Recruitment and retention of talent is important whether you’re facing a global pandemic, a looming recession, a hot job market, or another headwind. But raising wages isn’t always an option and we’re here to tell you: that’s ok. 

You don’t have to raise wages to get and keep good people. Why? Because wages are not the most important factor when it comes to recruitment and retention. Research has shown that people want to feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged for their contribution; for who they are. People want to feel seen at their jobs and companies that can accomplish this see a higher lift in retention than those that simply raise wages.

So how do you make your employees feel valued, appreciated and acknowledged? You offer benefits that help solve the challenges they face, you communicate those benefits in a way that allows employees to see their value, you engage your employees on a human level, and you measure your efforts to see what’s been successful and what hasn’t.

Offer the Right Benefits

Benefits are the second most important factor when candidates choose a job and trust and engagement with the company are among the most important reasons they stay. And since utilization of benefits is one of the most important ways employees engage with a company, it’s important to put together the right benefits package for your employees. This is how you do that:  

  1. Regularly survey your employees. You can ask them the specifics like: “Do you want a PPO or an HMO?” but don’t stop there. Ask them about their emotions and behavioral factors as well. Ask questions like, “How much stress do you feel in your everyday life?” And, “What are your top concerns for your goals for the next year?” By asking broader questions about employees’ lives, stressors and emotional states, you can craft a benefits package that will bring real value to their lives. This will increase their trust that the company cares about them and increase their engagement with the company by ensuring they use the benefits that are being offered.
  2. Simplify your benefits. At Icon, we’ve seen that people across the income spectrum (even those at the lowest end) will save for retirement if the savings program is easy to use and understand as well as automatic. So audit your benefits offerings and ask yourself, “Have we provided a way for people to automatically save for their future?” And, “Is our benefits portal easy to use and understand?” 
  3. Give them a way to save. Financial stress is at an all time high with 73% of employees reporting that they feel this type of stress on a regular basis. It contributes to absenteeism and presenteeism (where people are present at work but not productive) which costs companies an estimated $4.7 billion per week. By giving employees an easy, low-cost, and automatic way to save for their future, like with an Icon Savings Plan, you can help them get on solid financial footing and lower that stress. 
  4. Make sure you’re not paying too much. The cost of offering different benefits will vary depending on the benefit type and the size of your company. But the average 50 person company shouldn’t pay more than $2,500-3,000 annually to offer a retirement savings plan. Icon’s retirement savings plan is the most affordable way to offer your employees a retirement benefit.

Increasing or changing your benefits offerings might seem like it adds to your operational costs, but each employee you lose will cost the company between 6 and 9 months’ salary (on average) to replace them. So if you can keep more people by adding a benefit they value, it could actually save you money in the long run.

Communicate Those Benefits Clearly

Sometimes employee satisfaction with (and utilization of) benefits is low because your people haven’t made the connection between the benefit itself and the value it can bring to their lives. One of the easiest and low-cost ways to help them make that connection is to change how you communicate about your offerings. You want your communication around your benefits package to be:

  1. Clear, using jargon-free language.
  2. In a medium that works for their demographic. Options are digital resources, physical brochures, live events, etc.
  3. Connected to the emotional, human side of the benefit.
  4. Use testimonials and case studies when you can.

At Icon, we offer the full spectrum of communication materials so that when we onboard a new customer, we can meet their communication needs. We infuse our communications with behavioral finance research and simple messaging to drive home the value of the benefit. This improves retention efforts because it:

  1. Increases employee trust. When employees make the connection between the benefit they’re being offered and the value it will bring to their lives, they feel more supported. This builds trust that their employer cares about them.
  2. Increases engagement with the employer. Utilization of benefits is one of the most important ways employees engage with their employer. By helping employees to make the connection between the benefit they’re being offered and the value it will bring, you can increase the likelihood they’ll use it. 

Engage with Employees on a Human Level

Research has shown that the greatest lift in retention can come from simply making their employees feel appreciated and acknowledged for the contributions they’re making. This appreciation and acknowledgement can have a financial component (e.g. a bonus), but it doesn’t have to. Here are some non-financial ways to engage with your employees:

  1. Have one-on-one meetings with employees on a quarterly basis. Don’t let it just be a performance review, but ask them how they’re doing as well as how the company can support them.
  2. Show empathy for their lifestyle needs. This might look like scheduling their shifts for locations or times that are better for them, or allowing them to work from home on certain days. 
  3. Give public acknowledgement of a job well done. This could include shout-outs in Slack or the monthly company newsletter. It could be starting an “Employee of the Week” award. Think about your company culture and choose a way to publicly acknowledge your employees’ accomplishments (both professional and personal) in a way that makes sense.

Measure Your Efforts 

To make sure your efforts are successful, you’ll want to track certain metrics. These include:

  1. Number and quality of applicants per job posting.
  2. Ratio of applicants to booked interviews.
  3. Job acceptance rate.
  4. Average tenure.
  5. Turnover rate.

Bottom Line

If you want to improve your recruitment and retention efforts, you have to make your employees feel supported, valued and acknowledged. You can do this by offering benefits that your employees value, helping them to utilize those benefits with clear and effective communication and regularly engaging with them. If you’re looking for a cost-effective, retirement savings benefit your employees will truly value, reach out today.

Interested in improving your business's recruitment and retention without increasing costs?

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