How do you reward your organization’s top performers? What attracts talented candidates to your business? Do you know what your company’s personnel weigh before deciding to stay with you or take another position at a competing firm? Those are questions every HR director should be asking. Cost management, benefit allocation, and talent retention are primary considerations for HR teams, but there’s a disconnect sometimes between what employees and employers consider important.
In a Q1 survey about compensation planning from Buck Consultants, employers planned a 3 percent share of the budget for merit increases in 2016. The push to retain top talent while still keeping compensation costs low puts the squeeze on HR directors to do more with less. Align your benefits with what your best and brightest employees want, and you keep them with you while maintaining low costs.
Have a Conversation
Your best way of determining what employees want from their benefits is simple: Just ask them. Whether they love an extensive range of healthcare options, higher-than-average salaries, generous merit pay, flexibility toward telecommuting, or appealing retirement benefits, employees aren’t shy about telling you what they feel is the most important facet of compensation for them. If your workplace is young, for example, maternity and paternity leave plans could be a high priority for them; if they’re more mature, retirement plans are probably a greater incentive.
Do Your Homework
Understanding your industry is key to offering competitive salaries and benefits. Your employees can tell you what they like, but you also need to know the standards of your organization’s competition in detail. How wide is the compensation range in your industry? If it’s narrow, you could attract talented candidates with only a modest boost to starting salaries. Careful study of your competitors’ compensation packages can reveal areas in which they’re under-serving their personnel; by offering benefits they don’t, you attract star performers your way.
Let Them Invest
Employees don’t connect with the organization as deeply as they could when they aren’t invested in it. Give them an opportunity to invest in what they do through an employee stock ownership program or just through having a voice in company-wide decisions. The more invested they are in your organization, both financially and personally, the more likely employees are to remain loyal. Investment goes beyond ESOPs; it also applies to setting policies and guidelines. Give employees a voice in the organization, and they’ll invest their time and energy in it.
Move Beyond Money
Financial rewards are always welcome, but they aren’t the only motivator for employees. Becoming more flexible about work times and telecommuting will make your organization much more attractive, especially to younger workers who tend to prioritize work-life balance. Public recognition costs little but means a great deal to star employees – and potentially to talented job candidates who are eager to work for a company that recognizes its best. Making the office itself more appealing also matters more than you might think; adding a fitness room or rearranging work spaces to provide more opportunities for personalization won’t cost you much but will show prospective hires that your organization puts its people first.