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Tailoring benefits to attract and support today’s employees

In a market where employees have more choices than ever before, being able to rise above the rest with a multifaceted employee value proposition (EVP) has never been more crucial. Kirstin Thomas, President of Robert Walters North America, shares her insight on what companies should be looking to provide, along with how best to communicate these benefits.

Why is it important to have unique competitive benefits in today’s tight talent market?

The market is saturated with companies scrambling to get a candidate’s attention because the narrative is that everyone is struggling to fill positions. It’s cliché but organizations must “stand out” with their offers – their brands must scream above the noise to attract the right talent. But what they shout is critical, and it boils down to personalization, which creates an authentic candidate experience.

We have five generations in the workforce now – all of them with uniquely different needs and expectations from their employer. Organizations need to mind those differences and target those audiences based on their life experiences. Offering tailored packages with mix-and-match opportunities creates a sense of individualism, showing employees and candidates that they are seen and valued by giving them benefits that will help support them while they do their best work. Perhaps a seasoned professional is attracted to a lucrative retirement program and flexible hours. On the other-hand, an entry-level candidate might be looking for education reimbursements and travel allowances so that if they are working remotely they can explore new places while they work.

In either instance, wouldn’t it be nice to ask someone what they want and be able to create a plan for them? It’s not cookie-cutter, and it’s meeting the needs of the individual in a way that speaks to them. That’s a uniquely unique approach.

What is today’s talent looking for? (Work from home, Job sharing, Flexibility)

Today’s talent wants what is important to them in their stage of life. And for the most part, it’s the same overarching concerns, with various nuances. The topics highlighted the most include health, compensation, flexibility, and culture. Those are broad topics and it’s difficult to solve for each one perfectly in any single organization, however many expectations tie back to flexibility.

For instance, the pandemic shined a light on health concerns and inequities; talent is looking to employers to address that concern by providing reliable health care and wellness programs that not only address the body, but the mind as well. Study after study show an increase in stress, mental health concerns, depression and more across the workforce. Yet employees feel they are under a microscope if they need a break to reset. Give them the break to reset. PTO restrictions should ease – we will keep employees and attract candidates if we base our benefits on humanness.

This flexibility is necessary to maintain productivity, which is why the preference for remote work and WFH is skyrocketing. Talent is not going back to the way it was – the daily grind. Employees work hard, and they’ve proven that they can work hard sitting outside the office. Whether it’s full-remote, a hybrid-model or some other job-sharing environment, companies will lose out on talent if the option is not available. And offering this flexibility opens avenues to talent markets that may have been out of reach, or overlooked.

It all ties in to culture and creating a workforce that is reflective of the world around us. WFH options allows for candidates and employees to balance work against personal issues that hamper their ability to maintain an in-house job. Concerns with child-care, elder-care, health issues, transportation and relocation costs are just some of the barriers candidates face when job-hunting, across all demographics but particularly impacting underrepresented communities. If we don’t open up the opportunities, we could miss out on a hard worker who brings different thinking to your organization.

How do you align these benefits with EVP and brand?

You weave those benefits into your culture and demonstrate that you will always keep up your end of the employee-employer bargain. Benefits should be available across the board no matter the department, job title or skill level. Everyone in an organization has goals and measurables – from the sales numbers to hit to the number of positive customer service interactions tallied. If there is a business win, you can track back to everyone having a part in that win. Therefore, the organization’s success is a collective effort, so each employee should be able to collectively partake in the benefits available. Employees and candidates must be aware that no matter the level of their contribution, the EVP applies to them as well.

How can organizations leverage and communicate these benefits to candidates and employees?

We all seem to be using the same, traditional routes of communication and promotion, so our messages need to be succinct and must make our employees and candidates feel like we are speaking to them. We’ve all met that person with charisma who can make everyone in the room feel seen – it’s usually because they are genuine, open and honest.  All communication efforts need to be laser focused to the individual and that includes emails, texts, social, podcasts and whatever delivery mechanism you choose.

And, nothing speaks more than actions. Your current team members will be the ones that drive the message home to attract candidates and keep current employees. If they can attest to the truth of your EVP, it’s the game-changer. Testimonials, employee-driven marketing, interviews that include team members and a solid, welcoming onboarding process that outlines a company’s benefits and shows them in action, sets the right foundation.

Connect with Kirsten on LinkedIn, or read more about how our Brand and Experience solutions can help cultivate your company's unique candidate journey.

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