A company’s strength lies in its employees, which is why consistent retention is necessary. When an employee leaves, workflows are disrupted, and crucial institutional memory is lost. Having to backfill roles after a string of employee exits is a costly proposition that companies would do well to avoid. Unfortunately, the past year has been a tough one for workplace continuity. As the staff you’ve retained begin to return to the office, it’s time to entice them to stay. In this article, we’ll discuss benefits that could improve retention of your most valuable company resource.
1 Retirement Benefits
Your employees are planning for their futures, and you want those futures to include your company. Show this by offering benefits that reward longevity. Retirement plans are robust recruiting and retention tools, as they prove commitment to an employee over the long term. Companies of any size can provide retirement benefits in some form. Consider everything from a small business 401(k) plan to a defined benefit plan, and choose what works best for your business. Demonstrating an investment in your employees’ futures will encourage them to invest in yours.
Alongside retirement benefits, healthcare benefits are the long-standing heavyweights of staff retention. People get sick, and accidents happen, so covering health costs is in front of everyone’s minds — especially after last year. Show that you understand by offering robust healthcare benefits. You likely already offer some health insurance, but consider ways to beef it up. Do you need to add dental or vision coverage? Would a health savings account be helpful to your employees? The rising cost of healthcare is a hot topic, so do your part to alleviate concerns by offering comprehensive health benefits. Your employees will thank you for remaining part of the team.
3 Flexible Hours
There are some hurdles a good health plan can’t help your staff overcome. Consider the 2020 Women in the Workplace report. It found that one-quarter of the women surveyed were thinking about leaving the workforce or scaling back their careers. That wasn’t due to a lack of retirement or healthcare benefits. It was because their work schedules didn’t mesh with other life commitments. Incorporating flexible hours into your benefits offerings will encourage staff of all genders to stay with your business. Staff can work when it makes sense for them (within reason) and retain your seasoned employees.
4 Remote Work
An alternative to flexible hours is flexible location. Over the past year, your employees have likely demonstrated an ability to work from home. If the arrangement has been largely successful for you, consider making it a permanent benefit. As the pandemic wanes, don’t damage employee relationships by expecting an immediate full-time return to the office. Maintaining these relationships is paramount to employee retention. So explore what WFH options may work for you long term, and trust your employees to get their jobs done.
5 Paid Time Off
Even with flexible schedules and remote work, you’ll want to make sure your time off benefits are attractive. Explore what options may be a good fit for your team beyond minimum vacation and sick leave. Some large companies have found success with unlimited vacation time, although that’s not necessarily workable for every business. An excellent place to start is to abandon labeled “vacation time” and “sick leave” and move to a PTO system. PTO encourages staff to take time when they need it, whether to nurse a cold or take a vacation. The ability to take time off will help lower employee burnout and bolster your retention efforts. Plus, these benefits will appeal to recruits, too.
6 Mental Health Assistance
Burnout is just one mental health issue your employees may be facing. Take some time to consider how your benefits support staff mental health. If you’re not currently doing anything in this line, now is the time to make a change. Look into implementing an Employee Assistance Program, which can help you identify workers who may be struggling. Make sure mental health services are covered through your health insurance. These are the kind of benefits younger workers are looking for, and offering them will encourage such workers to stay with your company.
7 Physical Health and Fitness
Along with paying attention to mental health, supporting the physical health of your employees can increase retention. Employees will be less likely to leave due to health problems and will appreciate the assistance. Adding physical health benefits to your existing package can be pretty straightforward. Work with a local gym to secure a discounted rate for your staff. Provide healthy snack options alongside less healthy ones. Provide sit-stand desks and space for people to get up and walk around. All of these will be seen as investments in your staff, and they’ll invest in you in return.
8 Professional Development
Today it’s less common for people to stay with a company for several years — to say nothing of their entire careers. Often, the culprit is a lack of growth opportunities. If you want your employees to stick around for the long haul, encourage them with professional development opportunities. Provide training or shadowing with higher-level staff. Encourage attendance at conferences. Incentivize earning certifications in their field. Knowing they have a chance to grow and move beyond their current role will encourage your staff to stick around.
In some cases, what prevents career growth can’t be attributed to the workplace. Your employees may not have the education they need to move forward in their field. Please encourage them to stay with you as they pursue their degrees by offering education benefits, such as tuition assistance or reimbursements. These benefits can offset the high cost of earning a degree, removing a barrier to educational attainment. If tuition help doesn’t work for your budget, consider partnering with a local community college. Many provide the sort of training that would be relevant to your staff. Because their courses are often offered at times that won’t conflict with the workday, your team members will be better able to attend.
10 Family-Focused Benefits
Many times, the most significant barrier to employee retention is time. Life comes with a lot of commitments outside of work, and people have to make difficult choices. Ease some of this difficulty by introducing family-focused benefits. These benefits could include onsite daycare or, less ambitiously, assistance with daycare costs. Paid leave when a child is born, a family member dies, or a relative requires care are equally beneficial. Employees who feel supported by their employers in all areas of their lives are more likely to stay committed to the company.
These probably seem like a lot of benefits to offer. However, you can start slow and choose the ones that make the most sense for your company right now. Even adding one or two will have a positive impact on employee retention. As you add more over time, you’ll create the kind of workplace that will attract hard-working staff fully committed to your company.