Improving employee retention and engagement are the top priorities for benefits and reward spend in 2016.

The majority of employers will refocus their benefits and reward in a bid to engage and retain staff in the year ahead according new research from Edenred, a UK provider of reward and recognition.

The findings which are published today in a new report “Employee Benefits, Reward and Recognition in 2016” reveal 63 percent of employers will change reward and benefits as a result of the competitive employment market with around 55 percent saying will make changes to their proposition to better meet employee expectations.

Employers also say they want to improve take up of benefits by improving the creativity (64 percent) and regularity of communication (61 percent) but only a minority of employers say they will use technology to improve access to benefits (39 percent) or build targeted benefits propositions for specific groups of workers (19 percent).

The research found that more than half of employers believe they fail to maximise their investment in reward and benefits in supporting the individual, team and business performance. Barely a quarter of employers say they are proud of their reward proposition and less than one in five say their organisation was innovative in the way they used reward and benefits.

“While it is good news that the majority of organisations understand the critical role benefits and reward play in recruiting and retaining the right people, it is clear that employers need to do more to build an attractive and differentiated proposition which delivers the right business outcomes. This means making better use of technology, improving choice and doing the upfront research to ensure that final proposition is really aligned to employee needs. With so few organisations taking these steps, the employers who invest the time and effort in doing this stand to gain a substantial advantage in their bid to attract the best talent,” said Andy Philpott, sales and marketing director at Edenred UK.