vacancy.  Our client recruitment & benefit solutions mirror this approach and give businesses the ability to review and adapt, carefully creating strategies to suit individual business culture.”


How does your company communicate the employee benefits that you offer?

How important are the health and wellbeing employee benefits that your company offers in helping recruit and retain employees? 

In terms of choosing which company to work for, how important are employee benefits a company offers which support your financial, physical, social and mental wellbeing?


* Research undertaken during January 2020 by Opinium on behalf of GRiD amongst 500 HR decision makers and 1,165 UK employees.

** The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378)

This article is based around a press release from GRiD. You can read the GRiD press release in full here.