A new era: why benefits matter when hiring top talent

January 31, 2023

Gone are the days when benefits were an afterthought. In the past, workers primarily focused on their salaries and placed lesser value on benefits. It was often regarded as a cog in a well-oiled machine, but things have begun to change in recent years. A lot.

Today, a majority of workers place high importance on benefits. In fact, many employees now consider benefits when evaluating a job offer, and 80%  would rather get a job with benefits instead of 30% more salary but no benefits.

However, with recent changes in the labour market and new sets of needs being valued by a new generation of employees, there's also been a shift in the types of benefits that are growing in demand.

These benefits might look a little different, but they still bear strong ties to our basic needs for maintaining a healthy work-life balance and securing a financially stable future.

They don’t necessarily have to do with money, bonuses or time off and are often related to needs such as wellness, mental health, flexibility, education and even care for pets. This has allowed companies to get creative when it comes to offering competitive benefits packages to attract new talent and retain the ones that they already have.

What are the most common benefits?

In today's fast-paced job market, benefits are a crucial factor in the decision-making process for potential candidates. t. For top talent, a robust benefits package can be a deciding factor in accepting a job offer and choosing to stay with a company for the long haul.

Ultimately, employers need to remember that when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, it's no longer just about the paycheck. It's about creating a sense of security and well-being for employees in and out of the workplace.

Historically, some of the most common benefits offered by employers include: 

  • Health insurance: Coverage for medical, dental, and other health expenses.

  • Retirement plans: Employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k) and pension plans help employees save for retirement.

  • Paid time off: This Includes vacation days, sick days, and personal days.

  • Life and disability insurance: Coverage in the event of an employee's death or disability.

  • Bonus and other profit-sharing plans: Additional compensation in the form of cash or stock

  • Professional development opportunities: Employers may offer training, tuition reimbursement, and other opportunities for employees to advance their careers.

Oftentimes, benefits packages will vary depending on the company, location, industry, and other factors, but the list above includes some of the most common benefits we've seen on offer.

The trending benefits for 2023

Forecasting the types of benefits that will continue to be valued is a tricky endeavour, as there are so many variables at play. From the state of the economy to global conflicts, the job market, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many factors can influence what benefits will be in demand for 2023.

However, by paying close attention to current trends and changes in employee expectations, we can make educated guesses about what benefits will be at the forefront. 

Some examples include:

Remote work

With all the changes that the pandemic brought to the labour market, a sizeable portion of the global workforce have embraced remote work arrangements with open arms and are determined to maintain this.

This new way of working has become more prevalent, and for many employees, it’s a make-or-break factor when considering job options. In fact, research from Qualtrics showed that 35% of the workforce would actually consider leaving their jobs if required to return to the full-office regiment.

Providing an adaptable and flexible working model lets employees determine where and how the work is of the essence when it comes to keeping the employees happy and committed to their jobs.

Mental-health support

Mental health support (or lack thereof) has been a growing concern for many employees, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to the forefront.

Due to abrupt workplace changes, including enforced work-from-home arrangements, the blurring of lines between their work and personal lives and uncertainty about the future - employees were pushed to their limits.

A report called Mental Health at Work in 2020 from the BITC in partnership with Bupa found that 41% of employees had experienced mental health symptoms related to work, with more than half citing work-related pressure as a contributing factor.

Providing mental health support is not just a moral and ethical responsibility but one that can positively impact the overall success of the company by decreasing the risk of burnout and turnover, Both of which can be costly for a business.

Access to cutting-edge technology

Access to digital tools and technologies in a business has become a major deciding factor for job-seekers, especially Millenial and Gen Z candidates who are natives of technology. Businesses are being called to update their technological stacks to keep up with the wave of digitalisation happening around the world so that workers can do their jobs in a better, faster and more collaborative way.

According to a Qualtrics research, employees are 230% more engaged and 85% more likely to stay for more than three years in an organisation if they feel supported by good office technology. Only 30% of employees believe that their company’s technology is exceeding expectations.

Some of the ways that technology can positively impact the workplace include:

Improved communication and collaboration

For geographically dispersed employees/ and remote teams (something that is becoming increasingly common), having access to the right tools can make a major difference when communicating and bringing people together.

Whether employees are working together from different teams or different cities, messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams are popular amongst companies of all sizes for collaborating, aligning ideas and managing projects and individual tasks.

For example, apart from chat and messaging functions, Microsoft Teams can be integrated with other Microsoft tools and products to help everyone work from a central communication app. It also allows audio calling and has a meeting scheduling function directly linked to Outlook.

Tracking and productivity

With teams scattered worldwide, tracking and managing tasks can be a complex process. Project management tools such as Trello, Asana and Monday.com have been successfully utilised by businesses to keep team members on the same page as they collaborate on multiple projects and manage different schedules.

Access to training and development tools

One of the most profound impacts of digital transformation is how easy it has made it for people to access ways to learn new skills and continuously develop their abilities.

Training software and platforms such as Cypher Learning, TalentLMS and Docebo make up just a small portion of tech-driven resources that can help employees empower themselves through upskilling and personal and professional development programs.

LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning Report tells us that 94% of employees would stay with their companies longer if they invested in their careers. As competition rises, companies that take the time to cultivate a culture of learning, and provide their employees with the resources they need to access these tools will be able to set themselves apart and hold on to their best talent and attract new ones. 

Workplace flexibility

As the name of the concept states, it’s all about balancing your work while having flexibility with your personal life: there’s no need to sacrifice your relations, your body and your happiness to reach a goal in your job. But this is a new way of thinking, especially for workers.

