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David Pinner Employee Benefits Consultant

Johnson Fleming (an NFP Company)

When it comes to recession, employee retention plays a big part in minimising losses for your business. When the market is unstable, people tend to feel financially stressed and unsafe, and are therefore more likely to jump ship. With recruitment having been so hard in the post-Covid period, losing key people during challenging times may place a real strain on your business.

The recruitment, training, and onboarding costs related to hiring a new employee will stretch an already tightened budget, on top of the fact that a high-performing, knowledgeable, talented person has just walked away from your business.

It is tempting to consider cutting back on employee benefits spend during lean times, but if that means you struggle to retain and recruit the talent your business needs, it can be a costly mistake.

If you can’t avoid streamlining your benefits spend, it is possible to provide an attractive package of employee benefits without blowing your budget. Here are our suggestions for some cost-effective benefits your people will love:


1. ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme

Enables employers to lease a pushbike, adapted bike or e-bike to an employee (with the option to eventually purchase), and reduce tax and NI payments for both employee and employer via salary sacrifice.


2. Electric car scheme

Basically the same as the Cycle to Work scheme but for ultra-low emission cars. Although company cars have lost their appeal due to the benefit-in-kind tax, ultra-low emission cars make a really attractive salary sacrifice benefit.


3. Shopping discount portals

Very popular with employees, these discounts can really add up and be hugely valuable for your people, and if you host them on your benefits platform they can encourage uptake of your other benefits too.


4. Holiday trading scheme

Helps employees achieve a better work/life balance and reduces employer salary and NI costs at the same time.


5. Employee assistance programmes (EAPs)

Comparatively inexpensive to implement, an EAP provides your people with access to a confidential advice helpline, which typically includes counselling, financial, debt, legal, and childcare information and physical and mental health, services and support.

Increased leave entitlement

A useful retention tool, increasing annual leave entitlement for all, or in line with length of service, encourages your people to stay with you and shows you appreciate the need for work/life balance.


6. Voluntary benefits

Voluntary benefits allow employees to buy discounted products or services, such as life insurance, critical illness, legal protection, and family income protection, through their employer out of their own taxable pay or via a salary sacrifice arrangement.


7. Don’t forget that benefits engagement is crucial

If you’re not communicating with your people and showing them how valuable your employee benefits and supportive workplace culture are, you’re missing a prime opportunity to enhance your employee value proposition (EVP).

Ensuring that your benefits are appreciated by your people plays a crucial role in helping you to attract and retain talent. That’s why it’s so vital to have a robust benefits engagement strategy that will help your people understand their benefits, and link them to feeling valued. That perceived value will affect what they say about your business (both externally and internally), and how potential new talent will view you as an employer.

Executed well, your benefits engagement strategy can make a huge difference to talent retention in your business. Easy access to a great suite of benefits, an employer who takes the time to explain them, and to personalise benefits communication to each individual person’s needs, means that your people feel looked after, supported and valued.


How can we help

To find out more about how to support your people, and your business, through the current uncertain times, download Johnson Fleming’s new guide, ‘Innovative ways to elevate your employee benefits and HR strategies for 2023’.

Get the guide