Why employee benefits will be even more important in 2020

Happy staff in workplace

No doubt the Christmas parties, bonuses and thank you gifts are out the way, which means 2020 is in sight. Is your employee benefits package prepared for the new year ahead? Are you confident what you have to offer will keep employees engaged, retain talent, and motivate teams to drive your bottom line?
If you’re nodding yes, great news.

However, the latest news from ECA International might throw a spanner in the works.

“Forecasted real terms salary increase is
£20.44 less than 2019”

The ECA International 2019 salary report shows UK employees can expect to receive just a 1.1% real salary increase in 2020, equating to an average of approximately £334.62pa. The forecasted real terms salary increase is £20.44 less than the increase Brits received in 2019.

This news is sure to put a dampener on employees hoping to increase their pay cheques, putting extra pressure on employers to make sure benefits offered help employees’ salaries go further. 

Turn the low salary increase on its head with attractive benefits

One way to spin the news into a positive, is by showing employees you’re there to support them with valuable, desirable benefits that outweigh the effects of a minimal salary increase. Putting an extra importance on your benefits will not only engage and retain your employees in 2020, but could attract you talent too.
However, when it comes to planning your employee benefits packages the burning question on every HR Director and Reward Managers lips is “What benefits do our employees want and value?”
The only way to really know what your employees want is to ask them through one-to-one conversations and company surveys. While this will give you a lot of answers, you can sometimes be left with gaps in your data.
This is when, as an employer, you need to make executive decisions about your benefits package based on employee demographics, influences and trends.
Two areas that will be ‘hot’ and mustn’t be overlooked in 2020 are financial wellbeing and personal wellbeing. 

“Financial wellbeing and personal wellbeing benefits are a must for 2020”

Wellbeing is a term we’ve all become very used to over the past few years. In the beginning the subject was talked about a lot, however not many businesses showed signs of taking action. The story looks different today as more companies are taking the subject seriously and launching schemes, structures and benefits to put wellbeing at the forefront of its employee offering.

Building a business case for wellbeing benefits is getting easier, however HR Directors are still being faced with challenges to get investment for these benefits through the Board. 

Facts to build your financial wellbeing benefits case

Looking at financial wellbeing first, there’s a lot of evidence to support why helping to look after your employees’ finances in 2020 will be critical.
We’ll start with the unknown outcome of Brexit. People are anxious about what the future will bring. Employees are looking for security blankets from their employers to make them feel confident about the year ahead.

Mintel also released its Consumers, Saving and Investing report this year which showed a third of UK consumers have less than £500 in savings. Many of your employees will no doubt fall into this percentage which means they could be worrying about their financial situation and be less focused at work.

Finally, our own research, Pulling the Benefits and Incentives Lever, shows only 8% of workers are happy with the benefits offered to them. And when asked what benefits employees would value, 77% said they wanted benefits that help them cut the cost of everyday spending.

All of these, coupled with the expectant low real salary increase, means employees will need you, the employer, more than ever to help make their salaries go further in 2020. 

Facts to build your personal wellbeing business case

The other area that is vital to include in your 2020 employees benefits package is offering support for personal wellbeing.
Canada Life’s latest research shows a high percentage of employees understand how wellbeing is important to them and their career, however only 21% believe their employer thinks the same. Almost three-quarters (73%) of employees said they think their wellbeing should be a shared responsibility by both their employer and themselves.
More and more people are becoming comfortable with discussing their personal wellbeing. Not only are we speaking out more, but we’re becoming more aware of it within our own bodies too. It’s a topic that’s being discussed often – over the coffee machine, at lunch, in meetings and outside the office. 

“Business that don’t offer personal wellbeing benefits will get left behind”

Offering benefits to support your employees’ personal wellbeing is an absolute necessity in 2020. If you, as a business, don’t offer something fast you will get left behind. Employees who can clearly see their employer is doing everything it can to bring wellbeing to the forefront of the business will value that ethos and be more engaged, motivated and happy for it.  

Financial and personal wellbeing benefits you need to know about

There are many employee benefits on offer that support your workforces’ personal and financial wellbeing. However, as the range is so vast it can become overwhelming sifting through information to make sure you make the right decision.
We (Hawk Incentives) have been developing and refining our employee benefits packages for over 20 years. We’re constantly gaining feedback and tweaking products to make sure we’re current, ahead of the game and offering employees a benefit they really value. So, to make your job easier we’ve picked out our top 4 benefits that will make your employees feel like you’re looking after them – personally and financially – in 2020. 

