The talent wars are real, and tech workers aren’t the only ones affected. Thanks to remote work and globalized opportunity, anyone can do almost any job from anywhere. This universal free-for-all makes it tough for companies and candidates alike. If you want your business to stand out and attract top talent, you not only have to beat other businesses in your area, but also every business (in your industry or otherwise) with a need for the same kinds of skills.
Even worse, you can’t stop once you reel in the right candidates. With headhunters and new opportunities around every corner, you must also retain your best workers if you want your business to thrive. This challenge may seem steep, but by offering a comprehensive suite of benefits, you can prevent other companies from swooping in and stealing the best and brightest talent from you.
Here are some of the top benefits to offer employees so they’ll stick around:
1. Retirement Savings Accounts
Younger generations have finally started to heed the advice of their elders when it comes to saving for the future. Retirement options may not be the flashiest benefit, but people still want companies to help them sock away cash for the future. Small business 401(k) plans with low fees that are easy to use appeal to employees of all ages. Match contributions if you can, but even if you only offer access to the plan, employees will appreciate the tax advantages.
2. Student Loan Help
According to Credit.com, people in the United States currently hold about $1.52 trillion in student loan debt. The average person is more than $31,000 in the hole and makes payments of nearly $400 per month. Those figures take a huge chunk of change away from young graduates looking to establish their financial security, so give them a hand with student loan repayment help. You don’t have to wipe away all their debt, but a bit of extra help toward loan payments can make a major difference in your employees’ budgets and happiness.
3. Above-Market Healthcare
Employees want health insurance more than any other benefit, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute. Marketplace options may be enough for some, but growing families and individuals who prefer more comprehensive coverage often only consider jobs that offer good healthcare plans. Adding these plans to your package can be expensive, but decent healthcare could make the difference between hiring the best of the best and hiring no one at all.
4. Useful Time Off
Every employee who’s worked a part-time job has dealt with frustrating leave policies. Managers who refuse to approve leave requests and accrual policies that never seem to fill up PTO banks have driven more than a few employees into the arms of new companies. Offer PTO to your workers; more importantly, make sure they use it. People who take regular breaks are happier at their jobs than their workaholic counterparts.
5. Relevant Remote Work Policies
If your employees can work remotely, let them. Not only do remote work policies save you money on office space, but employees increasingly view remote work as a necessity in the modern era. Buffer’s State of Remote Report found that a whopping 99% of employees would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. At this point, if you don’t offer remote policies, most top candidates won’t even consider you.
6. Childcare and Parental Leave
Not all small business employees are jet-setting young Millennials and Zoomers with dreams of a digital nomad’s life. As your company grows, so will its workforce, and that means more people with families and childcare needs will begin to fill your desks. Parents face unique challenges at work, so make life a little easier on them by offering parental leave during the early days and childcare assistance in the years to come. When they know they can depend on you to help take care of their children, they won’t even listen when recruiters come calling.
7. Personal Development Opportunities
Your best employees want to get better. Give them the tools they need to do so by investing in their personal development. Send workers to at least one conference a year. If they want to take online courses, give them the money and the time to do so. A few employers worry about training employees, only to have them leave for greener pastures — but consider the alternative. What happens if you don’t train them and they stay, anyway? You want an educated and happy workforce, and the only way to get one is to put some resources toward building it within.
Not many employees prioritize kegs and ping-pong tables in the break room. Serious applicants want benefits that provide real value to their lives. Give them what they want, and keep an eye out for new opportunities to invest in your team. The more respect and help you give them, the more energy and passion they’ll bring in return.