Employers who are knee-deep in The Great Resignation need innovative ideas, but it’s easy to get distracted by all the moving parts. These days, the employment scene must look like a pinball game to employers. A promising candidate excels in the interview process and seems likely to accept an offer, only to get lured away by a better compensation and benefits package. Existing employees decide to bounce off of the paddle to a different opportunity that looks a little flashier and more colorful.
It turns out that creative benefits are becoming employers’ best tool for combating The Great Resignation.
Companies can’t count on the incentives that used to attract new employees and keep established ones. Everything about the playing field has changed. People have a more powerful set of bargaining chips than they used to, and many of them see work life through a different lens after the pandemic years.
Several companies are thwarting The Great Resignation by thinking beyond financial incentives and traditional benefits to become a more enticing fit for employees. These aren’t short-term actions to ensure retention; these are highly innovative benefits that will make positive, long-term ripples.
Using tech to help workers improve their health
Companies can’t reasonably send a health coach to the office (or home office) of every employee who needs help, but they can put assistance in the palms of their hands in the form of digital health coaches. Effective digital health coaching plans blend video-based educational modules, comprehensive health-related content and cognitive-behavioral training to address mental health challenges, maintenance of chronic health issues such as diabetes, and more.
Digital health coaching can be a win-win for the employee and the employer alike. Providing employees with accessible help can increase productivity and reduce absenteeism.
“By creating personalized experiences and providing targeted content that appeals to different learning styles, such programs can effectively engage employees — raising the likelihood employees complete the program and achieve positive outcomes with staying power,” Clark Lagemann writes.
Customizing benefits to appeal to a spectrum of ages
Employees at different life stages have varying needs when it comes to decisions about reproductive matters, sexual health and methods of beginning their families, such as surrogacy and adoption. Carrot Fertility, whose clients include Stitch Fix and Zoom, has expanded its offerings to include services related to menopause and low testosterone.
“Employers have come to recognize that retaining that talent and making sure they’re doing everything to increase productivity and happiness of their women leaders is important to the business and the bottom line,” Carrot Fertility co-founder and CEO Tammy Sun says, noting that a significant number of female leaders, often in mid-career, are at the time in their lives when they are experiencing perimenopause and menopause. Adding creative benefits that match their current needs can keep employees on board.
Ensuring front-line workers have equal access to education benefits
Tuition reimbursement programs have typically been the most help to employees who were financially secure enough to pay for their ongoing education needs and wait to be paid back. As the nation shifts to a different perspective on college degrees, some employers are realizing that they are missing an opportunity to empower a broader array of employees to pursue more education, which ends up helping everyone in the long run.
It’s much easier for a front-line worker to enroll in an educational program if they don’t have to pay out of pocket to get the process started.
“With 48% of American workers telling Gallup that they’d be ready to switch to a new job if offered skills training opportunities, the value of the debt-free education program in terms of brand name, talent attraction, and employee retention is hard to overstate,” Natalie McCullough of Guild Education and Lorraine Stomski of Walmart write.
The most cutting-edge benefits won’t displace the importance of culture
These three examples show how companies can be perceptive about the needs of their employees, and how they can throw aside restrictive conventional ideas in favor of novel concepts that can make a difference in people’s lives. However, a toxic corporate culture will overshadow even the most attractive of benefit options.
Definitely go out and find ways to help your employees live healthy lives, properly compensated, with opportunities to become more competent, educated professionals. But never forget that the intangible reward of a culture that makes it a pleasure to be at work every day will be what keeps them with you the longest.
Paula Kiger is the vice president of special projects at Digimentors, a social media consultancy. She was previously the nonprofit sector editor at SmartBrief. You can find her at her blog Big Green Pen, on Instagram, at LinkedIn and on Twitter.
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