The face of the American workforce is changing and employee benefits packages are evolving to reflect the values and goals of businesses and the staff that make them possible. The days of attracting quality staff with health insurance, a retirement plan, and a little vacation time are coming to a close. Your staff is seeking benefits that fit their lifestyle and life stage.
Employee benefits play an important role in retaining employees. According to research by SHRM, the leading reasons employees look for jobs outside of their current company are higher compensation and better benefits.
Since the Great Recession, salaries have remained in step with inflation. With unemployment hovering under 5% for the past three years, competition for quality, qualified staff is getting steep. Business leaders are struggling to put together benefits packages that attract and retain valuable staff without breaking the bank. Employees want benefits that offer more flexibility and the ability to live a better life. At the intersection of these ideas are benefits packages that keep staff learning, healthy, and engaged.
More workers than ever before are seeking flexibility in the time and place of work. According to Gallup, 43 percent of U.S. employees work remotely all or some of the time.
Flexible working benefits are a cost-effective way to help employees balance their work and personal lives. According to a survey by SHRM, three out of five organizations (62%) allowed some type of telecommuting, and 57% offered flextime, allowing employees to choose their work hours within limits established by the employer.
A Gallup study on benefits and perks finds that 51% of employees say they would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37% would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time. Two out of five organizations cited offering more flexible work arrangements as one of the most effective recruiting strategies.
Remote work is not without its challenges for both employer and employee as early remote work pioneers IBM discovered last year. Keeping the lines of communication open is key to ensuring the success, satisfaction, and productivity of these arrangements.
Perks of Small Business
Small businesses can have a tough time competing with large businesses when it comes to insurance, paid leave, tuition reimbursement, and retirement benefits packages. When budgets are tight, small business leaders need to carefully weigh benefits they can offer employees to improve their overall wellbeing.
When creating a benefits package for your small business, offer what traditional benefits you can financially and logistically but add in a few that help shape your culture and accommodate employees’ lifestyles. Gallup suggests small business owners look at offering some low or no-cost additional benefits like allowing pets at work, recreational league sports, free snacks, and remote work.
Even if your organization is blessed with a thoughtful and complete benefits package, it won’t do much to retain quality employees if they don’t know it’s there.
In their State of the American Workplace, Gallup encourages organizations to identify and communicate their employee value proposition or EVP. An EVP encompasses the benefits and rewards that employees receive from their work with an organization. EVPs are a wonderfully effective culture communication tool. It should include all benefits, discounts, events, and learning opportunities.
When employees consider leaving an organization, they might do so to seek a higher salary but what they don’t know is their total compensation. Consider making an annual total compensation package letter for each staff member. The letter should include the employee’s salary and a complete list of the benefits the employee is taking advantage of, along with information on the ones they are not. Be sure to share the amount you spend on these benefits to give them a clear picture of their total compensation.
The Millennial Difference
Millennials are now the largest generation in the American workforce and their take on benefits differs from that of the generations that preceded them.
Gallup’s research demonstrated this generation enjoys traditional benefits, like health insurance, but is also seeking more flexible and “life-oriented” benefits such as telecommuting, tuition reimbursement, and on-site daycares.
As the some of the more recent college graduates in the workforce, Gallup reports that Millenials are enticed by professional development opportunities like tuition reimbursement, professional organization membership, and the opportunity to attend conferences to grow their skill set.
Employers should take note – Gallup’s research showed that this group is most likely to change jobs in order to get what they want.
Gallup warns that employers must practice what they preach. If your recruitment pitch includes flexibility and career development, make sure your culture and policies are ready to support those claims or your collateral with this generation will plummet.
Asking Isn’t Enough
Surveys are common, but even Gallup admits that they are not very effective. Engagement programs should be more than “check a box” surveys in order to really drive change or increase performance. To find out the needs of employees, companies should strive to find scalable ways to measure engagement.
Armed with powerful data, and a quality, focused and well-explained benefits package, you should have the tools to keep some of your high flight risk workers put.