Cast your minds back to March 2020, when the start of the pandemic resulted in job losses in their millions around the world; restaurants and bars ceased trading, retail shops were closed, and plans were put on hold for almost every commercial business around the world. The future looked bleak in more ways than one.
However, once the dust settled, and we got used to this new way of life, the economic world bounced back in many sectors, in a way no one could have imagined.
Not only were industries, such as tech, marketing, and finance booming, but they found themselves short of resource. As such, as we entered 2021, employees were in the driving seat. And this kickstarted what we now call the ‘Great Resignation‘ – a historically high churn of employees.
A recent study has suggested that employee turnover accounts for $1 trillion in costs for American businesses. This is a huge figure and individually works out at between one and a half to two times that employee’s yearly compensation package. A big hit for any business, this increased employee turnover is wreaking havoc for smaller and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the turnover to cover these rising costs.
Therefore, it’s important that employers do everything they can to help retain staff during this turbulent time. And one of the best ways to do this is to think about your benefits package as whole.
When discussing and promoting benefits, it’s important that employers don’t list legal requirements as a benefit, such as standard holiday allowances and pension contributions. Instead, ensure that the benefits offered are real and tangible that employees really value.
Paychex and Future Workplace commissioned a report in 2021 that highlighted what employees are looking for from their new role. The benefits provided a snapshot of how employees feel about the working world – and what they expect.
From financial wellbeing to mental health and career development, the report spans the full spectrum and provides employees with the tools to ensure their staff are happy and supported.
The five key levers of employee wellbeing found in the report are:
- Mental health
And by using these to inform decisions, employers will be able to create packages that are meaningful to employees.
A couple of years ago, listing salaries as ‘Competitive’ or ‘DOE’ was the norm. And only when employees applied for roles where they offered up a salary range.
Although this is still common, companies are realizing that this isn’t enough, and they must publish a salary range on job ads in order to attract the right talent. This also helps with retaining employees, by creating a more open and honest salary structure for everyone to see.
Another financial aspect to think about is pension plans, as they are becoming increasingly more important to us as we become an aging population. By offering a solid pension plan that pays a competitive percentage into a scheme for them when they retire, employers show they really care about their staff and take their future seriously.
Mental health wellbeing is one of, if not the, most important on the list. Mental health wellbeing isn’t as black and white as financial, for instance, as numerous factors affect mental health.
As such, the whole package offered needs to be taken into consideration. However, for mental health wellbeing specifically, employers can support their staff by investing in mental health support for staff; be it subscriptions to mental health apps, like Calm, providing access to therapists or coaches, or even putting on workshops with trained professionals.
Paid leave is also incredibly important when it comes to mental health because it gives employees the freedom to switch off, which is incredibly important for both mental and physical wellbeing. We know that holiday allowance varies dramatically all over the world, but the US falls behind, offering zero paid holidays as standard.
Although many employers do offer paid leave to staff, with the average coming in at 10 days paid leave in total, after 12 months’ service, there is no reason this cannot be increased in order to reflect the rest of the world – something many Americans crave. A report from 2019 stated that one-third of Americans would be willing to take a pay cut to receive unlimited paid leave.
A great way to reward and retain staff is to provide them with more holidays the longer they remain in the business. For example, adding another day of paid leave every year after the first two years, up to a maximum number of days.
Social wellbeing is more than just culture as a word – it’s really understanding what your culture is, what it means, and how it helps your business succeed. This means looking at your teams and staffing structure, management, and personality styles – understanding everyone’s individual needs, and ensuring staff have the work/life balance they need to thrive.
This may not be a benefit in the traditional sense, but having clear values helps employees feel valued and part of a team.
These last two years have highlighted that our physical wellbeing is just as important as our mental health. Yet many workers are not moving half as much as they used to day-to-day due to working from home, so may need some encouragement.
Employees are now looking to their employers to give them the tools they need to help them move – wherever they are. Benefits such as gym membership discounts, regular exercise classes – either remotely or in-person – and health insurance policies are just some of the benefits that can help keep your workplace fit and healthy by providing a tangible benefit.
Career wellbeing is all about having the tools and opportunities to thrive professionally. And one of the most important things to workers, is its key managers and bosses open up the doors for development in the workplace.
Be it regular 1-2-1s, development plans, or external training in key areas, employees value personal growth and development now more than ever.
As the Great Resignation continues, these are just a few ideas that could enable you to hang onto the key talent in your organization. Here’s to talent retention in 2022!