Employee retention, as well as recruitment, remains a primary concern among employers in the U.S. Increasingly, savvy businesses are looking to their benefits packages as a way to attract and retain the best employees in the marketplace.
A recent Strategic Benefits Survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) included these findings:
- 56 percent of companies experience difficulty attracting highly skilled job candidates
- 32 percent highlight benefits in their recruitment efforts
- 85 percent leverage health care benefits to recruit new employees
- 62 percent feature their retirement savings/planning benefit in their employee retention initiatives
As these findings indicate, employers are making strategic use of benefits to improve their employment recruitment and retention efforts. Here are suggestions for leveraging benefits when you reach out to potential candidates (and wish to keep your star employees):
Start With a Strong Benefits Package
It can be very difficult to compete for qualified job-seekers without a strong benefits package. Generally speaking, this includes at a minimum such standard benefits as a retirement plan, and medical and dental insurance. Offering a choice of benefits can also be a critically important element. Job candidates are increasingly seen to favor cafeteria-style benefits plans, where they can make their own choices about which benefits to select.
Add Benefits and Review Annually
By adding new benefits when your business can afford them, you can set yourself apart from competitors who only offer locked-in benefits plans. It’s also a good idea to conduct an annual review of industry compensation and benefits packages so you know what’s happening in the marketplace and can adapt accordingly.
Explore Voluntary and Supplemental Options
Another option is offering voluntary and supplemental policies to your employees, such as vision care, life insurance, and catastrophic illness care plans at discounted rates. The best aspect of this approach is that employees gain a wide range of potential benefits without their employers incurring any additional expense. Typically, employees contribute to these supplemental plans through payroll deduction, with no added cost to employer.
Make Sure Everyone Knows about your Great Plans
Taking the time and effort to beef up your benefits package is of little value if job seekers and current employees don’t know about it. Don’t just share information during open enrollment periods. Communicate the value and range of your offerings throughout the year both through online job postings and the areas where employees gather in the workplace. That’s the place to feature tips and reminders about your programs (enthusiastic employee testimonials are another good marketing tool). Send news and information about benefits directly to employees’ homes, where they have the opportunity to review the materials with their families. Offer on-site or WebEx sessions to answer employee questions about benefits. Dedicate part of every company-wide meeting to news about your benefits plans.
Offering a comprehensive benefits package demonstrates an employer’s commitment to his or her workforce. Job candidates may respond favorably to this element of your culture, while current employees may feel more appreciated and therefore more deeply engaged in the business.