As the economy is showing strong signs of growth in many sectors, this will no doubt bring challenges for employers to recruit suitably experienced new employees. This means it is even more important to retain those employees you already have. This can be achieved in many ways but in our experience the two main areas are:
- Employers not only need to offer an attractive benefit package, but this has to be communicated in a manner which allows the employee to attach a monetary value
- How an employer manages those employees who are absent through ill health is vital. We have a series of initiatives to assist an employer in getting people back to work
Nowadays, benefits matter
Often, many people think that the key to attracting the right people to an organisation is by offering a high salary. And, while this is obviously something that appeals to many individuals, it is no longer the be all and end all that perhaps it once was.
Employees today are more benefits conscious than ever and to retain the very best people, a complete benefits package needs to be offered by companies. Furthermore, these packages need to go a lot further than just addressing basic needs such as holiday entitlement, pension plans and expense allowances.
In fact, one of the most attractive elements of any decent benefits package is health insurance. But insurance offerings today go far beyond individual health insurance, with income protection, critical illness cover and death in service policies now highly appealing.
However, just including such cover in a benefits package isn’t enough. Employees need to fully understand each component and put their own monetary value on it. For example, a death in service policy is often engaging because it inevitably means that the individual’s family will benefit from a tax-free lump sum should the worst happen.
Furthermore, it not only shows that an employer cares about their employees but that they care about what happens to the families of their employees. It’s therefore no surprise that employee benefits have an impact on performance, productivity, staff retention and make a significant difference to employer-employee relations.
Be prepared to manage sickness absence
Early intervention is the key to successfully managing sickness and ultimately seeing an employee make a full and speedy return to work. Employers need to understand the following factors that contribute to effectively managing sickness absence and see an employee return to work:
- Record sickness absence – it is important for companies to know who is not at work due to sickness and why. This allows for the identification of patterns and can sometimes pinpoint high-level causes. Employers can then plan for absence and benchmark performance accordingly.
- Keep in contact – A key factor during employee absence is communication. However, the right balance needs to be struck between making an employee feel too pressured because of too much contact, or out of touch and undervalued due to a lack of contact. Contact should be made by the employees direct line manager as they are the ones who have the closest relationship and the focus should always be on health and well-being.
- Return to work interview – This is a necessary conversation that should serve as a ‘welcome back’ to the individual. It is also the perfect opportunity to confirm that an employee’s sickness absence record is correct; identify any further issues that may need addressing; and discuss any relevant ‘fit notes.’
- Workplace adjustments – It may be the case that workplace adjustments are needed to enable an employee to return to work following absence. Any workplace obstacles need to be removed and/or an alternate job role looked at depending on the individual’s fit note.
- Utilise professional advice – Occupational therapists, the employee’s GP and even NHS resources should all be utilised when assisting an individual returning to work. These professionals and organisations are there to assist employers and employees alike.
- Review an individual’s return to work – Following up with an employee who has recently returned to work is another necessary step. It shows that as an employer you care about their welfare and can identify further areas that need attention. By asking the right questions you can empower an individual to influence their own return to work and significantly boost their well-being and confidence as a result.
With the right benefits package and a thorough sickness management process, employers can retain the very best people in their organisations and show that they are concerned for the welfare of their staff.
Staff turnover is an expensive and often preventable area of business. This factsheet highlights the costs of replacing an employee.
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