Senior staff receive more benefits across the board than those lower down, according to a report from Grass Roots Employee Solutions seen exclusively by HR magazine.
While 18% of business owners claim unlimited holiday, only 1% of those in non-management roles do. Almost a quarter (23%) of C-level executives can access interest-free loans compared with just 3% of non-managerial staff; and 19% of directors enjoy a ‘birthday holiday’ but only 4% of non-managers do. Additionally, almost half (47%) of directors can attend team-building experiences, compared with just 15% of non-managers.
The figures also highlighted that a ‘gender benefits gap’ exists; with women receiving considerably fewer workplace benefits overall than men. For example, 44% of women said they did not receive wellbeing benefits such as healthcare and gym memberships, compared with 32% of men who did not. And 48% of women do not enjoy productivity benefits such as working from home or education funding, in contrast to 35% of men.
John Arnold, professor of organisation behaviour at Loughborough University, warned of the negative impact unequal benefits can have. “There’s a strong tendency for HR managers to believe that more benefits are being offered than employees think there are,” he said. “It suggests that clearer information about benefits is needed within workplaces.
“In some cases, it might be the case that some benefits are only available to more senior members of an organisation. HR managers should be aware that benefits that are applied unequally run the risk of being perceived as unfair and doing more damage than good to employee commitment,” he added.
Stephen Holt, commercial director at Grass Roots, suggested that HR professionals review their policies with these findings in mind. “HR managers understand the importance of employee benefits but are constantly being asked to deliver more with less,” he said. “However, with careful planning it’s possible to offer a greater and more appealing choice of benefits that more people will take up, without increasing budgets.”