5 Ways a Great Benefits Program Can Help You Win the War for Talent

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The war for talent is as fierce as it’s ever been, due in part to shifting preferences among job seekers. The “job for life” mentality is practically dead, especially among younger workers. According to a Jobvite survey, 42 percent of millennials now change jobs every 1-3 years.

Increasing employee turnover throughout the last two decades has caused employers to focus their attention on retention, pouring time and money into providing unparalleled employee experiences. Simultaneously, businesses have become more accustomed to shorter employee tenures, and they are looking for ways to drive maximum engagement and productivity while employees are with them.

What’s the key to winning the war for talent under these high-pressure circumstances? Here are five ways a great benefits program can help:

1. Look Beyond Flashy Workspaces

Businesses often look to attract top talent by dressing up their office spaces, adding perks to the physical environment to portray an employee-centric atmosphere of fun. Unfortunately, this approach is often a matter of style over substance — unless the physical office space improvements are clearly connected to the company’s values and drive employee performance.

Creating an enjoyable and inviting office space is a great start, but employers that are serious about providing the best possible experiences for their workforces need to invest in every aspect of the employee journey to secure that all-important engagement.

2. Take a Holistic Approach to Wellness

Work-related stress affects employees in a multitude of ways, and Thomsons Online Benefits’s recent “Global Employee Benefits Watch” report found that employers are falling short when it comes to supporting their employees’ well-being.

This is a big opportunity to get ahead of competing employers by offering benefits that best support the needs of today’s workforce. Employers need to craft their offerings to holistically support employee well-being, which means caring for workers’ financial, physical, and mental wellness.

3. Be Flexible With Benefits

Rather than sticking to standard healthcare offerings, find ways to tailor your company’s benefits toward employees’ specific needs.

For example, if your employees have expressed interest in fitness, you can offer them benefits such as complimentary exercise classes, mindfulness apps, or nutrition advice. You could also weave wellness into the very fabric of the company by offering nutritious snacks and investing in standing desks. When you offer benefits that meet your employees’ real needs, you create a supportive environment where people actually want to work.

4. Provide a Positive Digital Experience

Offering great benefits is itself a step in the right direction, but if organizations are unable to deliver those benefits in a simple and effective way, then any potential gains in employee engagement will be cancelled out.

According to the Thomsons report cited above, employers that use technology to provide a seamless digital benefits experience to employees are four times more likely to be effective at attracting and retaining talent.

Many employers now allow employees to manage and access their benefits through convenient digital portals. Not only does having a centralized online benefits platform help keep employees engaged, but it also makes HR’s job easier. The digital portal can track employee engagement with benefits, generating valuable data on how employees use their benefits. By analyzing this data, HR teams can see which campaigns are working and which benefits offer the best ROI.

5. Keep Measuring

The Thomsons research shows that organizations measuring all areas of their benefits programs are not only better at managing their benefits and reducing administrative burdens for their teams, but they are also using benefits to maximize employee engagement. These organizations are 95 percent more likely to offer benefits that impact and drive strategic business objectives, such as retaining top talent.

The war for talent is nowhere near finished, and many employers will continue to struggle with attracting and retaining talent in the years to come. If modern organizations want to be successful, it’s imperative that they begin developing their employee engagement and retention strategies now. They have to identify what will make their organizations great places to work and establish practices that will keep their best people with them for the long haul.

Chris Bruce is cofounder and managing director of Thomsons Online Benefits.

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Chris is managing director and cofounder of Darwin and has been in the benefits industry for more than 20 years. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Chris's main focus is on the development of new markets and engagement with global clients. He loves meeting with CHROs and reward leaders to support them in staying one step ahead of the rapidly changing benefits landscape.