How to win the battle for recruitment and retention?

The April 2018 Labour Market bulletin from the Office for National Statistics has once again confirmed that the number of people employed in the UK remains very high. The employed population in this country now stands at some 32.26 million.

Whilst this is undoubtedly good news for the employee and his/her family - and indeed the Treasury coffers - this very high rate of employment continues to present challenges for employers given the lack of workforce supply available. And, as we covered in this article, the impending departure of the UK from the European Union will probably serve to constrict the labour market further in the short to medium term.

So employers are now being forced to reconsider how they attract and retain employees, and one key component of this calculation is that of the company-sponsored Employee Benefits package.  Ideally employers are looking for benefits that:

  • Are relatively low cost, and require the minimum of regular administration
  • Offer recruitment and retention appeal
  • Provide a valuable benefit for the employee
  • Offer a valid return on investment to the employer
  • Are not universally offered by competitor organisations

The above is of course a tough ask – but are there any benefits out there that tick all these boxes?

One benefit that is certainly worthy of consideration would be the introduction of a Group Income Protection (GIP) scheme to protect workers and their families. These arrangements deliver a really important benefit in the continuation of a percentage of an employee’s salary in the event of a long-term absence from work.

Now the continuation of income during an enforced period of sickness absence is something that most employees would most certainly want and need, yet few employers can actively afford to underwrite such a commitment for an unknown (but often lengthy) period of time. But such costs and uncertainties can be controlled and contained through an insured GIP policy, particularly if careful consideration is given at outset to the qualifying benefits criteria.  

Yet there are other reasons why Group Income Protection policies may work for many organisations.  

For a start they are designed to require the minimum of regular administration from the employer, so will not eat into the time needed for other work duties.  

Then there are the additional features associated with GIP schemes.These vary from one insurer to another, but many now offer free-to-use “Early Intervention Services” to help limit long-term absence duration to the benefit of all parties. For more on this topic please see this item from last month.

Yet despite the evident attractions and appeal to both employer and employee, GIP is still very far from being a universally available workplace benefit. A recent report1 suggests that just 2.4 million people are currently covered by this valuable insurance, which equates to around only 7.5% of the UK working population. It therefore follows that those employers that do choose to offer this valuable benefit will gain an important recruitment edge over their competitors in the UK’s ongoing war for talent.  

For more information on Group Income Protection policies, please speak to your usual Jelf consultant or make contact with our local experts here.

Steve Hebert is Head of Benefits Strategy at Jelf


1: Swiss Re “Group Watch: 2018”