Battle for skills sees new trend in ‘life’ benefits

An international law firm has launched a new benefits package which places equal emphasis on remuneration and quality of life following a shake-up of its HR department.

The move is a departure from the legal profession’s traditional “one size fits all” packages which tend to rely on competitive remuneration to attract and retain high calibre staff.

It comes after a restructuring of CMS Cameron McKenna’s HR department, a review of reward strategy, and a six-month employee consultation process. It employs 25 HRstaff across the UK.

Director of human resources John Renz said the move reflected a view that high salaries alone do not motivate staff. He said the approach also demonstrates the close alignment of the firm’s HR and business strategies.

“There is a ferocious war for talent being fought in every industry sector but it is most competitive among professional services firms,” he said. “It is crucial that businesses listen to what their employees have to say and act on it. We did, and realised that traditional approaches were no longer enough.”

The new package includes the opportunity for staff to trade up to five days more or less holiday against salary, giving them a choice between remuneration and leisure time.

A concierge service will also be available to pick up an employee’s dry-cleaning, wait at their house for a tradesman’s visit, book theatre tickets or even help plan family occasions.

The move follows a survey showing the majority of employees see pay as only sixth on their list of priorities for achieving job satisfaction.

Eddie Hodgart, of HR consultancy Watson Wyatt Worldwide, said, “This new reward strategy demonstrates the increasing recognition that HR practitioners are winning even in traditional sectors such as the legal profession.”

By Richard Staines

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