Attracting and retaining talent is now a top priority for business owners and HR departments. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit on the employment market means attracting quality talent and retaining top performers is a struggle, intensified by COVID-19 and its effects on the workplace. In fact, with signs pointing toward recovery in many economic sectors, a survey estimates that 1 in 4 workers will look for opportunities with a new employer once the threat of the pandemic has subsided.
Whilst this ‘mass exodus’ impacts certain sectors that have been able to work remotely during the pandemic, other industries are experiencing similar attraction and retention issues for different reasons. Exacerbated by the strained conditions over the last 18 months, the haulage and care sectors, for example, are also facing huge challenges including high employee turnover, a shrinking pool of potential talent, and loss of some of the key performers.
What can be done to tackle attraction and retention today?
The wants and needs of modern employees are vastly different from those of their predecessors. Now, potential employees are concerned with purpose, company culture and benefits in addition to their salary. To remain competitive, organisations must adapt and offer competitive benefits to attract and retain skilled employees. This strategy is not lost on many organisations, with the percentage using benefits to attract talent has risen by nearly 10 per cent in the past two years, according to a recent study from MetLife.
However, to meet the challenges and needs of employees today, here are three improvements we believe employers should consider to attract and retain top talent:
1. Integrate overall wellbeing into benefits packages
There are numerous studies setting out the business advantages of providing employee benefits, including attraction and retention of top talent. We know that employee benefits make employees happier and more productive. MetLife’s most recent survey found that 47 per cent of employers saw improved employee productivity after instituting employee benefits schemes. Research from Glassdoor even found that a staggering 79 per cent of employees would prefer new or additional benefits to a salary increase.
Whilst this data is available, many organisations are not maximising their benefits packages to their full potential. Some are missing key areas such as mental or financial wellbeing, others offer fragmented packages without a clear overall support programme for the employee, or are failing to communicate accurately what’s available. There’s still plenty of room for employers to improve their approach to benefits and integrate them more fully across the board.
2. Create tailored benefits
While all employees may be struggling in some way, their situations aren’t the same. For computer-based work, hybrid or remote working policies give you access to a wider talent pool across geographical boundaries. Similarly, many talented candidates may be looking for new jobs now that there are more remote options available to them. With these things in mind, it’s important for employers to use all the tools at their disposal to reach the best available talent.
Whilst technologically inclusive, offering benefits that provide different experiences will also set you apart from the crowd; whether that’s providing instant access, global virtual GP services, or introducing benefits in areas that have previously been neglected, which can really have an impact, such as paid miscarriage leave for parents, or support for menopause sufferers (research states 1 in 4 women have considered leaving work due to their menopause).
Other voluntary benefits include caregiving assistance, financial counselling, increased paid time off and other non-traditional perks. There are many low-cost options available and, better yet, employees can select benefits to meet their individual needs.
3. Don’t forget about mental health
Employees are going through a lot right now, and many are suffering from poor mental health. This includes feeling depressed, lonely, anxious—feelings that may be compounded by working in isolation, whether that’s behind a desk at home office, or on the road as a delivery driver.
Employees value employers and organisations who value mental health. In a recent survey conducted by Partners& and YuLife, 22% of employers surveyed still don’t have mental health provisions in place for their employees as part of their benefits package.
Now is the time for employers to show employees and prospective talent that they’re willing to invest in their well-being. Potential options include comprehensive employee assistance programmes (EAPs), one-on-one counselling, therapy sessions and stress-reducing activities. Solutions don’t need to be costly, either. Something as small as a weekly outdoor activity, virtual social meeting or group excursion could be enough to lift employees’ morale.
 Partners& and YuLife own survey – results will be published by September 30
Small steps can make a big impact
There are many creative ways employers can attract and retain quality workers. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, even seemingly small, and low-cost gestures can go a long way to distinguish an organisation from its competitors.
Contact our dedicated team today to find out more about this and other employee wellbeing, engagement and benefit strategies that can support your business and people.