UK - Retail companies are increasingly using flexible benefits to differentiate themselves from competitors, new research shows.
The Mercer Human Resource Consulting 2004 pay and benefits survey, which covers 18 major UK organisations and 7000 employees, shows that a quarter of firms now operate a flexible benefits programme.
This enables employees to select from a range of benefits to fit their lifestyle, and is seen as a key tool in staff retention. Popular options include discounted meals through a subsidised restaurant - offered by 64% of companies - and product discounts for all levels of staff, offered by 86% of firms.
Bonus schemes are operated by 86pc of the companies surveyed. These are discretionary for senior employees and a combination of discretionary and profit-share based for junior staff. Almost half (43%) of companies offer a save-as-you-earn scheme.
Staff turnover was found to be “exceptionally high” in the retail sector, averaging 32% a year for sales assistants.
Mercer European principal David Wreford said it was particularly important for retail companies to ensure pay and benefit structures were regionally competitive.
He said: “The retail job market is highly transient as skills are easily transferred across organisations. More companies now realise that, to differentiate themselves from the competition, they have to offer flexible working arrangements to appeal to a wider range of recruits.”
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