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Improving employee engagement is the biggest HR challenge for businesses, survey finds

Retaining talent stands at 52 per cent and budgetary constraints 50 per cent. When it comes to implementing legislative and regulatory changes, 39 per cent of respondents see this as an issue. And just over one third (35 per cent) believe recruitment of staff is a challenge. Training and development gained just 25 per cent and developing reward/benefits packages 17 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, Mark Bingham, senior partner at Secondsight, said, "It is interesting to see that companies believe employee engagement is their biggest issue for 2014. We are firm advocates of employee engagement and the communication of employee benefits. We know that talking with employees and helping them to truly understand their benefits leads to higher engagement and appreciation.

"Given the onset of auto-enrolment, I was surprised to see that implementing legislative changes is less of a challenge to businesses. The survey revealed that 60 per cent are yet to enrol their staff into a qualifying company pension and meet their automatic enrolment obligations."

When respondents were asked what they planned to change in the coming 12-month period, over three quarters (77 per cent) will be working on their salary review process. 43 per cent are looking to increase awareness of their benefits package and 40 per cent plan to review their benefit providers.

Mark Bingham added, "The HR backdrop remains tough - for the time being - and activities are very much centred around making improvements, changing perceptions and improving employee engagement.

"Interestingly, there are twice as many organisations looking to increase budgets rather than cutting them, but the vast majority are - seemingly - working on similar budgets and trying to get the very best from them.

"One finding I was concerned to read was the fact that very few companies (14 per cent), provide any form of financial education to their staff."

Additional survey findings included:

* The large majority of companies represented, 94 per cent, offer employees a pension, private medical insurance (80 per cent) and death in service benefit (76 per cent).

* Companies will mostly focus on making changes to salary reviews (77 per cent).

* 63 per cent of respondents will use their existing pensions provider to help implement automatic enrolment. 


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