The past 18 months haven’t been easy for anyone, and employers are no exception.
Numbers from the U.S. Labor Department show that 8.4 million Americans are still without work, yet companies are struggling to fill the open positions they do have. In August, CNBC reported that while there were 10 million-plus open jobs, 31% of small business owners haven’t been able to fill openings for three (or more) months. And half said it was harder to find qualified candidates today compared to last year. At the same time, burned-out workers are leaving their current employers in droves. Dubbed the "Great Resignation,” 4 million Americans resigned in July alone, and 65% of workers are actively job hunting.
Much has been said about the source of this tidal wave of resignations. One contributing factor could be employees’ reluctance to return to the office after a full year of remote work. But if the Great Resignation teaches us anything, it should be that when workers have options, they’re going to use them. So how can you attract employees with benefits and use health benefits for employee retention? In short, you need to give workers a better reason to stick around.
7 Benefits to Attract and Retain Employees
The question of how to improve employee retention is not easy to answer, but companies should resist offering perks like free iPhones to get people through the door. These types of benefits might be exciting at first, but unfortunately, they probably won’t provide lasting value for employees and their families, and they certainly won’t help you improve workplace retention long term.
Here are seven benefits that will help you attract (and retain) the right employees.
1. Health Insurance
Amid all the flashy benefits we see these days, it’s easy for a traditional benefit like health insurance to get lost in the shuffle. But health insurance is an important benefit, especially as healthcare costs in the U.S. continue to rise sharply. In one survey of U.S. adults with employer-sponsored coverage, nearly half of respondents said that health insurance was a key factor in deciding on their job offer, and 56% said the quality of that insurance greatly impacted whether they would stay at their job. So you can use employer-sponsored health benefits to attract and retain employees.
2. Flexible Work Arrangements
In 2021, flexibility is arguably more important than ever. When the pandemic forced most office workers to telecommute, many found that they enjoyed the freedom and flexibility of remote work. Now, many say they would consider quitting their job if they were asked to come back to the office full time.
With that in mind, consider adding flexible work hours to your benefits package. This benefit will be especially enticing to working parents, who are juggling the compounding stressors of work, childcare, and caregiving. But it will also attract nontraditional candidates who might not have applied otherwise. Remote work options have also become more mainstream and in-demand among workers. Even if you can’t offer full-time remote work, try out a hybrid model.
3. Well-Being Programs
Over the past decade, we’ve seen the popularity of well-being benefits surge. Today’s workers expect their employers to view them as multidimensional beings who need to live balanced, whole lives. In pursuit of that goal, consider adding well-being benefits to your package. That might look like offering free or discounted gym memberships or yoga in the break room every Wednesday. Or it could look like stocking the break room with healthy snacks or organizing a teamwide 5K.
4. Dental and Vision
Unfortunately, a lot of insurance plans do not cover dental and vision. But caring for your teeth and eyes is incredibly important to maintaining overall health and avoiding chronic health issues in the future. So make sure you offer ancillary benefits such as vision and dental. Like flexible work hours, dental and vision will be really alluring for working parents who want to enroll their children as well.
5. Retirement Benefits
Similar to health insurance, a 401(k) isn’t the sexiest benefit you can offer — but it is one of the most important. Retirement benefits, like 401(k) matching, show your employees that you’re not only invested in their current well-being, but also their future security and comfort. In fact, 401(k) plans, retirement plans, and pensions are so popular that 31% of employees would choose additional retirement benefits over a pay raise. And one survey found that three-quarters of new employees at a business offering a 401(k) point to the retirement plan as a good reason to stick around.
6. Education and Career-Growth Opportunities
Gone are the days when employees were happy working the same job their entire careers. Younger workers especially crave opportunity and growth. At the very least, you should be offering robust training and continued education to aid in your employees' professional development. But if you've got the ability, education opportunities like tuition assistance can be a really compelling benefit for people who want to attend school while maintaining a career.
7. Employee Savings Accounts
Unfortunately, research shows that very few workers with HDHPs can fully maximize their HSAs. Some cannot afford to contribute any money to an HSA. Others can contribute some money but not enough to cover a large medical expense. In the end, many employees can’t enjoy the tax benefit of HSAs because they can’t let the money sit long enough to accumulate.
How can employees feel confident signing up for HDHPs when they don’t have cash on hand to cover an unexpected medical expense? Paytient is their safety net. Our employer-sponsored payment platform works with your current health plan to help employees pay for care without resorting to payday loans or falling into debt. With Paytient, employees with HDHPs can pay their out-of-pocket healthcare expenses interest-free over time.
The past 18 months have been a roller-coaster of layoffs and resignations, and employers are left to rebuild their workforces. Offering the right benefits is a powerful employee retention strategy, so examine your offerings today to make sure you're using benefits to attract and retain employees effectively.