The Secret Lives of Reward and Benefits Professionals…

Sophie Gane

31/03/2016
Categories: HR

We prodded, probed, and persuaded 160 reward and employee benefits professionals to bare all about themselves, their thoughts on the industry, and also what they eat for breakfast.  Because “it’s the most important meal of the day,” said every parent, ever.

First things first; what does it take to be an employee benefits professional?  Well, in such a crucial and flourishing industry, it will come as no surprise that they are all very… very hardworking.  Honesty and integrity are key qualities, as well a natural instinct to help other people (which is actually rarer than it sounds.)

What’s for breakfast?

Our most important discovery!  What do they eat to get ready for the day?  Cereal, porridge and toast were the top answers, with some of the more creative types opting for overnight oats (Google it), fruit, yoghurt and eggs.  Only 7% of those surveyed opt to skip breakfast, but it seems that lunch is an altogether different animal, with a whopping 54% working through their lunch breaks!

Why is everyone so busy?

Well, here are the top ten tasks which keep reward and employee benefits professionals occupied throughout the week (and through their lunch breaks):

  • Broking and regulated benefits
  • Employee communications, events and surveys
  • Payroll, pay and salary reviews
  • Employee benefits
  • Pensions and auto-enrolment
  • Data checking and analysis
  • Admin, invoices and team management
  • Employee contracts and recruitment
  • Employee enquiries
  • Reward and recognition

Working in reward and benefits can be tough, so it’s not all plain sailing.  When asked about the barriers which prevent them from delivering in their role, the biggest hurdles to jump were lack of budget, time, and people resource.  For more details on these challenges, and tips on how to overcome them, why not take a look at our full report?

What makes a successful employee benefits scheme?

Now we know what obstacles they’re up against, what do they think makes an employee benefits scheme really successful?  The overwhelming majority (82%) of our participants agreed that good communication is key to engaging with employees, which in turn makes the schemes thrive.  A good range of benefits was next up, with user-friendly technology as the third biggest contributor.  However, when budgets get cut, it turns out that communications and range of benefits are the first two aspects of a scheme to get the chop!

What do employee benefits mean to you?

Reward and benefit professionals certainly have their work cut out, so we asked, “in one sentence, how would you describe employee benefits?”  The answers we got show how important the industry really is…

“The little differences that have a huge impact for employees wherever they are in life.”
“A competitive tool and means of retention.”
“It makes the difference in showing how you care for your employees.”
“The anchors for building a bridge to employee engagement.”
“It’s extremely important to new and existing employees.”

So it seems that reward and benefits professionals do have a genuine focus on keeping their colleagues happy, keeping them engaged, and, well, keeping them.

And finally, we asked “What’s next?”

It’s hard work, but they do love what they do!  Only 2% said they were likely to leave the profession for a different one, with the majority aiming to climb the ladder within the industry.  If you’re just starting out in the industry, or if you’re well-versed and have 20 years’ experience, here are some nuggets of advice from some of our reward and benefits pros:

“Learn how to research and build a convincing business case.”
“Figure out what people really value.”
“Love what you do, do what you love and people will listen.”
“Be interested – read and understand more than just your role.”
“Give us all a pay rise.”
Just kidding about that last one.  But seriously though…

Get the full results here.

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