Recruit and Retain Employees with a Creative Benefits Package

Kudos to the Affinity Federal Credit Union.  In the Spring 2011 issue of the Affinity Connections magazine, there was an article titled “Recruit and Retain Employees with a Creative Benefits Package.”  We often write about recruitment and benefits in our blogs and this article makes the simple yet important tie-in that you need an effective benefits strategy for attracting and retaining talent.  I couldn’t agree more!

It’s not just about the money, but about benefits that include:

  • Health, disability, and life insurance
  • Tax saving ways to pay for health expenses and child care
  • Retirement plans
  • Opportunities to continue education
  • Flexible working hours, etc.

The article points to a 2010 study done by MetLife on employee benefits trends.  It states employers greatly underestimate the loyalty factor of retirement benefits, non-medical benefits (i.e., dental, disability, vision, life, etc.), and work-life balance programs.  I would also add in retirement savings plans since there are fewer pension plans and great doubts about what will be there for social security, particularly for the younger generations.

The major benefits, which are also the most expensive, are retirement plans, health insurance, and paid leave.  But, employers need to be creative and think out of the box at more cost-effective options.

The study states that 61% of employers and 56% of employees say that work-life balance programs are effective at improving productivity at work.  Examples of such programs include flex working hours and access to financial planning resources, such as Aon Hewitt’s integrated advisory offering to its DC plan participants through its subsidiary Aon Hewitt Financial Advisors.  Other ideas include:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Employee assistance programs (EAP)
  • Matching donations
  • Educational opportunities including on or offsite employee training & seminars, tuition reimbursement, and paid time off to attend classes.

As the economy recovers, turnover will increase.  As the talent marketplace becomes more competitive again, it is important to see that offered benefits are utilized.  A benefits outsourcer or HRO provider can help with data mining to analyze benefit utilization patterns across key positions and geographies.  Also, total rewards statements help employees see the full impact of their benefits.  Modern benefits communication and decision support tools help participants know about and make optimum choices.

Outsourcing vendors, not just benefits providers, but also RPO providers who are helping their clients with talent management including attraction and retention strategies, should be engaging with their clients to ensure that they have a better benefits package than their competitors!  How do you stack up?

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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