A great benefits package can retain key talent, but it also can attract talent. Three in five people say benefits are a determining factor in the job search, according to Glassdoor. In today’s tight labor market, companies need to utilize all tools available to attract valuable employees and compete in the war for talent. While not every company can afford every benefit, here are a few to consider:
1. Student Loans Repayment Assistance
Half of jobseekers say student loan reimbursement could sway them to accept a lower-paying job. In the war for talent, this benefit can make the difference between candidates choosing your company over another. Many employers contribute $100 per month. By using the average student loan debt and average interest and payoff rates, a $100 monthly contribution would help cut two years off the time it would take an employee to pay off the debt. Companies also can implement a financial wellness program to further help employees know how to manage their finances. In addition to reducing debt, these programs can help educate employees on asset management and saving, which, in turn, reduces stress and allows them to be far more productive at work.
2. Health and Wellness
There is a wide range of wellness programs, including programs for stress management, weight loss, diabetes management, and smoking cessation. This also includes fitness and nutrition perks, such as gym memberships and reimbursement, as well as preventive health screenings. The key is for employers to pay attention to their staff’s needs and determine which would be the most beneficial because not all are necessary and can quickly add up if employees don’t care for them.
Wellness programs can show both employees and jobseekers they are in the company’s best interest. When staff feels cared about, this often boosts morale and leads to higher productivity and further investment from employees. Additionally, healthier employees save companies money in reduced health-care costs.
3. More Vacation Time
Not every company can offer unlimited paid time off (PTO), but many are recognizing the power of adding more PTO, or some type of flex schedule. In a recent survey of 4,000 business professionals, one in four employers reported they are adding more PTO to their benefits package. More PTO often leads to increased focus, higher engagement, and lower stress levels for employees. These key components play a major factor in higher employee retention, and company growth and longevity.
Give-back initiatives have become increasingly important and sought after by jobseekers. They want to work for a socially responsible employer. Providing these opportunities will attract talent.
As such, another benefit employers should consider is VTO, time off to volunteer. Employees want to contribute to a cause but often find it hard to balance time between work and volunteering. VTO gives them the opportunity to do what they care about. When employers offer this flexibility, it builds the trust employees have in the company. Programs are different per company—some have set days off per tenure, while others have pre-approved charities or company committees that help coordinate. Find what works for you and your people.
Half of employees with retirement plans would leave if offered a better plan elsewhere, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace survey. One differentiator that helps companies’ retirement plans stay competitive is including an employer-matching contribution, which is highly valued and sought by jobseekers and employees. Additionally, a growing number of companies are offering long-term care insurance to staff, as life expectancies increase and full government coverage often falls short.
6. Vision Insurance
Ninety-five percent of employers surveyed by SHRM considered health insurance the most important benefit to most of their employees, and the type of health insurance employees seek has expanded to include voluntary benefits, such as vision and dental insurance.
Vision insurance contributes to a competitive benefits package, yet many companies don’t offer it. With three-fourths of Americans using some form of corrective lenses, it’s important for companies to consider adopting a vision plan. Vision insurance commonly covers eye exams and provides discounts for glasses or contact lenses, with some contributing toward procedures such as LASIK eye surgery.
7. Dental Insurance
Dental insurance also consistently ranks as the top benefit employees care about. Employers can choose from managed-care dental programs, direct reimbursement programs, indemnity plans, and freedom-of-choice plans. A strong dental plan typically covers a range of services, including preventive care such as regular cleanings, basic services such as fillings, and major procedures such as root canals.
8. Parental Leave
Expecting parents want time with their newborn; however, according to SHRM, only 18 percent of employers in the U.S. offer paid maternity leave, and that lowers to 12 percent for paid paternity leave.
Although the length of parental leave varies vastly from several weeks to several months, many companies are beginning to consider offering a leave program or extending an existing one. While there are some associated costs, such as covering full benefits while they’re out or hiring a temporary employee, offering this benefit can help you save bigger costs of turnover of top talent by having to hire and train someone new.
9. Identity Theft Insurance
Employers should offer protection for employees against unexpected yet increasingly common incidents of identity theft. With data breeches occurring more frequently, it’s important to safeguard personal and financial information, and provide resources to help solve cyberattacks if one were to happen. Identity theft insurance helps contribute payments or reimbursements toward costs associated with recovering an employee’s identity, which can include credit freezes and thaw costs, postage and notary fees, and costs associated with replacing driver’s licenses and passports.
With personal finances as one of the leading causes of stress, more employers are beginning to offer assistance for other unpredictable incidents, beyond identity theft. They can offer prepaid legal assistance and advice, and provide employees affordable access to legal counsel. This can help reduce the stress of having to find and pay for lawyers and attorneys. In turn, companies can decrease absenteeism, and boost employee morale and productivity.
The key is to survey your employees to see what is important to them before introducing new benefits no one will use. Realize what’s important to your top performers to retain them and attract similar talent.
Bill Gimbel is president of LaSalle Benefits, a tech-enabled insurance brokerage firm that helps small to mid-sized companies identify the right benefits packages for their employees.