In an effort to secure employee loyalty, benefits are increasingly featuring in the overall remuneration package. The annual Chartered Management Institute (CMI) salary survey showed that in June 1974, private medical insurance (47 per cent) and share option schemes (22 per cent) were not widespread.
However, the number of organisations now providing similar incentives has increased to 70 per cent (medical insurance) and 50 per cent (share options), with other commonly offered benefits being a company pension scheme (97 per cent) and mobile phones (80 per cent). Thirty years ago, help for working parents was almost non-existent, but one in five employers now offer some form of provision for childcare.
Yet despite the overall improvement in benefit offerings, the number of HR executives handing in their notice is steadily increasing. Currently, it lies at just above 6 per cent for HR directors and managers, compared to 2 per cent in 1994. Resignations are highest among professionals in business service functions (8.6 per cent), but HR is a very close second.
The level is particularly worrying compared to other sectors – most notably manufacturing, where only 1.5 per cent of labour turnover is accounted for by voluntary resignation.
Part of this could be because movement in earnings for the HR industry is stuttering. The survey of around 22,000 people shows that combined earnings for HR managers rose by a mere 0.7 per cent, from £43,263 to £43,571 over the past 12 months. That compares to a national increase of 5.2 per cent.
So when salaries are not rising comparatively, the notion that resignation rates are increasing may not be that startling after all.
Indeed, the increase in resignations is a major concern. If those who are the guardians of organisational and personal development are resigning, it will impact on the future strategic development of organisations in the UK.
So there is a growing need to develop benefits packages to suit a range of lifestyles, as HR managers are clearly focusing on the value of their remuneration package as a whole before deciding whether to change jobs.
Part of the problem that needs tackling is motivation. Another survey conducted by the CMI, in association with recruitment consultancy Adecco, questioned 1,500 managers and found that employers are failing to understand the needs of their most important assets – their people.
The report shows that the increasing volume of work has adverse effects on employee energy levels. Around a third admit to having no energy on weekday evenings because of work and a quarter of people admit to using the weekend solely to recover from the working week.
The implications of these work patterns are clearly reflected in the fact that almost 70 per cent of those working more than 14 hours per week over contract admitted that as a result they had missed social and family commitments.
The research shows that the most successful organisations are those that listen to and empower their people by being responsive, communicating values clearly and creating a positive culture of opportunity. These are the ones that will ensure their people are proactive, productive and energised.