Over the past year or two you may have heard, “it’s a job seeker’s market out there.”
This quip may not reflect the full complexities of the labor market, but HR professionals know how much truth there is in the sentiment. Record-low unemployment and record-high turnover in the U.S. are making it more difficult for employers to find quality employees and keep them for the long-term.
This reality has given job seekers a new source of bargaining power — and while this environment can be stressful when a position must be filled, it also offers employers an indispensable opportunity to reflect on how they offer value to current and prospective employees. One of the most substantial ways employers can effectively compete in the war for talent is by offering a robust benefits package.
Boosting your benefits offerings to keep and retain employees can take many forms. With HR professionals lending their personnel expertise to a strategic hiring discussion, there are plenty of opportunities to show an organization’s value to its current and prospective employees, and to meet a variety of employee needs.
Consider the following techniques as a catalyst to developing a benefits package that attracts employees and encourages them to stay with your company for the long run.
- Start the benefits conversation early. Often in the hiring process, the conversation about benefits can be left until the offer letter. Understandably, hiring managers and prospective employees alike focus interview conversations more on the day-to-day tasks of the job, but shifting the conversation to benefits early in the interview process can demonstrate that your employees are given the resources they need to stay healthy and happy. Many employers have begun boosting their benefits offerings in a bid for top talent. It’s best to be prepared with your own array of offerings to demonstrate to candidates how your benefits compare to other companies’.
- Think beyond retirement savings. Today’s workforce is facing unprecedented forces that can make it difficult to plan for the future. Saving money, for example, can be a major pain point. In an environment where 78% of Americans are “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about affording a comfortable retirement, savings programs can help build a financial foundation now. Depending on the demographics of your workforce, you’ll want to consider what makes the most sense, whether it’s a tuition assistance program, student loan benefits, or an emergency savings fund, but the opportunity is there for employers to show empathy through financial wellness offerings.
- Consider a mental health program. One in five American adults experience a mental illness —
that’s equivalent to 43.8 million people. As employers, we have the unique opportunity to lessen the degree to which the workplace conflicts with our employees’ wellbeing. Companies like Costco and 3M offer software that helps employees track their mental health and shares resources on-the-go. Sensitivity to mental health can be shown without significant monetary investment, too. Designating a quiet room for solo work, offering flexible remote work options, providing a list of nearby mental health resources — all these efforts can go a long way to build trust with your employees and demonstrate empathy for their wellbeing.
- Offer choice through voluntary benefits. Voluntary benefits are often seen as, well, voluntary, which can unfortunately dull their significance in the conversation about recruitment and retention. In fact, offering a custom suite of voluntary benefits can be a proactive way to show your employees that you understand their concerns. If your employees need flexible health care options, an HSA could be the answer. For employers whose workforce is older, critical illness insurance will support their needs. Some voluntary benefits policies, such as life insurance, can incentivize staying with a job for a long period of time, by offering lower premiums to employees who remain with the same employer.
Need help communicating your benefits packages? Download our helpful e-book that gives you a sample communications calendar for the year to help you plan and deliver the right benefits at the right time.