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Some of us may never see a pay rise above inflation again thanks to the economy. A report issued by the CIPD says that we are experiencing the most severe fall in wages since the Second World War and the situation won’t improve until the UK economy has sustained growth.

 Pay is just one element of what motivates employees, but get the work content interesting and engaging and retention will follow. Get the pay wrong and out of kilter with skills and people will look elsewhere. New, organically growing businesses have to offer good packages to attract talent in order to grow   if it’s not there, it will become very difficult to attract and retain staff. Investing in graduates and skilled employees is expensive so the lower the turnover of staff, the better. One element of reward that SMEs can offer that is proven to be popular is profit share or stock through EMI (Enterprise Management Incentives) schemes.


Employers need to have an awareness of market  pay  and to build  pay ranges that reflect skills and competence levels  enabling  people to grow and develop. This goes hand-in-hand with good job descriptions, which are needed to ensure clarity of accountabilities and sizing of jobs to price them against the market effectively.

It will be beneficial for employers to invest in training and sharper recruitment processes to increase productivity. Some simple adjustments like this can really improve cash flow so that staff can be rewarded properly.

Without regular reviews of pay and benefits, staff will feel undervalued.  Most people hold great importance to their development, opportunities and career growth, so rewarding staff is very important to keeping staff.  Bear in mind that people these days want benefits that are going to help them. So while a gym membership or a free lunch might be a nice bonus, in today’s economy, it might be more worthwhile offering something that employees will really get value from.

Some benefits to consider are:

·         life assurance,

·         pension schemes Compulsory under auto enrollment – check your staging date

·         private health cover/dental insurance

·         income protection

·         critical illness cover

·         Share ownership schemes

·         extra holidays for long service,

·         season ticket travel loans,

·         gym membership,

·         option to buy or sell holiday,

·         flexible hours,

·         employee discount schemes,

·         free lunch or office snacks and product freebies.

People Puzzles uses market related data to determine what to pay and we will work closely with your management team to match jobs to the market. Data will be gathered, analysed and suggested adjustments made in line with the company’s pay strategy.

Detailed support can be provided to enable implementation of performance reviews in line with individual skill and competence, not just an across the board review, but something focused on those that will really make a difference.

So, if you are an SME with key skilled employees that you want to keep within your business it’s important to keep a close eye on the market.  Don’t fall into the trap of developing people within your business and then not adjusting their reward package to reflect their new market value.  If you need help in conducting this exercise Peoplepuzzles have the skills and knowledge to help you protect your most valued asset – your employees. 

Ally Maughan started People Puzzles in 2010 because early in her career she recognised that people problems were often the biggest, single factor holding a company back from growth.

Four years later, and with her hand-picked Team of experienced, people professionals, Ally has worked with more than 100 SME and mid-tier companies. Each one of them unique; each one provided with the necessary support, challenge and direction to enable their business to flourish.

Results oriented, Ally delivers her own blend of business insight with direct, practical advice firmly based on commercial realities and outcomes. Her time-management skills are legendary, leading others to want to tap into 'the Ally effect'. Her specialist knowledge includes people management, organisational structure and change management for efficient use of people and resources.

Ally gained a BSc in Human Sciences at UCL, University of London in 2001 and qualified with a Masters in HR Management at the LSE's School of Leadership in 2007. When not figuring out those 'people puzzles', and leading her HR Team, Ally is an accomplished hockey player and keen motorbike rider. As in all things, she plays to win but with grace and good manners.


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