In April 2022, Statista reported approximately 6.17 million people were unemployed and looking for work in March 2022. And yet, companies continue to struggle with attracting and retaining talented employees. The quit rate - the rate at which employees voluntarily leave their jobs—is at a 15-year high of 2.3%. Employees feel disengaged at work, are actively looking for new jobs, and know that they have more power than ever to ask for what they want from an employer.
Organizations find that they can't just rely on their average 401k package and PTO to attract and retain talent. Non-financial benefits such as flexible work arrangements, telework, talent management, and wellness programs are significant recruiting incentives. Today, employees are looking for a balanced work-life experience that reflects their priorities and core values. And employers should be willing to offer these benefits to attract higher-quality candidates.
You may be asking, what do we know about attracting and retaining employees?
As a financial wellness benefits provider, we like to think we know a thing or two. We recognize how important it is to support employees' financial wellness. And 95% of surveyed employers agree with us, according to a 2021 Workplace Benefits Report. Furthermore, 40% of workers claim they would be more productive if they didn't worry about their finances.
We make it our business to understand the current employment landscape and know what talented employees are looking for. Financial wellness benefits are a great option for attracting and retaining talent, but they're not your only option. This article will discuss the challenges businesses face in today's job market and provide tips for making your company more appealing to current and future employees.
Talent is a Limited Resource, Not a Commodity
Businesses face challenges in attracting and recruiting talent in today's job market. While business leaders have several recruiting tools at their disposal, securing talent remains very time-consuming. It requires an ongoing commitment to a requisite level of involvement. Unfortunately, most companies struggle with this due to a variety of challenges.
Today's workforce demands to be treated like the valuable resources they are and not dispensable commodities. People want an employer to value their talent and invest in their growth. Not just someone who seeks them out as a potential qualified candidate who they can hire for lower wages.
The types of professionals needed in the workforce are also changing. There's an increased demand for labor in production and warehouses. Digital skills and computer literacy are among the top transferable skills required for most jobs. But labor workers are demanding better treatment and higher pay, and older generations aren't able to adapt to the technological changes in the workplace.
There is a finite supply of talented people with skills relevant to your needs—and they know it. Given the relative scarcity of these workers, employees are less likely to feel obligated to put up with unfulfilling work conditions or lower compensation than in the past.
The bottom line? Gone are the days when workers felt lucky at just having been offered employment by any company willing to hire them! Attracting and retaining talented employees requires more care than ever before—which brings us back around full circle: business owners need managers who understand how this affects their talent strategies.
Modern Challenges in Attracting & Retaining Talent
But why is attracting and retaining talent suddenly so complicated? First, our workforce is more diverse than ever and employees have the tools to find the kind of job they want.
Employees realize they have more power in the hiring process. Employees are more aware of their rights and options for fair treatment, benefits, and pay when considering potential job offers from new employers (or current ones). They can research salaries online and leverage their social media to voice grievances. They have access to tools like LinkedIn to control who sees their resume and how they get hired. They even have platforms available that let them talk anonymously about working at specific companies so others know what kind of employer experience they can expect if hired there.
Then there's the matter of generational priorities.
On the one hand, older generations of the Baby Boomers and Generation X. This group of workers is focused on making it to retirement and is used to working without all of the bells and whistles of fringe benefits.
On the other hand, Millennials and Generation Z employees are taking over the majority of the workforce. Their life experiences have been vastly different from their predecessors. Therefore, what they want from their employers is vastly different. This group is far less motivated by pay and more focused on an overall employee experience.
One Gallup study highlights what Millennials and Gen Z are asking for:
- Purposeful work
- Professional development
- Leaders who are coaches, not bosses
- Constant communication and feedback
- Strength-based workplace culture
- Corporate social responsibility
To make hires, companies will need to revisit their employee benefits plan, find creative ways to empower their employees and strive to fulfill the needs of the changing workforce. Your business can overcome its hiring challenges and create a thriving, loyal company culture by offering modern benefits for modern employees.
So how can you turn The Great Resignation into The Great Hire for your company? We have a few ideas.
Tips for Attracting and Retaining Employees in a Competitive World
At this point, we have a better idea of the current workforce landscape and understand what the majority of our modern workforce wants from their employers. Now is the time to embrace adaptability and change your employee value proposition.
To attract and retain talented employees in a competitive world, employers need to show their team that they value them as individuals. You can do this by ensuring that your team has the resources (financial and otherwise) they need to do their jobs well and compensating your team fairly. On top of this, you should also offer opportunities for professional growth (such as mentorship programs) and perks that make sense for your company (like free food or gym memberships). A little effort goes a long way in making sure people feel appreciated at work!
