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Winning the war for talent with benefits

As the world continues to change, employers depend on building strong teams that can flourish irrespective of the circumstances. But at the same time, attracting and retaining staff with the right skills is becoming increasingly challenging.

Over the past two years, HR teams have been forced to focus on operational realities. Delivering services remotely and managing new ways of working have proved all-consuming. But in 2022, priorities have to evolve. According to a recent survey, “employee retention”, “engagement” and “talent recruitment” are destined to be among

the top challenges of the year. 

In what some are calling “the war for talent”, people with the right skills to drive firms forward are becoming ever scarcer. And the most talented team members could be planning a departure.

This guide shows how the right benefits programme can help both retain and attract the best staff. It demonstrates that implementing a flexible and responsive programme requires access to the best technology.

The challenges with retaining the best staff

In a term dubbed “the great resignation” a staggering 60% of people are considering quitting their job in 2022. Among the reasons for this are:

  • Pent-up ambition
    During the height of the pandemic, security was the watchword. Many who had been pondering a move decided to stay put. But now that society is beginning to “live with the pandemic”, career moves are back on the table. In some sectors, employees with the right skills can command higher salaries than before. Many will move to secure them.
  • Time for a (career) change
    Major events cause people to rethink their future. According to some studies, as many as 10% of workers are planning to change career altogether.
  • Disconnect from company culture
    For some, remote working has created a sense of distance from the company culture, diminishing ties of loyalty.
  • Balance and burnout
    Review website Glassdoor reports that employee reviews that mention “burnout” increased by 128% between May-October 2021. For some workers, a new start could be a welcome opportunity to reassert work/life balance.
  • Career development
    The desire to progress in their job consistently emerges as one of the top reasons that people leave their employer. The fact that many deemed their careers “on hold” for much of 2020 and 2021 could be creating a new sense of urgency.

Recruitment challenges

Some degree of staff turnover can be beneficial. It enables employers to attract fresh thinking and energy. But what happens when employers can’t find people with the right skills to fill the vacancies?

At the end of 2021, the UK had a record 1,172,000 job vacancies. Would-be workers

with the appropriate attributes and qualifications simply aren’t applying.

Employers and analysts fear that the right skills are not in sufficient supply in the jobs market. The World Economic Forum predict that half the workforce will require reskilling by 2025. This demand has almost certainly been hastened by the pandemic.

To attract those with the right skills, organisations need to make their entire employee offer as enticing as possible. Some 78% of workers agree that the benefits they will receive influence their decisions over who to work for. 

How the right benefits programme can help

An employer’s benefits programme is a crucial component of the employee experience. It can boost engagement and loyalty among staff. It can help organisations build an offer that will attract the best talent.

The right employee benefit programme must be:

  1. Diverse
    Employees have different needs and interests. They expect their employer to recognise that they are an individual and to access benefits and rewards that are relevant to them.
  1. Agile
    People’s needs change. The last two years have shown how quickly priorities can evolve. A benefits package needs to move with them. And quickly.
  1. Accessible
    Employees want the experience of obtaining their rewards to be easy, even enjoyable. They are used to interacting with accessible consumer technology. They expect the same ease from the tools they use at work.
  1. Relevant
    Human beings like their achievements to be recognised. An impactful benefit strategy needs to not just deliver a standard “package” but be able to recognise an individual’s specific achievements. Many people also expect their loyalty to be rewarded and to acquire new benefits as they remain with the company.
  1. Wellbeing orientated
    The pandemic has raised people’s expectations about what their employers should do for their welfare. The right, tailored benefits give leaders a chance to show they understand and care about the pressures in their team members’ lives.

Building the right benefit programme with Zest

Employers can’t build a benefit programme that is tailored and responsive to their staff’s needs without the technology that helps them to move quickly. Zest is that platform.

We help HR teams build the best benefit programme by:

  • Providing a quick and simple set up
    However complicated the benefits scheme, Zest can have it up and running in as little as two weeks.
  • Making benefits easy to update
    Zest’s Benefit Builder enables configuration in a matter of minutes, not days. Because they can be updated at any time quickly and easily, not everything that an employer is likely to need has to be configured ahead of going live.
  • Removing the pain of admin
    Automate the benefit selections. Generate provider reports at the touch of a button. Schedule all reporting needs to ensure reports are delivered to the relevant people, whenever they are required. Seamlessly connect it to all other existing systems.
  • Lowering implementation fees
    Some 60% of organisations say that cost is their biggest barrier to implementing employee benefits technology. With Zest, less set-up time means less cost.
  • Being provider agnostic
    Zest can support all benefits, benefit types and benefit selection options, including any time benefits
  • Delivering higher levels of employee engagement
    On average 89% of employees engage with Zest’s easy-to-use platform, driving overall investment return as well as helping demonstrate the value of compensation packages and contributing to employee retention.

This makes it easier for employers to:

  • Communicate total reward
    Remuneration may not be the only reason that people look for a new job, but it’s evidently a big factor. The Zest Total Reward Statement (TRS) graphically demonstrates to employees the value of their nonsalary package. It makes the total package from their employer more attractive and competitive. Because of an employer’s buying power, flexible benefits typically cost less than they would for the employee to purchase them directly. It helps the employer offer a competitive remuneration package and communicate its value to staff.
  • Support wellbeing
    Whether offering a bike-to-work scheme, gym membership, financial support or an Employee Assistance Programme, Zest’s Benefit Centre will support, promote and allow employees to select the benefits that best suit their well-being needs.
  • Adapt and improve their programmes
    Using Zest’s Insight Centre, HR can see which benefits are the most popular. They can then gauge the effectiveness of their strategy and make improvements where necessary.
  • Recognise achievement
    Being praised and recognised can improve people’s self-esteem and well-being. Through the Zest Recognition Centre, managers and colleagues can show appreciation for one another and celebrate employee milestones.


The best employees could be pondering a move. As the UK faces a skills shortage, those with the right abilities are in high demand and short supply. Employers are struggling to fill vacancies.

The right benefits programme builds the employee experience. It helps team members feel recognised and valued. It increases their loyalty. Perfecting the benefit offer can help attract the right staff.

A responsive and agile benefit programme must be underpinned by the technology that makes it possible to move quickly. Zest makes it easy to track which benefits are popular, adapt them quickly and tailor the offer to individuals. With Zest, employers can build a winning team and win the war for talent.

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