Boost personal wellbeing and health with 

Give your employees the opportunity to boost their health and happiness by commuting to work by bike. Many employees want to cycle to work but feel the expense of a bike is too much to consider. Cyclescheme allows your staff to buy a new bike and accessories (from any UK retailer) by spreading the cost over 12 months interest free. And, because Cyclescheme is a salary sacrifice your employees can save between 25 – 39% on their new purchase, and you can save on employer National Insurance Contributions too.

45,000 employers in the UK are currently signed up to Cyclescheme. Here are more reasons why you and your company could benefit from Cyclescheme in 2020 too:

  • Almost half of employees feel happier since they started cycling to work

  • 67% of employers said their staff who cycle to work are more productive

  • Helps your employees’ salary go further as they save between 25-39% on a  new bike

  • You, the employer, can save up to £4,000 per employee through NET benefits

  • A third of businesses have seen an increase in staff engagement since using Cyclescheme

  • Easy benefit to set up, with all the management and admin handled for you


Help your employees spread the cost of gadgets with

“Gadgets? How do they help wellbeing?” You may ask.

Well, the fact is many popular gadgets are directly linked to wellbeing such as FitBit, Apple Watch and wellbeing apps on tablets and mobile phones. Gadgets also play a big part in everyday life such as the use of mobile phones, TVs, tablets, speakers, digital watches and virtual personal assistants.

Techscheme supports your employees’ financial wellbeing as it allows your workforce to purchase a piece of tech they either need or want by spreading the cost over 12 months, interest free. Employees can also save up to 12% on their purchases which helps their salary go further.

Over half of employees (57%) said they consider Techscheme to be their most beneficial and desirable perk. Here are more reasons why Techscheme could benefit you and your company in 2020:

  • Three quarters of employees said they couldn’t afford tech products without Techscheme

  • Employees have easy access to all Currys PC World tech, instore and online

  • 60% of employees said Techscheme made them feel positive towards their employer

  • The benefit upskills your workforce’s tech knowledge as the latest tech is more accessible

  • A highly-valued benefit will increase your employee loyalty


Enable employees to earn money while shopping with

Earn money whilst doing your everyday shopping? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is true with Pure. Pure is a prepaid rebate card that enables your employees to get up to 15% (of what they spend) rebated back onto their card the next month.

Pure is a benefit that’s guaranteed to be valued by all your workforce, no matter how large or diverse, as it can be used instore and online with over 70 retailers. Retailers include Sainsburys, Waitrose, M & S, Boots, ASDA and Pizza Express to name a few.

Pure card is also free to set up and our team can help you promote the benefit to your business, making it as easy as possible for you. Here are more reasons why Pure could benefit you and your employees in 2020:

  • Pure helps your employees’ salary go further as they earn on everyday spending

  • 80% of businesses believe a rebate card is an important benefit for employees

  • Rebate earnt can be used to supplement your employees’ lifestyle, such as the weekly shop or a meal out

  • Can be used to purchase gift cards through our Voucher Store, earning your employees’ even more rebate back on their spending

  • Helps your employees’ to budget as cards can be topped up straight from their salary

  • You, the employer, can add funds onto an employee’s card as a method of reward and incentive


Help employees salary go further with access to our

Voucher Store gives employees access to over 100 gift vouchers, gift cards and eGifts at discounted rates. Whether your employees use Voucher Store to buy a new shirt for themselves, a gift for their friend, or save money on their weekly shop, the discounted gift cards will help your employees’ salary go further.

Voucher Store is incredibly simple to set up, and within days you could give your workforce access to hundreds of discounted gift vouchers. Here are more reasons why Voucher Store could benefit you and your company in 2020:

  • 77% of employees said they want a perk that cuts the cost of everyday living

  • Voucher Store is a benefit with broad appeal. Your employees can choose discounted gift vouchers from supermarkets, restaurants, department stores, travel and entertainment.

  • Voucher Store can be hosted on your company’s website, giving you a consistent brand journey.

  • ​Your employees will enjoy access to discounted gift cards from big brands such as M&S, John Lewis, ASDA and Boots to name a few.

  • Employees can also choose one of our One4All multi-retailer gift vouchers or our Choice Gift Card’s including The Restaurant Choice and Spa Choice.

  • ​It’s easy to set up. We handle the sign up, management, orders and queries.

To find out more about our employee benefits in 2020 fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch!