For many Americans, professional success has long been rooted in committing to one employer for years, if not for an entire career.
In turn, that employer would provide security and increasingly attractive benefits over time. To say that this structure is no longer in place would come as no surprise to HR professionals and workers alike. In 2018, 30 percent of employers saw turnover for full-time employees increase to 15 percent or more – twice the anticipated rate. Most of these new job seekers aren’t simply acting on a whim, with 19 percent reporting compensation as the top factor for job hopping.
And yet for employers, increasing compensation regularly to stay on top of this trend just simply isn’t in the budget. Additionally, many employers structure their benefits programs without accounting for this degree of turnover, leaving them to face tough questions on how to retain employees and control costs. For employers in this position, benefits programs can offer an efficient way to show value to potential employees, as well as existing ones.
There are a few themes that appear repeatedly as we observe the growing microtrend of compensation-influenced job-hopping. Keeping these in mind while strategizing for retention can help refine your benefits strategy and provide the workplace empathy needed to attract employees and keep them – for the long term.
- Comprehensive data is a must-have. Glancing at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s easy to miss subtle changes in the modern job market. After all, the average tenure of workers was 4.2 years in January 2018, unchanged from the median in January 2016, and not much different than in the mid-1990s. However, if you dig a layer deeper into the data, it reveals that the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.1 years) is more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 (2.8 years). This disparity only highlights the importance of offering the right benefits at the right time in an employees’ career. Armed with solid data, HR professionals can better advocate for benefits programs that appeal to their workplace demographics. For example, offering student loan assistance to Millennials or consumer account benefits that can help shoulder healthcare costs for retirement.
- Messaging matters. The struggle to keep good employees can be magnified when an organization is already offering the best benefits at their disposal but not meeting their retention goals. Often, this disconnect is a result of miscommunication. In a recent survey, about one-third of employees said they either know nothing about their healthcare benefits or don't fully understand their coverage, and 62 percent said their employer does not act as a resource for healthcare-related questions. Instead of restructuring an entire benefits program, a targeted, year-round communication campaign can make all the difference. Remember to use different communication techniques to reach all of your employees.
- Professional development is in demand. Despite the economic incentive that drives individuals to seek new jobs, pay isn’t the only factor behind this trend. There are still many signs that employees are eager to find fulfilling work that they can commit to for the long term. In fact, 86 percent of Millennials say that career training and development offerings would keep them from leaving their current position. This demand among the largest generation in the workforce is not aligned with employers’ ability, however, with 47 percent of employers feeling very or extremely challenged by providing professional development opportunities. Finding ways to close this gap can make your organization more attractive in the job market and ensure that your investment in employees will pay dividends in the long term.
Interested in learning more about how we can help you communicate your benefits for better retention rates?