Old values have shifted.
Employers can no longer use tried and true earnings carrots to dangle in front of prospective new hires. Each generation seemingly has different goals post pandemic.
Compensation while still very important, is running in close check with work/life balance. Erin Scruggs, VP of Talent Acquisition at LinkedIn shared that, “Greater flexibility and more work-life balance—could potentially destabilize the nature of work.”
So how can we reconcile the needs of the worker with the needs of the employer? Perhaps it is time to employ a strategy similar to that used in personalized medicine where a treatment plan is unique to the individual. Similarly, in employment, an individual’s unique circumstances and values would be the focus of the relationship with their employer.
In the workforce, a customized hiring package would most likely target compensation, flexibility and benefits as its core components. BenefitsPro.com acknowledges that employees probably don’t stay at a company because of the life insurance, but for some other reason. They say it’s a combination of things that offer bigger impact such as the overall corporate culture or a day off for something as personal as pet bereavement. If companies want to attract and retain employees, they may need to restructure personalization and passions into packages that address what workers want and expect from their employers in 2022 and going forward.
Merrill Banks, CSP, Founder of Lloyd Staffing says, “Employers need to think outside the box and be more competitive in attracting talent and then retaining these same hires. It won’t be about paying the most salary, but more about paying a fair salary and then offering more and different benefits so that the employee can live the kind of life they want to live.”
Executive Director of Administrative and HR Talent, Barbara Cohen Farber, agrees – “People in admin and HR have learned their jobs are very doable when done virtually and going into the office is no longer seen as a must for delivering a positive work performance. I absolutely know some of my candidates would trade a piece of their paycheck for the opportunity to remain remote at least 2 to 3 days per week or to work flexible hours conducive to their lives.”
In general, according to workforce experts if employers want to customize a job offer or a retention-stay package, the basic baseline for the most in-demand benefits are:
- Remote work or hybrid options
- Healthcare coverage with additions such as vision and dental
- Liberal paid time off or unlimited PTO
- Flexibility in work hours
- Paid family leave (for maternity, paternity, adoption, childcare and eldercare)
- A 4-day work week
- Student loan repayment assistance
- Fitness options and wellness services
- 401K plan, especially those with matched contributions
- Pet Insurance/Pet Friendly offices and policies
- Insurance options such as life, supplemental and short/long-term disability
We cannot discount the value employees put on health benefits. A Frac.tl survey recently showed that when choosing between a high-paying job OR a lower-paying job with quality health benefits, 88% of employees would consider the lower paying job.
An excellent and thought provoking article from SHRM.org titled, “What Employees Want – what workers seek in terms of benefits and compensation is not always the same as what employers think they want.” The author, Kathryn Tyler expresses it best when she talks about the misalignment between the two and notes that workforces are no longer “one size fits all.” If you want to attract and retain talent, companies must customize benefit and compensation packages. Concerns such as physical health, mental health and work/life balance while a common denominator between all the generations currently in the workforce, will still vary based on an individual’s career journey and stage of life.
If you are an employer and you are struggling to retain talent or are having difficulty attracting talent, it’s time for a good long hard look at what you are offering and how you present it, especially at the offer stage. Merrill Banks says he has talked with candidates who say, “I pretty much know what the salary is that I‘m likely to be offered. Tell me instead about working remote, the unlimited PTO and other key perks and then I’ll tell you if the salary is acceptable! What else will influence me beyond the paycheck?” You should always know what to lead with in order to make the opportunity as attractive as possible.
VALUE THE WHOLE PERSON
Yes, salary matters, but it is not the only piece of a compensation package that determines an acceptance. An employer that offers traditional benefits needs to think about those other unique perks that have become fundamental to employee satisfaction and engagement. If you’ve conducted a strong interview you’ll know what your prospective employee values and if you are doing stay-interviews, you’ll know what matters to the ones you already have. Is it time for you to bend your own views on what your workforce looks like and how they spend their day? Will a “our way or the highway” be a detriment to a successful staffing strategy?
Let your people and your prospective hires know they will be valued beyond their job titles and job descriptions.
Don’t be willing to just give them a job, help them live their lives.