Last December research published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) found the UK’s staff retention rate had fallen.


In its Resource and Talent Planning 2017 survey, the CIPD found that the median rate of labour had increased to 16.5%. This continued a relatively new trend. Between 2005 and 2013 staff retention rates had actually improved, with employee turnover falling from 18% to 10%.


Since then it has increased, perhaps reflecting the tightening of the overall labour market with unemployment figures having also fallen. Indeed the CIPD found that some 82% of organisations reported that competition for top talent had increased. They also anticipated that this contest would become more hard fought.

Staff turnover has increased in recent years (Source: CIPD Resource & Talent Planning 2017)


The research, which was produced in association with recruitment experts Hays, also found that employees leaving voluntarily was the main cause of staff turnover. In short, when it comes to employee retention, employers are falling short.


How to improve employee retention


It’s interesting to note that whilst the organisations surveyed recognised the increasing challenges they faced, less than 40% took specific action to improve staff retention.


This is perhaps because more than half had no mechanism in place for calculating the cost of labour turnover. The CIPD itself notes that the cost alone of recruiting top talent – senior managers/directors – has now reached £6,000.


Of those that had taken steps to improve staff retention, half had improved their employee benefits.



It’s understandable why. A decent staff benefits package can not only give a business a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive recruitment market, it can promote loyalty – and productiveness.


So what are the most valued employee benefits?


Again, new research provides a guide. Hargreave’s Lansdown’s Workplace Benefits; the employer view report surveyed 349 UK employers. The financial services’ firm research found that 70% of respondents saw an employee assistance programme (EAP) as the most valuable health and wellbeing benefit.


It’s easy to understand why. EAPs can provide employees with access to a range of services which can assist in maintaining their physical and mental health. These include things like personal counselling, psychological health support and around-the-clock medical advice via nurse or GP led online or telephone services.


They benefit from being both independent – from the employer – and confidential. After all, who wants to raise with their boss that, say, they are suffering from depression?


They can assist employees in maintaining the work-life balance, by, for example, offering expert advice on things like housing and personal finance.


Among health related benefits, the most popular were health screening (52%), health cash plans (44%) and dental insurance (42%).


When it came to protection benefits, more than half – 54% – of respondents cited group income protection as the most valuable benefit. Critical illness insurance was favoured by 34% of those surveyed, with life insurance topping the popularity poll.


Company medical insurance a valued employee benefit?


Some 15% of employers ranked private medical insurance as the most valuable workplace benefit, second only to a staff pension. Of course here you may find some overlap in terms of the most valued employee benefits. After all more comprehensive company medical insurance schemes may include their own employee assistance programmes.


In addition wellbeing programmes are something of a staple of both individual and business health insurance policies. These can promote healthier lifestyle by offering benefits such as discounted gym memberships For example, Vitality currently offers 50% off membership of Nuffield Health or Virgin Active gyms, whilst BUPA offers monthly membership at The Gym for just £15. Alternatively, if you prefer to exercise in private, AXA PPP Healthcare provides 40% discounts on home gym equipment to its AXA healthcare members.


Can we help with employee retention strategies?


The short answer, is yes.


We offer free, independent and expert whole-of-market advice on the group risk protection, employee assistance programmes and company medical insurance policies.


As one of the UK’s leading health insurance and protection brokers, we have the ear of the leading specialist insurers and the market expertise necessary to advise on what’s best for your business.


Our free consultancy service is available to a broad range of business, from micro-SMEs through SMEs and on to international corporates. As part of that service we can evaluate the effectiveness and value of any current protection or health insurance provision you have in place. And if you don’t yet offer insurances as part of an employee retention strategy (or absence management strategy), we can advise on the first steps you may want to consider.


Our expertise and portfolio spans:

  • Company medical insurance – including international health insurance
  • Dental insurance (including NHS top ups / dental cash plans)
  • Group risk protections – group critical illness, group income protection
  • Key Man business insurance
  • Occupational Health insurance
  • Employee Assistance programmes


To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation, please call the team at our Corporate Centre of excellence on 01254 504910.

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