Earlier this month, Spinnaker hosted the last in the series of live information exchanges – focusing on the subject of employee benefits. Maritime HR Association members were invited to get together to discuss what benefits are currently in place across the industry, how these could change and the extent to which COVID has impacted the value of our employee benefits packages. The discussion centred around a few key areas:
The enforcement of stay-at-home orders has meant a number of benefits on offer haven’t been fully utilised – and are therefore perceived to be of less value to staff. These include free lunches, canteens, travel subsidies, parking, company social events and childcare vouchers (as in many locations external childcare facilities were forced to close).
Several companies felt accrued annual leave to be significant problem in their business; many did not want to enforce annual leave during a time when staff were unable to fully benefit from it – resulting in staff carrying forward a significant number of annual leave days in some instances. Several members have allowed staff to carry over a small number of days (e.g. those in excess of the statutory requirement) to be taken within a certain time frame. One HR team specifically mentioned monitoring remaining annual leave days and supporting managers to proactively identify and mitigate operational issues.
Although Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) have been standard practice for many of our members prior to the pandemic, the service has been relied on more heavily since the beginning of 2020. The increased demand for such services has in turn increased the perceived value of this type of benefit within the workforce. An increased focus on health and wellbeing over the past 18 months has seen members implementing new initiatives such as virtual yoga classes and live cookery sessions too.
While flexible working has been a hot topic this year for all our members, many are considering how this can encourage improved work life balance and support family friendly policies and diversity initiatives in the longer term. Our member companies are considering the practicalities (e.g. what equipment staff will need to have at home and what employees should provide themselves) as well as the number of days employees should be working remotely.
Do employees know what is provided?
Total Reward Statements were recognised a great way to provide individual employees with an overview of their total package – e.g. the value of their pension scheme, enhanced annual leave entitlements, health and life insurance premiums, gym membership, tax free benefits etc. The statements not only provide an overview of an employee’s total value to the business, they also help promote awareness of the non-monetary benefits on offer.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease in many parts of the world, and new working arrangements develop, members agreed it was too soon to define what benefits packages should look like in the longer-term.
One member specifically mentioned the desire to produce total reward statements, followed by a staff survey to determine which benefits employees value the most. Companies operating across multiple entities often find inconsistencies in their employee benefits packages depending on location, and one member is planning an audit to compare packages against local market data and identify gaps and areas for improvement and harmonisation. Pooling insurance providers was mentioned too, as a way to ensure consistency of cover globally while also encouraging best value for money.
Find out more
Want to know more about the Maritime HR Association and take part in future Information Exchanges? Spinnaker’s HR & Benchmarking team are here to help. Visit our benchmarking hub for more information.