Employees are looking for opportunities and a place where they feel respected and accomplished in their work. You can help foster this sense of professional fulfillment by:
- Embracing and prioritizing corporate social responsibility
- Focusing on supporting employee wellness
- Providing more ways employees can achieve a healthy work-life balance while maintaining an advancing career path
So let's break these three concepts down and talk about specific changes you can make to inspire a new wave of applicants!
Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
Social responsibility is a core component of attracting new talent and keeping existing talent engaged at work. Therefore, corporations in the 21st century are under increasing pressure to be socially responsible. As a result, a company's identity and integrity have become more critical than ever to help restore customers' trust and attract and retain talented employees.
The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey reveals insights into the growing demand for social change and corporate accountability. Top concerns for these generations include healthcare, climate change, sexual harassment, and equity and inclusion. Of course, unemployment, economic growth, and education are also top priorities. Still, we can see the shift towards social issues taking the lead.
One great example of this growing priority in action is how a company's response to COVID-19 sets a benchmark for attracting and retaining talent. Companies that didn't prioritize their employee's safety and well-being in 2020 are struggling to find individuals willing to return to the workplace and fill open positions as their business returns to normal operating levels.
So how can your workplace embrace corporate social responsibility? Here are some ideas to improve company-wide CSR while engaging employees:
- Offer paid time off for volunteering
- Match employee donations to charitable organizations
- Change operations to reduce carbon footprint
- Participate in fair trade
- Implement a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy
Workers want the opportunity to show how much they care about the global community. They also want their employers to do the same. Encouraging employees to give back makes them feel like they're more than just cogs in your machine – like they're impacting people's lives outside of the workplace. Aligning yourself with a cause will strengthen relationships with your customers and employees. They'll know their time and money is going toward something greater.
Focus on Employee Wellbeing
You've likely heard of employee engagement, an employee's emotional commitment to their organization and its goals. If a company has a high level of employee engagement, it creates a culture where people want to come to work and do their best.
Many of the world's most successful companies have begun to put their employees first in recent years. They've found that investing in their staff has increased morale, productivity, and profits.
When we talk about well-being, we're talking about that feeling of comfort that comes from being able to manage the demands of everyday life. It's about how employees feel physically, emotionally, socially, and professionally—and how their workplace supports them in achieving a healthy balance between work and life.
Employees are more likely to stay loyal if they feel like their employer cares about them as individuals rather than just another cog in your machine. So, where do you start? There are three main categories of wellness employers can consider:
- Financial Wellness
- Mental Wellness
- Physical Wellness
A company's benefits program probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when recruiting or attracting talent. Yet, it may just be one of your greatest assets. The right benefits can do a lot to attract and retain top talent. When companies aren't giving their employees everything they want in terms of benefits, they are losing out on new hires.
With the state of the economy and increasing financial stresses on individuals, many companies are turning to financial wellness programs to help boost their employees' well-being. But unfortunately, there's a correlation between employee financial stress and higher turnover. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, over half of employees have changed jobs to improve their finances. So how do you prevent a financially stressed employee from jumping ship? First, consider a financial wellness program.
We can help!
BrightUp is an emotionally intelligent financial wellness benefits provider dedicated to helping workers and their loved ones grow their net-worth and improve their self-worth.
Our program offers:
- Compassionate capital for employees experiencing barriers to borrowing
- Personalized financial education based on an employee's individual needs
- Financial coaching for those who need one-on-one financial guidance
- Financial planning tools for those ready to take back their finances
But there are so many other ways you can positively impact your employees' finances:
- Emergency savings support
- Tax filing assistance
- Tuition reimbursement
- Student loan repayment
- Childcare assistance
- Unlimited sick days
These are just a few benefits that can make or break the financial state of your current and future employees.
Most managers are aware of the positive effects of productivity, innovation, and creativity on their organizations' bottom line. But they may not realize that being sensitive to the mental well-being of employees can also increase a business's capacity to attract and retain talented staff.
Employees who have positive work experiences and feel psychologically safe at work are more likely to be engaged in their work. As a result, they have greater productivity, experience less burnout, and have higher motivation and job satisfaction levels.
A nationwide employee survey found that people want training and more easily accessible information about where to go or who to ask for mental health support. In addition, employees want a more open culture about mental health at work.
Here are some considerations for prioritizing employee mental health in the workplace:
- Provide mental health training for company leaders
- Train managers to recognize the signs of emotional distress or substance abuse
- Consider surveying employees about their stress levels and mental health
- Provide a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help off-set mental health care that isn't covered by insurance
- Establish an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Employees are more vulnerable to the negative impact of stress if they don't have strong positive relationships at work. Removing the stigma around mental health and showing employees you care can inspire loyalty and improve your company's cultural reputation.
