Looking for a hiring edge – and ways to keep current employees from leaving? Read on.
Businesses are bleeding employees at the fastest rate in years, making hiring and retention hot topics in 2023.
Efforts to reverse the trend usually center on salary, which is certainly a key factor in talent decision-making. But compensation is just one slice of the proverbial pie. Today’s workforce is focused just as squarely (if not more squarely) on employee benefits – specifically, a new class of benefits that goes well beyond standard offerings of years past. Work-from-home options, gym memberships, are other benefits once considered extra are now the baseline for many professionals who have the upper-hand in today’s competitive job market.
The common thread among these desired benefits? Quality of life. Less willing than previous generations to trade freedom and contentment for a paycheck, today’s workforce is hellbent on true work-life balance – and expects you, their employer, to help.
How should businesses respond? For one, resist the urge to dismiss these heightened expectations as a passing trend. All signs say they’re here to say, and still evolving. The onus is on employers to do what it takes to accommodate this new norm, at least to some extent.
The ten employee benefits below are a great place to start. Are they easy to implement, or initially cost-effective? Not necessarily. However, businesses whose benefits strategy includes some or all of these outside-of-the-box offerings will likely increase retention and appeal – which pays off in the long run:
- Flexible work hours. COVID made remote work the new norm, but many professionals also want flexible work – the ability organize and work their 40 hours however and whenever they want. Creating a culture of flexible work is a lift; however, resources exist to help. When executed successfully, flexible work costs your business relatively little – and can boost productivity in addition to employee satisfaction.
- Four-day work week. Part and parcel with remote work and flexible work is the four-day work week – arguably on its way to becoming the new national standard. Like flexible work, four-day work weeks are shown to boost productivity and employee happiness.
- Period leave. Yes, that. One or more paid days off while menstruating is a longstanding norm in countries including Japan and Mexico, and is gaining traction in the United States. Offered on top of standard work leave, period leave not only stands to increase productivity; it’s a great way to honor the half of the population that’s historically been professionally underserved.
- Pet insurance. Almost half of Americans own dogs, a quarter have cats, and many welcomed furry (or feathered or scaled!) family members during the pandemic. If you’re looking for a lower-cost benefit that shows employees you care about their larger livelihood, look no further than pet insurance. Sweeten the pot by offering one or more paid days off for bereavement when the pet passes.
- Mental health benefits. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that nearly 4 in 10 employers expanded or introduced mental health benefits post-COVID – indicating that this benefit, too, is becoming a mainstay. Luckily for employers, mental health benefits are hardly an all-or-nothing investment; a wide range of packages exists, offering various combinations of in-person and telehealth resources and treatments.
- Reproductive health resources. Covering everything from infertility diagnosis to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to egg freezing and surrogate services, employer-sponsored fertility benefits are highly attractive to some employees and have been shown to reduce missed work and lost productivity stemming from infertility-related issues.
- Student loan repayment. Student borrowing is still on the rise as college costs keep increasing. Talent-hungry employers are leveraging the burden, offering varying amounts of loan repayment in their quest to lure talent. Uncle Sam supports this cause: The Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law in 2020 lets employers pay off up to $5,250 in student loan repayments tax-free (The Sequoia Blog).
- Time off to volunteer. For many professionals, a mark of successful work-life balance is bandwidth to give back. More and more employers are offering time off to volunteer, and/or donating to employees’ closely-held causes. At myHR Partner, we contribute annually to the non-profit or charity of each employee’s choice – a benefit that’s been met with more enthusiasm and gratitude than we ever imagined.
- Financial wellness training and tools – In 2020, Forbes called financial wellness tools and training the “new must-have employee benefit.” Today’s shaky economy only augments the appeal of an employer who wants to see their people spending, saving, and investing in a manner likely to benefit their household in the long run.
- Unlimited PTO. This dark horse of a benefit lets employees take as many paid days as they want or need – and has become a surprise staple of modern benefits packages. Its enduring popularity should ease the minds of naysayers who worry that profits and productivity might suffer. Research should ease minds, too: A 2018 survey showed that employees with unlimited paid time off actually took fewer days than those with a fixed number.