In early 2002, a survey conducted by TrueCareers stated that 70% of employees felt they didn’t have a healthy balance between their personal and work lives.

As this concept grows in popularity, employees seek job opportunities that offer a flexible schedule, manageable workload, favourable company culture and paid time off. In fact, a study by Aviva revealed that since the pandemic, workers are more attracted to a job position for the work-life balance (41%) than the salary (36%).

Here are some ways to implement flexibility in the workplace

Provide different types of flexible work arrangements

Even though the word flexibility can be misleading, being flexible doesn't necessarily mean a total lack of structure. That being said, offering freedom to the employee to pick the best type of arrangement offered for him/her (time, days off, remote work) can be a great way to keep employees happy and committed while also leaving them the decision to use the flexibility benefit the best way.

Establish clear pathways for communication

To avoid burnout and to minimise the chances of employees  (especially remote employees) feeling as if they are unable mentally disengage from work once the day ends, it is important to clearly communicate arrangements surrounding personal time off, daily rest periods, career breaks, employee assistance programs and much more. 

Ensuring these are well-structured and that employees feel comfortable approaching their managers with any questions regarding these arrangements can help to create a safe space for employees to take advantage of these benefits. 

Seek to understand your employees

People have different needs and personalities, and these often determine how they prefer to work.

Some employees feel most invigorated when working in the evenings; others may prefer to work in sprints, while some may choose to start their days at the crack of dawn. Understanding and being aware of these preferences can be a game-changer in improving team morale and employee motivation.

For many employees, having the freedom to create their own schedules and having employers that respect and trust in them to do so can truly make a difference in creating healthy workplace culture for employees to thrive. 

Don't forget to evaluate performance

At the end of the day, performance, production and the quality of the job done are still the main things that teams are trying to achieve.

Evaluating employee turnover rates, cost savings, satisfaction and other factors are extremely important to measure the success of workplace flexibility arrangements and make any necessary changes to continuously improve. 

Financial wellness programs

Financial uncertainty can adversely affect workers' well-being, productivity and mental health.

Innovative research on the topic conducted by TalentLMS, Tapcheck and Enrich revealed that money issues could affect generations differently. According to the report, 66% of Millennials, 59% of Gen Z, and 47% of Gen X employees who have struggled with their finances have seen it take its toll on their mental health. 

This is one of the reasons why Financial Wellness programs are highly valued by the workforce, with 68% of employees attesting that they are more likely to stay at their jobs if such programs are offered.

Lateral view of an office. Someone is presenting a pitch.

So, why do benefits matter?

Office workers discussing a project

In today's job market, opportunities are endless for top talent, which makes sense why they would be selective about where they work.

According to research from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, since July 2021, 4 million people have changed jobs each month, and 32% of them did so due to better pay and benefits.

Here are a few reasons why benefits matter when hiring top talent:

Attraction: A strong benefits package is a major part of the appeal when offering a new position to a candidate.  When weighing their options, candidates tend to value 60% more when the position comes with good benefits, according to a Glassdoor survey.

Retention: Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off can help retain and increase employee morale by providing them with the security and support they need. Long-term benefits can and will always be a factor when considering changing jobs. A satisfaction survey conducted by Willis Tower Watson showed that up to 78% of workers are more likely to stay at their jobs if they feel their benefits package is competitive. 

Employee engagement and satisfaction: Benefits such as flexible schedules, professional development opportunities, and other perks can improve employee engagement and satisfaction, which in turn can lead to higher productivity and better overall performance. Research conducted by Rogers Gray showed that more than 40% of employees say that companies become more attractive if their benefits packages are tailored for them.

Cost-effective: Investing in benefits can be cost-effective in the long run as it can help companies reduce turnover. That is indeed a major win for organisations, especially considering the cost of replacing exiting employees, which varies according to their levels.

  • Entry-level: Can cost 30 to 50 per cent of their annual salary to replace.
  • Middle-level: Can cost 150 per cent of their annual salary to replace
  • High-level: Can cost up to 400 per cent of their annual salary to replace

On top of this, what it takes to kickstart the hiring process and onboard new employees can also be a major time investment for the people involved, including HR personnel and hiring managers.

Employees having an online meeting

How to attract and retain the post-pandemic worker

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work and has significantly impacted the job market. As a result, companies will need to adapt their recruitment and retention strategies for post-pandemic workers.

Flexible work schedules and the possibility to work from anywhere are highly regarded by today's workforce. According to a survey of the Pew Research Center, 61% of employees work from home because they want to, even if their employers have an established physical office.

By offering a combination of flexibility, health and safety measures, mental health support, digitalisation, career development opportunities, and comprehensive benefits packages, companies can successfully attract and retain post-pandemic workers.

Get the best assistance for benefits management and more with Airswift's Global Employment Outsourcing services

There’s a good forecast for business in the next few years. With the world economy stabilizing after a really turbulent period, companies are again looking to grow. In the meantime, while expanding internationally, organisations must look out for different work cultures, and adapt to distinctive legislations and labour laws. 

When setting up an entity, odds are that your company will have to go through a lot to manage employees' salaries, benefits, leaves and more. We can act as an Employer of Record (EoR) and take care of all administrative responsibilities such as onboarding, payroll, creating a competitive benefits package and tax management.

With Airswift’s help, you can save up time and focus on growing your business. 

Learn everything Airswift can do for your business as an Employer of Record here.

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This post was written by: Tomás Battaglia, Content Marketing Coordinator