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Awarding Organisations – how to get the most from your workforce

Posted on 22/03/2019 by

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At the end of last year, TPP Recruitment sent out a survey to professionals currently working within Awarding Organisations asking them about their salaries, benefits and motivations for moving roles.

The results reveal several opportunities for awarding organisations to improve their staff retention and recruitment.

Survey respondents were asked which factors would most influence them to look for a new role. The top 5 responses were:

Survey respondents were also asked about which benefits they currently receive and which they would most like to receive.


The primary motivation for employees to change roles is apparently to secure a higher salary. However, for not-for-profit organisations like awarding bodies, it’s not always financially possible to offer higher salaries, or they may be restricted by banding. Fortunately, the results reveal several other ways in which organisations can keep staff motivated.

Career progression

After a salary increase, the second most common motivation for switching roles is to secure a promotion. By creating individual talent paths for each member of staff with a clear plan for progression and reviewing them regularly, awarding organisations should be able to keep their workforce more committed and motivated, boosting staff retention.

While it’s not always possible to move employees up a level of hierarchy, most members of staff are looking for increased responsibility and more challenging work, rather than a change of job title. Consider giving your team members specific projects they can lead on or giving them more autonomy and responsibility in their day to day work. By recognising their skills and experience in this way, you can keep them engaged.

Flexible working

Although flexible working is only fifth in motivations for leaving, it scores very highly in the benefits employees would most like to receive.

In the last decade, there has been a real shift in employer’s approach to flexible working and it’s now the norm rather than the exception. However, when asked in more detail about their flexible working options, 22% of respondents revealed they still don’t have the opportunity to work flexibly at all.

flexi working

There are many different options for flexible working, including working from home, working flexible hours, working compressed hours or working part-time. Employers have a whole range of options to consider and while it’s still more common for flexible working to be agreed on a case-by-case basis, true flexible working, where the hours and location is left up to the employee, is becoming more common.

For employers who are struggling to recruit, perhaps because they are based in a rural location or cannot compete on salaries, offering excellent opportunities for flexible working can be a great enticement for new employees.

While some jobs require an employee’s presence in an office, eg for access to internal systems, while others need to have core hours covered, it’s almost always possible to offer some level of flexibility.

Bonus schemes

Currently slightly over half of awarding organisation professionals get some sort of annual bonus, with slightly more receiving it on a discretionary basis.

bonus schemes

While salaries are the highest motivators for moving roles, bonus schemes are a highly sought-after benefit, which gives awarding organisations struggling to compete on salaries an opportunity. If you can’t increase the salary for an employee, offering them a challenging target-based bonus instead will keep them motivated, but the organisation will only pay out if they achieve a significant contribution to its effectiveness.

Training & development

Unusually, training and development is a relatively little-desired benefit, suggesting that it is not highly valued. This may be because the training they have received has not been tailored enough for their roles or not really relevant for them.

Helping your employees to recognise the link between training and career progression may help to address this issue. By creating individual personal development plans for your employees, you can ensure that they concentrate on those areas in which they need improvement. Once you’ve identified the skills gaps, there are many cost-effective ways in which to support your employees’ development, including free events, joint training, shadowing or mentoring.

Tailored benefits

Benefits such as private healthcare, travel subsidies or gym memberships are relatively popular, yet few AO professionals receive them. While it isn’t always possible to role out benefits such as these to all employees, organisations could consider flexible benefit schemes that can be tailored to an employee’s life stage.

The benefits that are most attractive to an entry-level member of staff may not be valuable to more senior employees. For example, younger workers may prefer cycle schemes, gym memberships and opportunities to socialise, while older employees may be more interested in childcare vouchers and extra holiday days. Allowing your members of staff to choose which benefits they receive can create a scheme that works for everyone.


TPP’s Education & Training team are dedicated specialists in recruiting highly skilled and experienced education professionals for awarding bodies and other non-profit organisations. We cover temporary, interim, contract and permanent vacancies from entry level to directors.

If your organisation would like some advice on using benefits to attract candidates, or assistance in finding the right calibre of employee, get in touch on 020 7198 6090 or