The six talent attraction benefits predicted for long-term staff satisfaction
Norma Gillespie, CEO of Resource Solutions, shares her predictions for the long-term benefits that employers will increasingly be offering to attract and retain staff in the next 3-5 years.
The past two years have completely reshaped the way we view and experience our work lives. Many of us saw the line between home and office completely blur as bedrooms doubled-up as executive board rooms and school playgrounds. Having good managers who were flexible and understanding of the added pressure of childcare, for instance, was crucial to surviving the pandemic – and became a make-it-or-break it for employers.
Evidently, not all businesses passed the test. The ‘Great Resignation’ is a result of a larger candidate-led revolution, which calls for better work conditions, adapted to new ways of working. As companies scramble to retain staff amidst a skill shortage, we’re seeing salaries inflate and new employee benefits emerge.
To avoid a brain-drain, businesses will need to stay ahead of the curve and pivot their Employee Value Proposition (EVP) as employee expectations evolve. While still a key priority for workers in 2022, offering remote work won’t be enough to stand out as a competitive recruiter. What once attracted older generations may not suffice to draw Gen Z in for their first-time roles. To help employers get started, here are five innovative perks that we’re expecting to see grow in the coming years.
1. Pandemic pet boom
The pandemic created the perfect storm for a pet boom. Suddenly at home a lot more, many employees felt prepared to take on the commitment: within just the first year of lockdown, 3.2 million households in the UK acquired a new pet. The need for companionship peaked at a time when many experienced challenges with their mental health and social isolation.
Yet, many were surprised to find out how costly and time-consuming owning a pet would be – particularly for Millennials who were largely driving this growth in pet purchases. Recognising the costly nature of the endeavour, some pioneering companies are already offering pet insurance as a perk to retain staff. Now, as many offices reopen and hybrid working becomes the norm, employers may want to consider introducing pet policies if they wish to lure staff back into the workplace and attract new talent. This sends a warm message to pet parents and positions companies as forward-thinkers that are in tune with employee priorities. For smaller businesses that may not be able to afford the luxury of pet insurance, having dog-friendly offices may still entice new joiners.
2. Transgender health & wellbeing support
Businesses who can offer support for transitioning employees will stand out from the crowd and likely attract a more diverse talent pool. Often healthcare insurance for employees can fail to be inclusive for transgender people, so this is invaluable. The support can take the shape of financial aid for sex affirmation and reassignment treatments and services; constructing a manageable timeline of changes they want to implement; and having an open conversation about the way they want this communicated to their colleagues. Ideally, companies will supplement this with educational programmes for employees around correct use of language, pronouns, and names to foster a safe and respectful work environment for transgender employees.
3. Around the world in a 24-hour workday
One of the most significant take-aways from the collective work-from-home experiment is that being in the office is not a prerequisite for productivity. In fact, as lockdowns prompted many employees to return to their hometowns, it became clear that colleagues can work effectively half-way across the world from each other, and across different time-zones.
Bums on seats in one room is on its way out; so long as communication policies are clearly outlined during the onboarding process, having a global workforce holds the potential to eradicate overtime or late-night shifts. More businesses are likely to realise the cost-effective benefit of having a 24-hour workday and allow workers to freely roam the globe in the future.
Employees will not only value companies that permit remote work from abroad, but also those that offer the right tools to ensure this is made easy. New software such as Every Time Zone is emerging to track employee locations and time-zones, facilitating meeting scheduling and collaborative work.
4. From the Metaverse to the outdoor wilderness
Meetings will continue to take place online, for the most part on familiar platforms such as Teams and Zoom, and later down the line, increasingly in the Metaverse – be it for work calls or happy hour drinks.
It's no surprise that after a long period of collective anxiety and burn-out, many employees are turning towards companies that support their mental health and wellbeing. The savviest businesses will be aware of this, and jump on the opportunity to combine in-person business events and wellness-focused getaways. These are a chance to connect with your team in the real world – be it through kayaking, hiking, wild swimming or mountain biking. We're expecting to see demand for corporate bookings at locations like Center Parcs surge, as companies choose to motivate and reward staff for their hard-work with nature-based breaks and weekends away.
5. Spread the word, spread the wealth
Financial education has crept up as an area that employees are interested in. As the cost of living continues to rise and energy bills skyrocket, companies can offer support at a time when it is most needed and build trust with their employees through training and workshops. Another option is to choose a partnership that offers employees access to discounted external expertise. Alternatively, software solutions are available to provide personalised coaching, financial advising and e-learning – or to track spending with apps like Mint and Quicken. Financial well-being and mental well-being go hand in hand, so ensuring that your workforce is educated on money management will be mutually beneficial.
6. Appease the financial burden of childcare
As with everything else, the cost of childcare continues to rise: after mortgage payments, childcare is the second largest monthly cost for many. NCT has calculated that the average cost of a day nursery for children under the age of two is £263 per week (50 hours of care). When factoring in holidays and annual leave, this amounts to upwards of £11,800 per year, per child.
Businesses that offer childcare subsidies, childcare vouchers (enabling parents to use part of their pre-tax salaries on childcare), or on-site childcare will naturally have better employee retention rates, with parents seeking to return after parental leave.
Understanding your candidate-base is key to attracting and retaining talent. Some professions will value certain benefits over others, and likewise priorities differ between different age-groups. One successful way of navigating this is to give employees a certain number of credits that they can use to select their own benefits and perks. As the future of work continues to take shape, with four-day weeks being the latest development, companies will need to continually revise the perks they have on offer if they wish to remain competitive. Keeping abreast of what competitors are offering can be made easier by selecting a recruiter with consultative services, who can advise on salary bands, employee benefits and help choose the right wording for any particular job description.