POSTED: October 06 2021
Optimising employee benefits to attract talent

Optimising employee benefits to attract talent

Retail and hospitality are facing what can only be described as a staffing crisis.

As the number of vacancies in the UK surged past one million for the first time since records began in 2001, demand for staff in these sectors has reached a critical point. The lack of staff has been attributed to a combination of low wages, limited progression and poor treatment from customers resulting in people leaving the sector.

With plenty of vacancies but not enough staff to fill them, how can organisations attract and compete for talent in an unsaturated sector? This is a problem that must be addressed not just in the run up to Christmas, but as we continue to navigate the the pandemic ‘hangover’.

Compelling benefits packages are powerful

Wages and perks in the hospitality and retail sector are increasing.

Prezzo has introduced a 4% pay rise for its 2,500 team members, as well as closing all stores on Boxing Day to allow staff to spend more time with family. The Italian inspired chain joins the likes of Costa Coffee, Itsu and Pret.  In retail, Aldi, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Sainsburys have taken the unprecedented move of closing on Boxing Day.

Although salary is of course, an integral part of your business’s reward package, it is neither the only nor main driver of engagement. A good benefits package can make a great deal of difference to your employee value proposition, and is vital when competing with other companies in an unsaturated labour market.

Money saving opportunities

Money saving and cashback opportunities on everyday spending is a valuable benefit that has a meaningful impact on employees. By providing your team with access to offers and discounts across high street and online shops, restaurants and cinemas, you can help make their salaries go further. Platforms like advo Perks are an ideal ‘add on’ to an employee benefits program.

This demonstrates that you understand the additional financial hurdles that many are facing at the moment, and makes a difference to their financial wellbeing. This in turn will affect their engagement and commitment to the business in a positive way.

Wellbeing support

Post pandemic, people are prioritising health and happiness above anything else. Having a comprehensive health & wellbeing solution in place will set you apart from your competitors, and demonstrate to your potential employees that your business truly values and cares for its people. Beyond that, individuals who are healthy and happy are more likely to feel committed to organisational success, and be more likely to be an advocate for your organisation.

From discounted gym memberships, mindfulness courses, Employee Assistance Programs and financial support, to Private Medical Insurance and life insurance, wellbeing support comes in all shapes and sizes. Wellbeing and in particular, support with mental health, should also be a topic of conversation in internal communications.


If there’s one thing businesses have learnt following the pandemic, it’s that rigid working patterns are becoming a thing of the past. While it isn’t easy to introduce home or hybrid working in the retail and hospitality sectors, where employees need to be physically present to do their jobs, there are other ways to offer your employees flexibility. Introducing flexitime or buying and selling holiday entitlement policies can be a great way to improve your team’s work/life balance. The right to request flexible working looks set to become law from day one of employment, so offering flexibility now will allow you to implement systems in advance – this will not only help with recruitment, but will be of benefit to employers when the flexible work proposal comes into effect.

Use reward and recognition to boost morale and build culture

A good work culture is not an employee benefit, but it is certainly a desirable quality. Establishing a system where individuals are recognised for their hard work is critical for a positive work culture and happy team. Recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of expensive rewards – even a simple ‘thank you’, when delivered in a meaningful way can have a lasting impact on morale.

Many of us spend a great deal of time at work, so the people and culture can be a huge selling point. By rewarding hard work, you’ll show prospective employees that you have a people centred culture, truly value individuals and your organisation is therefore a fantastic place to work.

Final thoughts

As Christmas edges closer, and businesses in retail and hospitality compete to fill their vacancies, the value of a compelling benefits packages will become ever clearer.

As we’ve mentioned, delivering benefits that makes a difference in both a personal and professional sense to employees is key. But, it’s also important to consider the bigger picture – does your culture and environment attract the ‘right’ people? Are you delivering an engaging employee experience?

advo can help with employee benefits packages, including employee assistance programmes, private medical insurance and other employee benefits schemes. Talk to us today.