It’s clear that the job conditions in the US have changed drastically throughout the last five years. We went from a client-driven market with unemployment as high as 9 percent, to a candidate-driven market with unemployment as low as 4% (and even less in some states).
One of the most popular questions I get from my clients in this candidate-driven marketplace is, “what do organizations have to do to keep people today? How do I prevent turnover of my solid employee base?” The truth is, these conversations don’t begin and end with salary anymore. Of course, salary is the primary deciding factor for whether an employee stays or goes, but given a comparable salary – why might an employee remain in their current job when recruiters come knocking? Let’s talk about benefits.
A few perks can go a long way.
While medical insurance is perhaps the most valuable benefit of all, it’s not the only one. Many companies are taking a more creative approach to their benefits packages – depending on the type of workplace culture they’re trying to promote. I’ve witnessed a number of companies that cater free lunches for all of their colleagues on a daily basis, or at least provide a plethora of healthy snacks and beverages available to everyone throughout the day. Sometimes alternative benefits such as this are more cost effective than straight cash, yet they have an extremely high perceived value. The money and time your employees will save by not having to go out for lunch (or pack a lunch at home), really make this an attractive benefit.
Does your organization have recognition benefit programs? If you want to retain your top talent- you better get one. People want to be recognized for their hard work, whether or not there’s a reward attached to that recognition. To some, recognition from their superiors is even more valuable than any monetary reward. There are many ways you can recognize top performers – ranging from high cost to low cost. Check out this blog post on gamification and how it can transform your employee recognition program.
A road map for the fast track.
Along the same lines, career-pathing is another important benefit to ambitious workers. You should have career path conversations at least every six months – not just once a year! If employees can visualize a clear path to success and career advancement, they are far more likely to remain loyal and motivated.
Never stop training.
With all the skills gaps that exist today, ongoing skills training for your employees is an investment in the future of your business. But it’s also a great benefit for your employees, keeping them engaged, challenged and motivated. If they’re learning new skills, they much less likely to look for work elsewhere.
Be flexible with paid time off.
What does your PTO plan look like for your associates? I’ve had to do a lot of coaching on this topic with our clients. With traditional plans, paid time off is accrued over time. However, this accrued plan is outdated and unattractive to most candidates. Today’s workers want flexibility and work-life balance from day one. This may include flexible work hours (7 a.m. to 4 p.m./10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) or perhaps even the six-hour work day. A lot of companies are even offering their employees the option to work from home (or telecommute) one or two days a week, which can be a tremendous time-saver for anyone with a long commute to the office!
The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to creating a valuable and enticing benefits package. One of our clients here in South Florida offers on-site dry cleaning services, a wellness center, social functions, on-site medical clinics and a day-care for working parents. Of course, that’s an exceptionally generous offering, but you can be sure that company doesn’t struggle with turnover and its employees are happy and motivated.
As employers, we have to understand that it’s no longer salary vs. benefits. To retain today’s top talent- start speaking to your associates about the benefits your company offers. For a business seeking to become or remain competitive, the importance of quality hiring and active retention can’t be overstated. Without both, your business will miss out on great employees and opportunities for growth.