July 24th 2015
24 Jul

5 Things The Employee Benefits World Taught Us This Week – July 24th

July 24th 2015

Here on DAM’s employee benefits blog, we take each Friday to review what’s gone on in the employee benefits world the previous week, looking at the five main employee benefit stories from the five previous days.

1. Women do not feel discriminated at work

Most women don’t think they are victimised in the workplace despite growing reports to the contrary, according to new research. The report, ‘Women at work: is it still a man’s world?’ by employee research consultancy the Great Place to Work Institute, found that a staggering 87% of women and 91% of men think there is no gender discrimination in their workplace. Marianna Roach Head of Research at Great Place to Work and author of the report explained what these findings could potentially mean for women in the workplace. The report found that contrary to the notion that women in senior roles are aware of the pay gap and are actively working to change this, in fact the more senior the position the more likely women are to agree that their pay is fair. Roach confirms, saying: “Women in general appreciate different aspects of the workplace than men. Even at a senior level, women often do not express dissatisfaction about the difference in pay between women and men but instead accept it. Women are simply not men and the world of work needs to accept this.”

2. Talent retention is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for companies

Over a half of HR leaders believe that there is a shortage of talent quality, with 84% admitting that it is harder than ever before to attract and retain high achieving employees, according to a new report. The research, conducted by Lumesse, a talent and recruitment specialist, surveyed over 840 HR specialists from across the globe, with a staggering 76% of respondents citing a shortage of talent as the biggest threat to the future of their company. According to the report, only one in ten HR leaders classify their approach to attracting and retaining talent as strategic and optimised. Three main recruitment issues were raised in areas where HR felt they lacked confidence and skills. Only 41% felt confident in identifying potential internal candidates, 40% has assurance in tackling global sourcing and a worrying 36% felt secure with employer branding to help recruitment efforts.

3. IKEA leads the way in the implementation of the living wage

Ikea has become the first national retailer in the UK to commit to paying over the living wage when it is introduced next year. The furniture chain has promised to pay all of its 9,000 UK staff a minimum of £7.85 an hour from April 2016. Gillian Drakeford, Country Manager for Ikea UK and Ireland, said: “Introducing the living wage is not only the right thing to do for our co-workers, but it also makes good business sense.

“This is a long-term investment in our people based on our values and our belief that a team with good compensation and working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers.”

During his Budget announcement earlier this month, Chancellor George Osborne revealed employers would be required to pay a living wage of £7.20 an hour from next year. Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, praised the move.

"This is a huge step for the British retail sector and we hope that many other businesses will follow the leadership IKEA is showing on the issue of basic pay. It sends out a clear marker to the sector that businesses that can, should pay the voluntary rate. It remains that for many UK employees, despite working hard, their rates of pay don’t cover the costs of living.”

4. Emotional Intelligence could be the ultimate weapon against stress at work

We all know that work-related stress is expensive. It’s also disruptive and usually inconvenient, and it can strike anyone at any time. Tackling stress and psychosocial risks is often viewed as too costly for many companies, but the reality is that it costs more to ignore it. A key part of the answer is to include emotional intelligence (EI) profiling in overall health screening, as a total package of wellness. EI is not new in HR, but it is often misunderstood or viewed as a soft skill. Conducted in the right way by skilled specialists, EI acts as a gateway to individual employee personal and interpersonal awareness. In short, it is the most effective insight into how an individual is dealing with the stresses and challenges of everyday life at work. It offers HR management a comprehensive outline to help provide staff members with strategies for tackling stress, even before it becomes a problem. It has the added value of being measurable and an excellent way to optimise individual performance. Most people do some sort of physical exercise, and personal fitness programmes are often supported and incentivised by employers (for very logical reasons). Our psychological and emotional wellbeing is no less important, and top athletes take this aspect as seriously as their physical training. So why shouldn’t we all?

5. The app that promises to make your millennials more engaged

One of the key ways to engage millennials at work, or Gen-Y as they’re often known, is by offering frequent praise and encouragement. A new app can publicly celebrate workers’ successes and help boost employee recognition.  A recent report by Ashridge Business School confirms that it is all about offering regular nuggets of praise for small but important achievements. A new app called Tap My Back could give managers a helping hand in this employee recognition process. The company, based in Portugal, is a spin-off of digital agency comOn’s Digital Idea incubator. The original aim had been to create an internal peer engagement app that would publicly celebrate different teams’ small wins and victories, but the decision was taken to sell it elsewhere after spotting its commercial potential. Guilherme Duarte, Tap My Back’s product manager, explains the rationale: “Sometimes when you’re in a fast-moving industry, there’s a lot of work, lots of clients, meetings and projects. “We felt the need to stop and find a way for people to recognise each other for the work they were doing. While saying ‘thank you’ is good, if you can do it in a public way and keep track of it, it’s even better.” After pilot testing at around 400 companies, the product, which can be downloaded as a phone app or accessed via a browser, was formally launched in November 2014.

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