June 26th 2015
26 Jun

5 Things The Employee Benefits World Taught Us This Week – June 26th

 June 26th 2015

Each week we take the time on our employee benefits blog to spell out the 5 top employee benefits news stories of the week. We do the same this week, of course, and so here are the week’s top stories.

1.Does politeness cost your business money?

Four in five managers believe that overly polite employees are costing their organisation money, new research has shown. The survey from webexpenses found 78% of office-based managers believed that employees acting too polite could cost businesses money. as many as 22% of managers said that they have not challenged the people they manage about taking too long on their lunch break.  A further 21% said they hadn’t challenged people over coming to work late. What’s more 20% said that they hadn’t challenged a fraudulent expenses claim. Adam Reynolds, CEO of webexpenses, comments: "The findings of our research clearly show that stereotypical British politeness is having an increasingly detrimental effect on the nation’s businesses. The top reasons given for not challenging wrongdoing in the workplace were as follows:

Managers not wanting to upset anyone (20%)

Not feeling comfortable having difficult conversations with employees (20%)

Not wanting to appear rude (17%)

If you need to say something, then just say it, but in a polite and respectful way!

2. Look after the mental health of your employees for the sake of the economy!

A report by UK chief medical officer Sally Davies found 70 million working days are lost each year due to stress, depression and other mental health conditions. This costs the UK economy between £70 and £100 billion a year. A separate study by Aon Employee Benefits put mental health as one of the four main risks affecting insurance claims, along with cancer, heart problems and musculoskeletal conditions. This can be common in industries like the emergency services, where individuals will have developed coping strategies and feel unable to ask for help, says Mandy Rutter, head of resilience and trauma management services at psychological wellbeing firm Validium. “Police officers, pilots, oil platform workers and CEOs are all subject to the same distressing events as other people, whether it be divorce, illness, financial pressures, addiction, disruptive children, or bereavement,” she says. One area where HR can certainly help, is in facilitating the type of culture where it is OK for employees to speak up if they are struggling. If organisations can get that culture right, it would make it easier to make decisions based on what’s right for the individual, their colleagues and customers.

3. Companies fail to inform their staff about pensions’ reform

62% of UK employees are not aware of the Government’s recent pension laws due to a communication breakdown between staff and management.

The changes mean that it is now possible for over 55’s to access as much of their defined contributions pension scheme as they choose. A new report launched by Towers Watson found 47% of those asked agreed that this will leave pensioners vulnerable later in life. 42% said the reforms will promote irresponsible spending.

Michelle Bradshaw, Compensation and Benefits Director at Oracle explains: “I believe the pension reforms were a good move by government - they have provided people with more choice and more flexibility in retirement, to suit their individual circumstances.”

"However, with these benefits has come more responsibility and complexity for the individual to make the right choice. And, I'd argue that this is - in part - the employer's responsibility to ensure that people are aware and educated about their choices. If an employee is unable to make the right choice, or doesn't know what choices to make, then this could affect their levels of stress or anxiety about their financial future.”

The study also found that the age group most interested in saving for retirement was 18-24. Despite being saddled with University debt, the research shows that the younger generation are more open to discussing their future.

If you have employees and they don’t know about the changes in regulation, it would be in their interest as well as yours to tell them.

4. Why you need military veterans for your organisation

Almost one in 10 employers (8%) would look unfavourably on military service on a CV, and 54% were reluctant to hire veterans because of fears they may suffer from psychological ill health.  Less than half (47%) of respondents said they would value military experience, ranking it the third least valued attribute in the study. Only being sporty (43%) and being well travelled (42%) ranked below it. Stuart Tootal, chief security officer at Barclays, said that such perceptions are highly misguided, and that ex-servicemen and women have a wealth of experience that can bring value to the commercial sector. 

“From leadership skills to strategic thinking and problem solving, the strengths often displayed by veterans are exactly what the workforce needs.

“However, the results of this study clearly show that more must be done to help veterans translate these skills in a way that resonates with UK employers,” he added.

5. Do you want to keep your employees? Offer them more!

90.5% of employees would opt to stay at a company if offered training and development, according to a recent survey by CV-Library. The news comes at the start of Adult Learning Week, as businesses are put under even more pressure to ensure that employees are learning on the job. The report, which included over 2300 workers, highlighted an overwhelming sense of employee dissatisfaction, citing the happiest workers as those who are offered Continual Professional Development (CPD) by their management.  

Lee Biggins, Managing Director of CV Library, explained the importance of promoting Learning and Development opportunities, saying: “Our survey results suggest that companies could do more to encourage learning and development in the workplace.”

”Starbucks is a fantastic example of a business that recognises the importance to nurturing staff development and aiding training wherever possible. Whilst not all businesses can afford to financially support initiatives such as these, supporting staff aspirations outside of work will help to upskill employees and nurture positive morale and staff loyalty.”

A recent survey taken by Busy Bees Benefits has revealed that 31% of UK employers fail to offer formal learning programmes.


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