The “War for Talent”, the “Great Rehire”, the “Great Reshuffle”; whatever you want to call it, it’s no secret that competition for talent remains the highest it’s been in recent history. Employment may be growing at 400-500 thousand jobs per month, but job openings currently still outnumber the employed by 2.8 million.
This has spawned what I’m calling the “Battle of the Benefits”, where many employers are upgrading their benefits packages to make talent choose them over their competitors. The problem is that, with so many employers now going through this upgrade, benefits that, years ago, would have set you lightyears ahead of your industry peers are now necessary just to stay competitive.
With this in mind, here are 5 employee benefits that, if you’re not already providing, you should consider offering (and promoting!) to make sure that candidates choose you, now and in the future.
1. Permanent remote work
For almost 2 years, employees around the world have been working remotely as a result of the pandemic, and many have experienced a level of flexibility that they’re just not willing to part with.
People are able to go to doctor’s appointments during the day, see their babies grow up or spend quality time with their pets, all while getting their work done. While some employers are nudging their people back into the office, many have adopted a remote-first approach, including Twitter and Spotify. Spotify’s Work from Anywhere policy even acknowledges that “work isn’t something you come to the office for, it’s something you do” and empowers employees to make the decisions that make the most sense for them.
If these changes from leading employers aren’t enough to convince you to offer remote work options, many job boards have gone so far as to add specific remote or work-from-home filters to help job seekers find roles offering this benefit.
2. 4-day workweek
A study conducted last year by SimpleTexting found that 9 out of 10 respondents believe the five-day workweek is outdated, 80% say the pandemic has increased their desire for a 4-day workweek and an overwhelming 98% believe it would improve their mental health.
Those who have made the transition have certainly been greeted with open arms. After Lockheed Martin’s announcement that they would be transitioning many full-time employees to a 4-day workweek last year, posts poured out praising the flexibility for employees to return to school part-time, travel, and enjoy time with their loved ones.
The benefits appear to extend to employers themselves, as well. If you’re worried about what a 4-day workweek might do to your company’s productivity, Microsoft Japan found that reducing the workweek by one day led to a 40% boost in productivity!
Given that so few employers have begun to implement a 4-day workweek, of all the benefits listed in this article, this is one that could really differentiate you as an employer.
3. Mental health benefits
Working through the events of the past few years has been stressful enough on its own; when you throw in the blurring of work and home life that has taken place, mental health is one area that employers can really offer more support.
Fortunately, some are. In April 2021, LinkedIn had a company-wide paid week off to “unplug, recharge and prevent burnout”. Starbucks announced that it would offer 20 free therapy sessions to all U.S. employees and their family members per year. Hopefully, with these large companies taking the initiative, more companies will follow suit to talk more about mental health and take action to ensure their employees feel their best.
If you’re struggling for ideas on how to support your employees’ mental health, here are some great ones to start with:
- dedicated PTO days for mental health
- resources for managing stress
- discounted or free counseling sessions for employees and their families
- support building a dedicated workspace at home (i.e. discounted or free office supplies)
Rally note: As important as it is to offer these employee benefits, it’s equally important from a recruitment perspective to promote them. Download our free how-to guide, The Ultimate Guide to Building an Employee Stories Content Library, to learn how to empower your employees to promote your benefits, and other EVP pillars, to attract talent to your workplace.
4. Increased PTO
When you’re struggling with limited paid time off (PTO), making time for yourself can be really hard. I’ve been there, and there’s a good chance that you have, too. Now add a global pandemic on top of that; employees definitely shouldn’t have to worry about always keeping a bank of PTO to recover from sickness or take care of their family in the event that their child-care service is closed for a few days.
To avoid this, companies like Texas Instruments have provided employees with additional paid time off for COVID-19 related situations. Similarly, more companies are beginning to offer unlimited PTO policies. But this isn’t a turn-key solution; there’s data that shows that employees with unlimited PTO actually take less time off in fear of being perceived as taking advantage of the policy or putting extra stress on their teammates to cover their work.
So what’s the solution? Either offer additional PTO so that employees feel entitled to their specific number of days off, or if you’re going to offer unlimited PTO, foster an environment where employees feel encouraged to take time off and enjoy their lives outside of work (i.e. no messages after a certain time or company-wide reminders to take a vacation).
5. More money
People have had time to think over the past few years. Their priorities have shifted, there’s more financial aid available, the risks are higher at work and they’re not willing to accept an offer for what they were paid in the past.
This isn’t even limited to only active job seekers either; employees who aren’t even looking for a new job are getting approached by recruiters with offers that are 20%, 30%, even 50% higher than their current salaries! This has serious implications for retention. Consider Intel, for example, who announced that they were allocating an additional $2 billion (yes, with a “B”) to increase employee salaries and provide equity in response to the fierce competition in the talent market.
All of this is to say that not only is it important to offer competitive salaries to candidates, you need to also ensure your current employees are also being well-compensated if you want to keep them around for the long haul.
The employee-employer dynamic has significantly evolved since March 2020. We’re now in a competitive talent market, where candidates have a variety of options at their disposal. To differentiate themselves, and retain current employees, companies must go above and beyond to provide and promote worthwhile benefits.
Some items on the list may be more compelling than others, but they’re all important considerations if you want to truly stand out in the marketplace — or even just stay competitive with other employers in your industry.
For even more insights into what today’s talent wants from employers, read Rally’s 4 Takeaways from the 2022 US Potentialpark Talent Communication Study.