Total rewards schemes offer major opportunity for the public sector
10th December 2009
Research from Benenden Healthcare Society reveals that 80 per cent of public sector workers have never heard of total reward packages, despite recognition that a holistic approach to health and wellbeing could significantly improve staff retention and increase productivity.
The research, which was conducted among over 1000 public sector employees, revealed a number of variations in awareness of total reward schemes and the perceived responsibility for health and wellbeing management within organisations. Among the findings:
- Workers in the civil service appeared to be better informed about the benefits of total reward schemes, compared to local authority and NHS staff;
- The role of HR managers, rather than line managers, in health and wellbeing management, was recognised more among local authorities rather than NHS or civil service staff;
- More women than men do not understand the total reward concept;
- Twenty-seven per cent more 16-24 year olds thought that the scheme referred only to monetary rewards than respondents aged 55 and over;
- Awareness of the importance of total reward schemes to employee motivation was greater at senior management level, as was the cost of sickness absence.
Despite a relatively low level of awareness of total reward schemes, figures from the research reveal that 57 per cent of workers thought that the total reward scheme had a positive impact on employee motivation. In addition, more than half the workers, including management, agreed that a holistic approach should include private healthcare provisions as well as considerations of staff comfort and happiness within the workplace.
Amanda Ludlow, Head of Business Development at Benenden Healthcare Society, feels the opportunity to integrate health and wellbeing management at all corporate levels as a means of increasing organisational performance, is too good to miss:
The research is fascinating in that it reveals some major opportunities to drive more benefits out of existing total reward schemes. Through better communication and more effective engagement around all the benefits available to employees in existing reward packages, employers could save money.
The research has shown that employees think wellbeing has a significant impact on productivity and if employers were to put wellbeing at the core of their offering, especially in the public sector, my view is that this will encourage employees to be more engaged and to take ownership of their own health and wellbeing.
Critically, linking health and wellbeing to organisational productivity is a way of saving, rather than spending, money at a time when funding is set to be cut right across the public sector.
With estimates of absenteeism amounting to 172 million working days lost and costs to employers reaching 13 billion* the need for a total rewards scheme becomes paramount where the health and wellbeing of staff is integrated into comprehensive sickness management programmes.
Ludlow added that recognising weaknesses in current health and wellbeing management, then communicating and empowering staff with the solutions, is the recipe for a happier, healthier workforce.
Our biggest message to the public sector is, embrace this approach and you will see the benefits played back in equal measure. Moving away from a parental style of absence management, and giving staff incentives to stay happy, healthy and in control of their overall wellbeing, has been proven to benefit organisations bottom line performance.
To quote Lord King, organisational effectiveness relies on staff being happy, healthy and here!
* Source: The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) figures for 2007.