3 Rising Benefits that Attract the Best Talent
The game is always changing for HR managers. Whether they’re adapting to adjustments in healthcare benefits, learning to navigate new recruiting tools, adapting to changing social and legal dynamics, or exploring new methods of employee development, there’s always a new trend or need to be explored.
This is certainly true when it comes to hiring and maintaining motivated, high-performing, talented employees. While the job market may still be competitive for job-seekers, the best of the best will always catch the attention of several companies at once. To prepare for this, HR leaders need to answer the same question that job seekers ask each time they send out a new resume: How can I (or we, in this case) stand out among the others in the current marketplace?
In pursuing new talent, especially in competitive industries, many companies have turned to innovative benefits packages and perks to attract the highest quality candidates – and some of what’s being offered is definitely unique, but oddly brilliant. From child care services to Google’s now infamous “nap pods”, some of the most high-performing, influential companies are doing their part to be a positive force in the lives of their employees. Meanwhile, those who haven’t been paying attention to the expectations and desires of modern workers, like the possibility for remote work, are often left missing out on the best and brightest.
Dr. Randy Frye, Dean of Business at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania and instructor for the online Master of Human Resource Management program, states that, “It is no longer just a few industries or several job categories that are feeling the pinch of a tight labor market.” Frye adds, "With the stakes being higher today than ever before, managers and organizations will need to treat employees more compassionately and provide greater flexibility for their employees while insuring a healthy personal life/work balance. They’ll need to get more creative to effectively engage and sustain a high-performing organization. "
With the spirit of creativity and employee support in mind, here are some interesting strategies to consider putting into practice at your workplace to help attract and support consistently high performers.
Flexible Work Hours and Time Off
Recently, employers have begun to question the value of the traditional “9-5” structure, allowing employees the freedom to choose when they work. Some of these companies have even taken that flexibility to another level entirely by giving their employees infinite time off that they can use at their own discretion. As a result, employee compensation and rewards don’t hinge on time spent in the office, but on metrics of performance. Not only does this give high-performers an incentive to do well, it allows them to produce stellar work on their own terms and according to their own work style. This might sound chaotic, at first, and certainly there are likely to be a small percentage employees that take advantage of such an autonomy-driven system. However, with clear enough expectations and a means of measuring performance, allowing for this kind of freedom can help companies spot the truly driven members of their staff, the ones that consistently create results. Some of the organizations using this structure have seen a substantial decrease in turnover, especially among their most talented employees.
Promoting Employee Wellness
We’ve all become well-accustomed to the current paradigm that holds employers responsible for providing access to healthcare for their employees, but what if you could do even more for to keep your staff healthy? While companies with an immense pool of available resources, like Google, might look into creating their own in-house medical center for employees to use in some of their locations, others simply work to promote a healthy environment for their workers. Wellness programs, which involve everything from bringing doctors to your workplace for checkups to providing healthy eating options in the company kitchen, can help keep employees in a better state of health. Encouraging exercise through incentive programs or company competitions can also motivate your employees to keep an eye on their habits and live a healthy lifestyle, which may prevent sick time and increase productivity.
Of course, there’s more to employee wellness than just promoting physical health. Creating a comfortable cognitive environment, one that attempts to minimize stress and support employees through personal challenges, can go a long way to maintaining a strong staff. There are several ways to do this, whether you actively refer employees to outside resources or have your own personnel assistance team that can guide employees through difficult situations in either their personal or professional life. Dedicated support like this can be phenomenal comfort to employees while also serving as a strong selling point for recruitment and retention.
Support Opportunities for Charitable and Volunteer Work
It’s not just consumers that have become more cognizant of their favorite brands’ philanthropic efforts. Millenials, or the generation that’s currently in their low-to-late twenties (i.e. currently developing and rising talent for many of the country’s major employers) are making their mark as a socially conscious generation, interested in engaging with the most pressing issues of the day through their work. In a survey compiled for their 2014 Millenial Impact Report, the Case Foundation found that a company’s commitment to addressing issues and supporting essential causes was a major factor in the decision to accept a job offer for 55% of millennials. This report, among other studies, suggests that a culture built on the principles of altruism and giving back to the community can facilitate a happy, engaged workforce.
So, what can you do to promote a culture of compassion and volunteerism in your workplace? One tactic that’s been working wonders for companies like Zimbra, a communications solutions provider, is to offer paid time for charity work, whether it’s an organizational or individual project. If the entire company or a group of volunteers engages in civic service, it provides a phenomenal platform for team-building and group cohesion. Additionally, this kind of initiative firmly associates positivity and giving with the workplace, making it easier for your team members to feel good about where they work.
In short, companies around the country are beginning to recognize the significant role they play in the lives of their employees. The most successful, innovative businesses (large and small alike) have taken to building workplace policies focused on allowing talent to thrive through flexibility and support. While this poses an entirely new set of challenges for HR professionals, it also opens the door to creative new ways to attract engaged, passionate, exciting talent and make your company a true stand-out.
Matt Starr is the Senior Academic Advisor for the online Master of Human Resource Management program at St. Francis University. Matt was elected as Plainfield, IL Tax Collector at the age of 21, making him the youngest elected official in Plainfield Township history before he went on to serve as a Trustee. Since then, he's had a passion for leadership, the human side of organizations, and the many benefits of education, all topics which he explores in his writing.