The UK economy is well on its way to recovery, and employers are relying on the commitment and engagement of their staff to capitalise on the business growth opportunities.

How will they do this? Pay increases are unlikely to be their prime incentive.

There were signs of optimism around wage rises earlier this year and the first reported increase in real pay since April 2010, with 1.3% growth in wages in the 3 months preceding January.

However, still cautious about the economic outlook - forecasters are predicting 'decent but unspectacular growth' - employers know that a return to the big pay increases of pre-recession proportions is still some way off.

This is backed up by figures from our recent Employee Rewards 360 Research (ER360), which show that only 37% of employers are planning on giving standard pay increases across the organisation in the next 12 months.

They are also mindful of an increasingly active labour market, and the fact that same first green shoots of economic recovery that have boosted business confidence has restored employee confidence in the jobs market, bringing added pressure for the HR community.

Employers and their HR teams are right to be concerned, as recent data suggests that employee turnover will accelerate in 2014, and continue to rise sharply the following year.

The prospect of 4.3 million UK workers taking flight during this period, at a potential cost of £23bn to business, is an alarming one.

There is no doubt that the issue of talent retention is moving steadily up the business agenda, presenting challenges for HR professionals who need to find creative yet cost effective ways of maintaining workforce morale and fending off the lure of greener pastures.

If increases to the salary bill are not yet a feasible option, how can HR professionals retain the talent needed to fulfil organisational growth targets and secure long term sustainability, and avoid attrition rates that take a direct hit on the company's bottom line?

For many organisations, the answer lies in their employee benefits offering, a significant part of the value they offer to their staff, which frequently goes unappreciated.

According to our ER360 research, while Finance Directors, on average estimate that the benefits packages they offer are worth 13.8% of basic pay; for HR the figure is 11.5%, employees estimate their value on average at just 6.6% of basic pay.

In the current economic climate, when retaining talent is business critical, no employer can justify such a gap between perception and reality. At the heart of it is a communications failure.

They should see the discrepancy - the equivalent of between £1,620 and £2,700 per employee - as an opportunity, and call on their HR team to help devise an effective internal communications strategy that will underpin value translation, transforming unappreciated and undervalued benefits, that include a range of support services, from pensions and financial education to health and wellbeing benefits, into something meaningful and hugely appealing for employees.

It is not an easy task, but employees who appreciate the full value of their employers' investment, even in the absence of a substantial pay rise, they will feel better off than many of their peers, and less inclined to look elsewhere.