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The Correlation Between Benefits and Employee Retention
Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015

In today’s new world of talent acquisition, one of the most pressing challenges companies face is that of employee retention.  With our very own iCIMS Hire Expectations Institute finding that 66 percent of people who are currently employed are open to new job opportunities with better salary and benefits, and the number of employees leaving their jobs increasing 17 percent over the past 12 months, it is imperative for companies to be conscious of the policies they currently have in place to retain top talent.  The need is clearly there for competitive overall compensation packages that will help to promote company loyalty and retention, even when attractive employment offers from other companies are on the table.  Due to improving economic conditions, the advantage has shifted from the employer to the job seeker, and organizations need to recognize the correlation between benefits and employee retention and do everything they can to hold on to their top performers. 

According to HR benefits platform provider Namely, employee retention and engagement remain the two most pressing issues in HR today, with approximately 58 percent of millennials expecting to leave their current job in three years or less.  Given these figures and the high cost and business disruption involved in replacing an employee, many companies are starting to recognize that there is more to retaining employees these days than just offering a great salary, and the numbers that are out there prove it.  A recent survey by TechnologyAdvice found that 56 percent of employees said perks were very or moderately important when evaluating a job, and 56 percent of employees say they would trade a salary increase for certain on-the-job perks.  Workers want a well-developed compensation package that goes beyond the paycheck, helping them to effectively balance their hectic work-life schedules while feeling rewarded and respected by their employer for their contributions to the business.  Offerings such as flexible schedules, catered lunches, work-from-home days, employee wellness programs, and a greater number of paid company holidays are increasingly coming into play as a way to ensure that employees remain happy and productive, find a good work-life balance, and ultimately stay with the organization for a longer period of time. 

Furthermore, total healthcare compensation as well as retirement savings plans are also quickly becoming viewed as standard, and many will not consider applying to a company or staying for the long-term without it.   Data from professional services company Towers Watson finds that over half of those surveyed state healthcare and retirement benefits are an important reason to stay with an employer, with the survey also finding that attraction and retention value is reduced when organizations reduce 401(k) matching contributions.  If your company is not doing everything they can to offer a competitive healthcare benefits and retirement savings plan, you could very well be sabotaging your own success by forcing your top employees to look for better opportunities elsewhere.  In addition, given the fact that employers receive tax benefits for their employee 401(k) contributions, having these programs in place offer tangible benefits for the business, as well. 

One of the best ways to tackle this issue is by opening up the lines of communication at your organization and asking your employees what they value the most and what it will take to make them stay at your company.  Dubbed “stay interviews,” these meetings should be conducted annually, where employees can offer insight on what is important to them, what is working and what is not, and specific areas where the company can improve their offerings to employees.  By conducting these informative meetings on a regular basis, employees can feel that their input is valued and appreciated, and organizations can gain valuable insight into the ever-changing needs of their employees, who are their most valuable business asset. 

Dealing with employee retention is never easy, but by realizing the need to develop creative benefits offerings for your employees aside from providing a competitive salary, as well as valuing their input and suggestions, you will be well on your way to increasing retention, creating a more positive company culture, and fostering greater employee engagement and productivity, ultimately leading to better business results in the process.  A good piece of advice regarding this comes to us from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who said, “If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.”