By Tom Weatherman for the Nashville Business Journal | December 2015
Viewing the U.S. economy through a bi-partisan lens, most employers will agree that the business environment is far more optimistic than it was even a year ago. There is a momentum and sense of purpose that has re-energized — particularly in Middle Tennessee — local companies to begin aggressively pursuing opportunities for growth.
That shift has also changed the way employers are evaluating their employee benefit packages. In the recession, employees accepted reduced benefits as the cost for survival. Not so anymore. Employers who wish to remain competitive in terms of recruiting and retaining top-tier professionals will also have to be more aggressive when it comes to the bigger benefit compensation picture.
At the most fundamental stage, a solid benefits package sends a message to your employees that you value the contribution they make not only to your organization’s revenue streams, but also to the overall culture of the company. Informed human resource directors who live on the front lines of the employee-employer relationship will attest to this.
If you are undercutting the quality of the benefits that you provide, you are also hindering the vitality and motivation of the very people you depend upon to propel your business forward.
As they relate to recruitment, benefits tell a broader story about your organization. In the wake of an extremely shaky job market, applicants are looking for competitive salaries, but they are also looking for security. They need reassurance that their employer is committed to building a strong workforce with a solid foundation. A well-structured benefit program tells the applicant that you want them on your team, and you’re willing to invest in them to prove it.
Your company can still grow without a robust benefits package, but the chance of retaining the very best talent is slim. A hiring strategy that does not include benefits will more than likely result in a firing exercise when lesser qualified applicants do not meet the challenge, or jump ship for an opportunity that provides more incentive. According to Glassdoor and Randstad, employee benefits coupled with salary are the most important components to job seekers.
Economic realities are just that. But every good business owner knows that a key factor for stabilization during tougher economic cycles is a loyal employee base that inherently wants the company to succeed in both the short- and the long-term. Benefits play a significant role in fostering that attitude toward a job.
Most professionals have no problem putting in extra time and effort if they feel their employer has their best interest at heart, and ultimately delivers through investments that contribute to a more meaningful quality of life for employees. Conversely, if benefits are not in the picture, or reserved only for senior management, employees may feel expendable, and subsequently, will always have one eye on the Emergency Exit.
A good employee benefits package should not necessarily be considered a mandate for every company. After all, it’s a significant investment on the part of the employer and should be earned accordingly.
However, understand that foregoing benefits all together hobbles your ability to attract top talent, and sends a less-than-positive message to those professionals you want to keep. Investigating a benefits program that works for your organization is worth the time and the effort, and in the end, will likely pay culture, recruitment, and retention dividends.