Did you know that employee physical wellness programs can directly benefit a company's bottom line? According to research conducted by Willis Towers Watson, employers who offer an employee wellness program save money and increase productivity. The study also indicates that companies with a formal wellness program retain workers more frequently and enjoy more job stability overall. In addition, companies that include physical fitness among their offerings can attract new hires with more skills than an average worker.
Here are a few employee physical wellness benefits your company can offer:
- Incentivized health and wellness challenges
- Company-coordinated fitness classes
- Lunch and learns about nutrition and wellness
- Wellness newsletters
By providing an opportunity to achieve physical wellness in the workplace, your employees will feel like valued team members, have more energy at work, and feel less pressure to make time for themselves to be healthy outside of work.
Employers should balance focusing on employee well-being and creating an office culture that encourages efficiency. For these programs to be successful, employers need to listen to their employees' wants and needs and provide some level of autonomy in how these programs are implemented within the company. By taking proactive measures, companies will be able to increase their appeal among potential applicants and keep their current employees happy, healthy, and productive members of the team.
Other Workplace Perks to Consider
Don't worry; we're not finished yet! We've covered the importance of putting people first – whether it's the broader global community or just the people on your team. But there are other ways companies can entice talent with a clear path for growth and professional success, and better work-life balance. The three areas we'll focus on are:
- A more flexible workplace
- Prioritizing career development
- Better workplace culture
Remember the days of having a 9-5 job? When you were expected to show up at the same time and leave at the same time every day? Where your manager told you where to go, how fast to work, and generally how they wanted you to operate as an employee. Those days are gone.
The rigidity of the 9-5 in-office experience doesn't appeal to today's workforce. It's a fact: companies that provide remote work options have a 25% lower employee turnover.
Employees want to be trusted to work wherever suits them best. As a result, many employees who went remote during quarantine opt to stay home or use a hybrid approach.
In addition, employees also want to be trusted to work whenever suits them best. Therefore, roles that don't require employees to attend meetings during office hours with partners or clients should have the flexibility to complete their work when they're their best, most productive selves.
Here are a few ways your company can embrace a more flexible workplace:
- Allow remote or hybrid work
- Allow flexible working hours
- Offer unlimited paid time off
- Encourage employees to check out when on vacation
Career Development Options
Many managers are complaining of issues with a skills gap. As a result, employees are drifting or losing interest. The root of the problem is a lack of development opportunities. The majority of organizations today give their employees potential for career advancement or provide enough development opportunities for their current team.
We already discussed that Gen Z employees prioritize education, skills, and training. So if your company isn't providing a specific path for your younger employees to develop and grow professionally, they won't last long.
Here are a few ways to show your team members you care about their professional path:
- Make sure your onboarding and orientation process is valuable
- Launch a mentorship program
- Provide structured feedback throughout the year, not just for annual reviews
- Offer a stipend for continuing education, conferences, or training
- Acknowledge milestones, big and small
- Work with employees on a career mapping
LinkedIn's annual Global Talent Trends report has put the reinvention of company culture in the spotlight. Next to work-life balance (63%) and compensation and benefits (60%), 40% of employees say colleagues and culture are top priorities when picking a new job.
The report goes on to identify the top areas for companies can improve culture:
- Professional development opportunities
- Flexible work support
- Mental health and wellness
- Training managers to lead remote and hybrid teams
- Diversity and inclusion
The bottom line is that a company culture puts its employees first and recognizes them as valuable resources.
Improve Your Employee Benefits, Improve Your Employee Recruitment and Retention
Employees don't just want more from their employers; they deserve more.
As companies re-examine their benefits packages, they'll need to adapt to the modern requirements of a positive employee experience. So in review, let's take one last look at some of the best ways to attract and retain employees.
- Emphasize on diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Increase workplace flexibility
- Increase geographic area of recruitment
- Widen focus on improving employee experience
- Emphasize on diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Increase workplace flexibility
- Focus on financial wellness
- Allow employees in specific jobs to work remotely
- Provide off-cycle promotions with a pay increase
As you improve your workplace culture, BrightUp can be your company partner in prioritizing employee financial well-being. When you provide BrightUp to your employees, you give them access to a full suite of wealth-building and well-being tools.
If you're ready to embrace your responsibility to your employees' financial well-being and improve your workforce development strategy, contact a BrightUp representative on our website today. You can also call us directly at (833) 513-1302 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's launch a financial wellness program together!
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Written by Slam Media Lab