How to take care of your workforce when you can't increase pay

Kimberly Hurd
Kimberly Hurd
CRO
Collective Benefits
Worker wellbeing
Retain

Attracting and retaining flexible workers - and in turn, keeping your company books balanced - isn’t an easy job in today’s climate. 

With the cost-of-living crisis deepening as we head into winter, it’s no wonder that workers can easily have their heads turned by the most attractive packages - sometimes switching to one company before they’ve even completed training for another. 

One way to provide a duty of care to your workforce (which, as well as being the right thing to do, keeps your bottom line healthy by increasing operational efficiency) is to increase pay. 

But that simple solution forgets one thing - not all companies can afford to do so. You only need to take a look at recent headlines to know how much the cost-of-living crisis is impacting businesses as well as individuals. 

Plus, there’s evidence that increasing pay - unless your compensation is truly at the top of your sector - won’t necessarily solve a worker shortage. For example, Asda recently cancelled its trial of higher pay, which was ‘not delivering desired results.’ 

But don’t worry - research shows that workers respond well to other types of value. It turns out there’s a lot you can do to look after your workforce outside of wage increases. Let us explain 👇

The research

Benefits & protections often beat higher pay

A wealth of research points to the fact that workers really do value rewards at work very highly. So much, so that they’d take a job with benefits and protections over one with higher pay. 

Let’s take a look: 

  • 90% of workers say they’d be influenced to take a lower-paid job over a higher-paid job if the lower-paid role included benefits and protections. This stat comes from a whitepaper we recently produced, for which we surveyed 1000 workers in the platform economy. 

Check it out here: worker wants and needs in the UK platform economy.

  • According to the same survey ☝️, the top five benefits and protections workers want a platform to provide are:

Other research shows similar results, too: 

  • And this study by Hymans revealed that 64% of gig economy workers say that they would always choose a platform that positively contributes to their wellbeing – even if it meant earning less.  

What our flexible workers say about their benefits contributes to this view. Take a look:

The takeaway

There are tons of ways you can add serious value to flexible worker roles 

The concept of ‘value’ in relation to work is far from one-dimensional. Paid time off, perks such as wellbeing support and discounts, a sense of actually being valued, and social interaction with colleagues; they’re all factors that can make a huge difference in an individual’s life. 

Let’s break it down – here’s how you can add value to roles without increasing pay:

  • Ease the burden for workers with sickness and injury insurance, compassionate leave, and wellbeing support – see how care-tech platform Elder experienced a 65% increase in applications from doing this with Collective Benefits. 

Introducing benefits is often a lot cheaper than increasing pay. Interestingly, the perceived value of them is also a lot higher than the actual price - a win-win.   

Want to work out what the cheaper option is for your business? Use our calculator here 👇

  • Make sure workers can take time off by offering holiday payUber, for example, offers its workers a holiday pay entitlement of their weekly earnings multiplied by 12.07% 
  • Foster a sense of community and connection – platform economy work can feel isolating, but it doesn’t have to. Look at iFood in Brazil, for example, which created pop-up spaces where workers can get together to chat, grab a drink, and make social ties 
  • Offer ongoing training, education and learning – research from eduMe reveals that 36% of on-demand workers say that being offered ways to grow and develop on the job would make them feel more loyal to a platform

Final thoughts

Adding value without increasing pay

Evidence shows money isn’t the most important thing when it comes to looking after your flexible workers. Rewards, benefits and protections are valued extremely highly – with research showing the vast majority of workers would take a lower-paid role with perks than a higher-paid one without.

Ultimately, the offer of a better work-life balance, of being truly valued, and of being treated fairly trumps all. Now that’s something worth remembering.

October 13, 2022
Contents
Worker wellbeing
Retain

Want to stay in the loop?

Sign up for industry news & insights and be the first to know about our new releases.