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Winning the War for Talent with Benefits

A recent study conducted by SHRM showed that nearly 40% of the participating HR professionals stated that their companies were having a hard time recruiting positions at all levels(i), and it is especially hard to attract highly skilled and in-demand talent. Not surprisingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment rates dropped in 27 states and remained the same in 12 states in November(ii), which indicates that this trend is not going to change any time soon. To remain competitive in the marketplace, successful companies are using their benefits package to attract talent, and it's working.

The largest component of most benefits programs is healthcare and the need to provide affordable comprehensive coverage for employees. While healthcare coverage continues to play a large role in a candidate's decision-making process, they are interested in seeing a complete benefits program that shows an investment in their overall development - matching 401(k)s, career development, education, and mobility.

To successfully attract the best candidates it is important to make sure that your entire benefits package is, at a minimum, on par with your competition. Few companies publish the specifics of their benefits program; they merely publish the major components, which makes benchmarking your programs difficult. In industries where this information is not readily shared, your employees are your best resource.

  • Review your exit interviews to ensure that you are capturing details on employee views on benefits that your company is offering versus the benefits at the person's next opportunity.
  • Perhaps it is time to start using "entrance" interviews to capture benefits information from your new employees who interviewed at other companies. What was their deciding factor on accepting your offer over a competitor's offer? Is there something a competitor is offering that they wish was offered at your company?

Different industries have variances in benefit packages. Mobility benefits change dramatically between industries. Many industries offer a comprehensive relocation benefit that includes everything from financial assistance for home selling to employment counseling for spouses, while other industries simply offer assistance with moving households. In some cases, we are seeing Relocation policies drafted that allow new hires and transferring employees the flexibility to use relocation funds in ways that are highly customizable to their individual needs.

(i) Employers Emphasizing Benefits to Recruit Talent, HR Magazine Nov. 1, 2015, Vol. 60 No. 9
(ii) Virginia adds 14,400 jobs in November, reaches record high employment, Washington Business Journal, 12/18/2015