How to Make Your Employee Benefits Plan 'People-Centric'

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Posted by: CMR June 8, 2022 No Comments

As we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Enlightenment and Great Resignation are forcing employers to transform their talent attraction and retention strategies. Talent is in the driver’s seat, and their expectations for their employers have changed drastically as they adapted to new ways of working. Businesses adopted hybrid and remote work models that have accelerated digital transformation, switched to asynchronous work arrangements featuring more flexible work options, and increased the utilization of contingent talent to address labor shortages at a time when American workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers

The ongoing labor shortage and widening skills gap continues to pose huge challenges for organizations struggling to attract and retain talent. As a result, companies are prioritizing people-centric workforce strategies that offer more flexibility — from benefit offerings to work arrangements — to attract and retain great talent. 

Why talent strategies must put people first
According to Randstad Sourceright’s 2022 Talent Trends Report, 1 in 4 human capital leaders say talent scarcity is one of their major pain points, and more than half (53%) are still planning to hire extensively this year. If they expect to meet their hiring demands, organizations must recognize that they cannot simply go back to the old ways of working. If they want to stand out to talent, they’ll need to understand what candidates and employees expect from them and adjust accordingly. 

Most employers surveyed in the 2022 Talent Trends research (73%) agree that job applicants value organizations that put personal well-being first when it comes to company culture. This is critical given workers have reassessed the role that work plays in their lives. According to Randstad’s Workmonitor worker sentiment survey, 51% of workers say their stress levels have increased during the pandemic, and as a result, 73% feel empowered to make positive changes to their work-life balance, and 77% say they are looking for more flexibility in their jobs and careers. 

Even though organizations know what they need to do to attract and retain talent, there continues to be a disconnect between theory and practice for some. According to the Talent Trends research, just 45% say their talent acquisition strategy is more about value creation than about achieving savings. This comes at a time when 36% also say they’re experiencing higher than normal recruiting costs, and 1 in 4 talent leaders report talent scarcity has negatively impacted profitability at their organizations. 

Understanding the expectations of talent and investing in their well-being helps create long-term value; happier workers are more productive, more likely to stay and will drive business growth. So how can you meet those expectations?

Flexible benefits and work arrangements are key differentiators
According to the 2022 Talent Trends research, 86% of talent leaders say flexible working arrangements are helping them overcome talent scarcity. This may mean offering remote and hybrid working options, job sharing, part-time options, and more flexible schedules and hours overall.  

Additionally, many organizations are recharging and refreshing their talent strategies by offering creative benefits designed to improve work-life balance and differentiate themselves from competitors who are offering similar salaries. This can include offerings ranging from unlimited or mandatory time-off policies to more unconventional options like mental health benefits, wellness or lifestyle stipends, childcare assistance, and fertility benefits. 

Some companies are even offering benefits to help make their employees’ lives easier, like house cleaning and meal delivery services, for example. Packaging these benefits into flexible menus from which people can select their preferred perks can help employees feel in control and valued at the organization. 

Create opportunities for growth and mobility
To combat talent scarcity, future proof their workforce and help employees achieve their own professional development goals, organizations are also taking a more flexible approach to learning. Some are looking for ways to offer more robust reskilling and upskilling opportunities to employees, which allows workers to invest in themselves and achieve a greater sense of purpose at work and creates greater opportunities for internal mobility. In fact, in the 2022 Talent Trends research, 75% of employers cited reskilling and upskilling as an effective approach against the talent scarcity challenge.

Employee feedback is crucial to a people-centric talent strategy
It is crucial that organizations don’t simply expand their benefit offerings in a vacuum or assume what people would value most. At the center of a truly people-centric, empathetic workforce strategy is listening and responding to worker sentiment. That’s why 56% of businesses say they are investing in employee feedback and engagement systems this year. Regularly surveying  employees at all levels, and seriously considering their feedback, is the best way to gauge what employees want when it comes to working arrangements, benefits and professional development. 

Following the major disruption of the past two years, people have set a new bar for the way they expect to work and be treated by their employers. Companies that respond by creating a culture of empathy, flexibility and trust that extends to all parts of the talent experience will successfully attract and retain skilled, in-demand professionals moving forward. 

Businesses have an opportunity to adapt following the pandemic; this won’t be the last challenge they face. But those that put people at the center of their business growth strategies and create a culture where employees feel they are truly valued will weather future storms, whatever they may be. 

Source – BenefitNews.com

CMR Employee Benefit Services

Author: CMR

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