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Employee Benefits: How they can help you win the talent war

A strong employee benefits package can help you attract and retain talent

In many sectors today, it’s a candidate-driven market when it comes to employment. There are plenty of opportunities, and too few talented workers to go round. Inevitably then, employers need to find ways to attract and retain talent to their business. Salary, job title, and location are all big factors, but employee benefits are one of the most important weapons in a business’ armoury. They can provide the edge over competitors when it comes to winning the war for talent. 

Generally speaking, there are two types of employee benefits: ‘soft’ and ‘hard’. Hard benefits can be quantified in terms of money, such as pension contributions, bonuses, enhanced maternity packages, and healthcare schemes. Soft benefits are less easy to quantify and more reflective of company culture, such as flexible working, a day off on your birthday, or ping pong tables in the office. It could be argued that hard benefits appeal more to an employee’s head, while softer benefits speak to their heart. The savviest employers –and the ones most likely to attract hard-to-reach talent – will offer packages that contain a mixture of the two. Of course, hard benefits can be costly. However, as ever in issues of recruitment, often investing a little will lead to a great return.

The savviest employers –and the ones most likely to attract hard-to-reach talent – will offer packages that contain a mixture of the two. Of course, hard benefits can be costly. However, as ever in issues of recruitment, often investing a little will lead to a great return.

It doesn’t have to break the bank

The good news for employers is that whether you’re a multinational, or a cash-strapped start-up, there is always some sort of package that you can put together. An SME without the funds to provide a gold-standard maternity package can instead implement flexible working. Similarly, offering a half-day leave as a bonus for the best-performing employee each month is a small gesture that, as well as making employees feel valued, will more than likely drive up performance too. Organising an office lunch once a month costs comparatively little, but says a great deal about how an employer values their employees. And this concept of feeling valued is crucial to the debate on employee benefits. Providing additional benefits to employees can be a way to demonstrate their relationship with their employee goes beyond a merely transactional one.

Organising an office lunch once a month costs comparatively little, but says a great deal about how an employer values their employees. And this concept of feeling valued is crucial to the debate on employee benefits. Providing additional benefits to employees can be a way to demonstrate their relationship with their employee goes beyond a merely transactional one.

Retaining talent

Benefits packages shouldn’t just be used to attract talent, but retain it. Flexible working, great pension schemes and a 4 o’clock finish are great benefits, but over time they can be taken for granted. It’s worth investing in packages that will benefit long-serving employees in particular, such as offering additional annual leave as a reward for long service or the opportunity to take a sabbatical after a certain number of years. Everyone is motivated by different things. Often, this has a lot to do with age and stage. While a great pension, private healthcare and a top maternity leave may seem like a competitive benefits package, it might not resonate with those just beginning their careers. They may feel more swayed by perks such as early finishes in summer, social activities, or the option to relocate to other offices around the world.

How can we help?

Remember: you should develop benefits which will both help your business and your employees. There is always something – however small – that you as an employer can do. If you are currently reviewing or bench-marking your benefits packages, do feel free to get in touch for a confidential discussion.

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Author: Amy Hayer

With over ten years of recruitment experience, Amy is an expert in the healthcare communications market, offering invaluable insight into the talent landscape and state of the industry.

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