Oxfam to revamp reward system to improve retention

Oxfam is revamping its pay and benefits structure, as well as enhancing
staff development to improve its retention worldwide.

Andrew Thompson, director of international HR, said the charity had decided
to make changes to its rewards structure to combat high staff turnover,
particularly outside the UK.

Turnover among international management and other specialists is as high as
60 per cent, creating significant recruitment and other associated costs.

Thompson said that in some areas, such as Africa, no member of staff has
worked for the organisation for longer than two years. One of the measures
being taken is a reduction in the use of fixed-term contracts that, in some
regions, are used to employ about three-quarters of staff.

Thompson said: "On a fixed-term contract, people don’t feel emotionally
attached to the organisation. We needed measures that would create a more
stable workforce and a greater sense of belonging."

The organisation, which typically paid 25 per cent less than the market
rate, has increased its basic pay to make it more competitive.

Thompson is sure the extra investment will pay dividends.

"We are spending far more money on the costs associated with turnover
than we will eventually spend on [increasing wages]," he said.

Oxfam is also beginning to use e-learning to improve the consistent
development of its staff, regardless of where they are based. The charity has
started to embed a performance management system as a tool to measure and
motivate employees.

"[Oxfam is] an organisation that is focused on getting the best out of
its staff in order to have as big an impact on poverty as possible,"
Thompson said.

By Quentin Reade

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