According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers plan to hire 5.8% more college graduates in 2017. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an aging workforce with fast growth in healthcare and technology. Eleven out of 15 jobs will require post-secondary education.
What this translates to for your small business is greater competition for the best candidates for job openings. To attract those candidates, you’ll need more than an appealing title and good base compensation to offer them. You’ll also need to put together a great benefits package that meets their needs.
Benefits are important to all employees but especially important among Generation X, who are poised to enter the C-suite and senior level positions, and Millennials, for whom work-life balance is critical. To keep your current employees contended and to attract the best qualified candidates, a great benefit package is essential.
The Five “Must Have” Benefits that Attract and Retain Great Employees
The following five benefits are those that among many surveys always come out on top. These are the five “must have” benefits that small businesses should consider essential to their compensation package.
Paid Time Off: A generous paid time off policy leads the group of benefits that appeal to employees. Paid time off refers to vacation time, sick leave, and personal days. You can offer a generous entry package or a good entry package with rewards of additional time off for each year an employee remains with your company to reward loyalty. Allowing employees to group and combine their paid time off in ways that appeal to them or carry it over into subsequent years adds another positive spin on paid time off.
Health Care: Healthcare benefits are essential to just about every demographic surveyed about benefits. Medical coverage is essential. Dental and vision coverage are a few great incentives you can offer and the best thing is, it’s not even as expensive as you think. You can always add this to an already existing policy or bundle it with medical coverage. Your employees would surely appreciate having access to a Medicare dentist that can cater to their oral health. Life insurance is also a consideration for some job candidates.
Retirement Savings: Employees know they cannot count on social security to see them through their retirement years. A good 401K plan with generous matching levels and additional methods to save for retirement are very appealing. High employer matching levels for 401 K plans can also encourage loyalty among employees.
Maternity/Paternity Leave: Most employees today consider family and career as dual goals, not mutually exclusive ones. Offering maternity as well as paternity leave to new fathers help bring work-life balance into the workplace. Consider allowing employees to tack vacation and other personal time to maternity/paternity leave to extend their time with newborns.
Flextime: Flextime is a big incentive for many people. Employees caring for children or other family members love flextime arrangements. Working from home, changing hours to suit daycare and school schedules, and unpaid time off to deal with family emergencies are all great incentives that demonstrate a family-friendly workplace culture and offer work-life balance benefits that employees love.
Other Great Perks to Consider
If your company recruits in a highly competitive industry such as technology or healthcare, you may need to add additional benefits to attract the highest calibre performers. These perks, while not essential, may increase the appeal of your company in the eyes of candidates.
Unpaid leave: Many companies allow employees time off to pursue volunteer work or fulfill lifelong dreams. Hiking the Appalachian Trail, volunteering at a wildlife center in Africa, and other big dreams may require a commitment of several months. By allowing your employees to take unpaid time off and hold their jobs for them when they return, you’re creating an environment that encourages loyalty to the company and personal growth, which in turn makes for greater continuity among your workforce and happier employees.
Professional development: Professional development can take many forms including seminars, conferences, workshops, certificate programs, and accredited college courses. Offering to pay for courses related to someone’s job function encourages them to keep up to date in their field and shows that you value your employees.
Wellness programs: On-site gyms, wellness seminars, health club reimbursements and a healthy dining program all add perks to the workplace.
Too Much to Do? Try a PEO.
Adding new benefits or enhancing your existing benefits package may seem like a tall order. First, there’s the time needed to evaluate benefits and choose which ones your company can afford. Next, you must update Employee Handbooks, provide materials, answer questions…your human resources department or managers may feel overwhelmed by the changes.
Fortunately, there’s another way to add benefits without overwork. PEOs, or professional employer organizations, can provide a co-employment situation in which the PEO shares human resources responsibilities for your employees while you maintain daily managerial tasks. They can provide enhanced benefits packages, healthcare packages, insurance and more to ensure that your employees receive the best benefits possible. Because they can bundle their clients together, they can often provide more robust benefits packages at a competitive price than individual companies can offer on their own.
Good benefits attract good employees. Great benefits attract star performers, and provide an incentive for people to stay at your company longer. It can cost a great deal of money to fill a new position, so reducing turnover can reduce your overall costs. It pays to offer better benefits.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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