In today’s competitive hiring market, many employers find it harder than ever to both attract and retain high-performing professionals. However, focusing on HR and offering certain perks can significantly improve your company’s success in both attracting top talent and retaining your existing employees. Ahead, guest author Anja Zojčeska highlights exactly which perks and benefits you should be offering if you want to win in the war for talent.
It's harder than ever to attract and retain talent
With the country's unemployment rate stuck to its 43-year low of 5.6%, it’s become harder than ever to find and hire quality employees in Canada. However, the record low unemployment rate is good news for candidates because it means they have greater choice when it comes to the positions they apply for—now they're the ones in a position of power.
Employers, on the other hand, are faced with a situation called the “war for talent”. The war for talent is raging across Canada and the globe. Companies are competing against one another to attract and hire top candidates. Even if a company is successful and manages to hire a top performer, there is a constant danger of their talent being poached by a competitor.
So what can you do in order to improve your chances of attracting top talent and retaining your existing employees? As it turns out, there’s a lot that you can do and it all hinges on your HR management.
Perks and benefits are key to attracting and keeping employees
If you want to win in the war for talent, you need to start rethinking the perks and benefits you offer. Yes, you read that right, you don't necessarily need to offer the highest salary on the market in order to attract and retain top talent.
According to a Glassdoor’s Survey:
Nearly four in five (79%) of employees would prefer new benefits to a pay increase.
In other words, paying more will not necessarily make your employees stay, but offering them additional perks and benefits may.
The same goes for new candidates. Many employers are surprised to have their job offers rejected when they’re offering a competitive salary. However, they rarely consider what perks and benefits they’re offering alongside that hefty salary. As Glassdoor uncovered in a recent survey:
57% of candidates report benefits and perks being among their top considerations before accepting a new job.
In short, offering certain perks and benefits can significantly improve your company’s success in both attracting top talent and retaining your existing employees.
But with this in mind, you’ll now need to consider what kind of benefits and perks your employees, both current and future, actually want.
The most wanted employee perks and benefits
So what are these elusive job perks and benefits that employees want and appreciate so much? What do they value even more than a pay raise? The answer is actually more simple than you might think—employees want better work-life balance.
The truth is that employees don’t really care that much about eating gourmet lunches prepared by a top chef or taking in-office yoga classes. These things are just “nice-to-haves.”
According to a recent Robert Half survey, the perks employees care about the most are all related to work-life balance. This survey has found that the top 3 most wanted perks among employees are:
● Flexible work schedules
● A compressed workweek
● The ability to telecommute
These findings suggest that employers need to start rethinking the 9-to-5 and offer benefits that can actually improve their employees’ work-life balance. And that means rethinking the way employers approach HR in general with tools that can accommodate a more modern work structure.
The top 3 perks and benefits to offer
Though the idea of flexible hours or telecommuting may sound like they would not fit your current work structure, modern HR software is making it easier than ever to integrate different types of work structures like flexible work hours, compressed workweeks, and telecommuting.
Perk #1: Flexible working hours
According to a paper published in the American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, flexible working hours have many benefits, both for employees and employers.
In the study, the authors found that the most significant results of flexible working hours included:
● Higher employee satisfaction
● Better employee performance
● Greater organizational commitment
● Lower employee turnover
● Reduced absenteeism
In other words, the practice of flexible working hours has the ability to increase a company’s productivity and profitability.
Perk #2: Compressed workweek
In contrast to flexible working hours, a compressed workweek is a workweek in which employees work their full week’s worth of hours (for example, 40 hours), but in fewer than five days of the week. For example, for full-time employees, a compressed workweek usually consists of four 10-hour working days. Commonly, the practice is that employees work Monday to Thursday for 10 hours a day and then have a Friday off. However, the structure can vary from company to company.
While these longer days may seem like they would hinder productivity, this is not the case. A four-day work week gives the employee an extra day each week, which, according to Duke University Human Resources, can allow the employee to be more focused during his or her scheduled work time. The state of Utah also piloted a compressed, four day workweek and found a noticeable reduction in absenteeism.
Perk #3: Telecommuting
Finally, there is the concept of telecommuting, which is the practice of working remotely outside the office. Often, telecommuting means working from home. However, telecommuting can also encompass other work locations outside the office, such as coffee shops, libraries, or dedicated co-working spaces.
A study by Stanford University conducted extensive research on telecommuting and concluded that working from home led to a 13% increase in performance. Researchers also found that employees who worked from home experienced increased work satisfaction and a decrease in job turnover—all of which are factors that contribute to better work-life-balance.
Personalization: The key to effective perks and benefits
Of course, benefits and perks are not one-size-fits-all. For instance, telecommuting may improve one employee’s work-life-balance, while another employee may find themselves more productive when working at the office. Therefore, if you want to make the most out of the perks and benefits you offer, the best option is to personalize them.
By offering personalized perks and benefits programs you can give your employees exactly what they want and what they need. Asking your employees what they want—as opposed to simply guessing or assuming—is the key to their satisfaction, which leads to easier recruitment and improved retention rates.
According to MetLife's 15th Annual Employee Benefit Trends Study:
● 74% of employees say that having benefits customized to meet their needs is important when considering taking a new job.
● 72% of employees say that having the ability to customize their benefits would increase their loyalty to their current employer.
Additionally, by asking your employees what they want, you can avoid wasting your resources on giving employees perks that they do not need. The easiest way to find out which perks and benefits your employees want is to send out a perk-specific survey. Suggest a few perks and benefits you would like to introduce and ask your employees for their thoughts. Finally, use their feedback to refine your perks and benefits program.
This may sound like a lot of work, but with the help of a Canadian HR software like Knit, you'll be more successful at recruiting the right people for your company and keeping your best employees. Introducing a few work-life balance related perks and benefits doesn’t cost a fortune, but it can greatly improve your company’s ability to attract and retain top talent.