Becoming an employer of choice is about positioning your company in a way that makes candidates eager to work for you and your most qualified employees likely to stay with you. When your competitors appear with tempting incentives, these candidates and employees will decline, because you are fulfilling their needs.
These needs can vary from person to person. For example, although job proximity may be most important to one candidate, another may be more concerned with salary. One employee might prize meaningful work, while another may cherish opportunities for learning and development. A flexible work schedule may be crucial to one candidate, while another may view benefits as most important. On a macro level, however, individual preferences are not equally significant.
Many studies on attraction and retention rank compensation and benefits, respectively, as being most important to job seekers and employees. As between the two, some surveys say that benefits are more important to employees if the difference in compensation is marginal. For instance, a Glassdoor survey found that nearly four in five employees "would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase."
So, it's safe to say that benefits help define an employer of choice. But how do you actually use benefits to become the chosen one? Here are three suggestions:
1. Offer choices in benefits.
According to Pew Research Center, in 2016, millennials became the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Moreover, with Generation Z entering the workforce and many older workers delaying retirement, employers must adapt to the needs of different generations.
The following list — which is based on research by the Society for Human Resource Management — provides a general idea of which benefits are most important to employees today:
- Health care benefits.
- Retirement savings plan.
- Leave benefits.
- Flexible working benefits.
- Professional and career development benefits.
- Wellness and preventive care health benefits.
- Financial benefits.
- Family-friendly benefits.
2. Transform the benefits experience.
Employees today are tech-savvy and self-reliant. They also demand convenience. When job hunting, they expect a great candidate experience that delivers easy access to information about the company, job and application process. During onboarding and throughout their employment life cycle, they want that same satisfying experience.
The employer of choice enhances the benefits experience through technology. At the very least, the solution should deliver mobile access, allow employees to enroll in and make changes to their benefits via self-service options, and let employees track their benefits.
3. Provide training and guidance.
The employer of choice knows that with the shifting benefits landscape it can be difficult for employees to keep up and make the right decisions. Therefore, to become an employer of choice, you'll need to do everything possible to help your employees understand the choices available to them.