With massive layoffs and hiring freezes, companies must prioritize employee retention to maintain a skilled and experienced workforce.
This article was first published on March 24, 2023, by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.
Employee retention will continue to be a hot topic as move forward in 2023. Although the workplace continues to churn out new buzzwords—from the Great Resignation to the Great Regret, Quiet Quitting, and now the Great Breakup—attracting and retaining talent has never been more important.
One way to retain and attract top talent is by offering comprehensive benefits and compensation packages. In fact, Forbes Advisor found that 40% of workers would leave their current job to find employment that offers better benefits.
Furthermore, despite recent massive layoffs at Twitter, Amazon, and Google—and fears of a global recession—about 61% of American workers are thinking about quitting in 2023, according to LinkedIn.
Here’s what she had to say.
Given the economic landscape, why is employee retention important?
SA: With the massive layoffs and hiring freezes, companies must prioritize employee retention to maintain a skilled and experienced workforce. Employee turnover can also be costly, and each employee departure costs about one-third of that worker’s annual earnings, including expenses such as recruiter fees, temporary replacement workers, and lost productivity, according to the Work Institute.
Additionally, employee retention can help to build a positive organizational culture, foster teamwork and collaboration, and enhance employee engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction. Therefore, organizations must implement strategies that improve employee engagement, job satisfaction, and well-being. One way of doing this is by offering a wide range of benefits beyond basic benefits such as vacation days, 401(k) plans, and health insurance.
What kind of benefits can companies offer employees to reduce attrition and improve employee retention?
SA: According to an employee satisfaction survey, 78% of employees said they are more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefits program. That means companies need to make their offerings attractive by going beyond standard benefit offerings and implementing programs that address every life stage. For example, to support working parents, companies can put in place comprehensive family-friendly benefits like expanding paid family leave, childcare, family building, and elderly care assistance.
Additionally, for employees who are single parents or those navigating a divorce or separation, employees can offer programs to help them navigate life after divorce or separation. These benefits can help employees feel valued and supported by their organization, which can increase their engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction. Ultimately, offering a range of benefits that meet the diverse needs of employees can be highly effective in reducing attrition and creating a positive workplace culture, helping organizations achieve their business objectives.
With a focus on more inclusive workplaces, what types of benefits are employers not even thinking of or missing from their benefits package?
SA: It’s important for employers to reconsider traditional benefits packages in order to be more inclusive of all their groups of employees. Specifically, companies need to recognize that employees have different needs at different stages in their lives. For example, single, divorced, or recently separated parents account for a large percentage of employees, but there’s a huge gap in benefits for this group of employees. Companies need to provide holistic benefits that meet the needs of different family structures to ensure their unique needs are met.
Providing comprehensive benefits for every life stage shows that companies value their employees and are committed to supporting their well-being throughout their careers and in turn create a more supportive and engaging work environment. In addition to benefits that support employees who are single or divorced, companies can offer eldercare support, retirement planning, and financial wellness programs. Additionally, offering affordable benefits that are accessible to all employees, regardless of their income level, can help to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace, where everyone feels valued and supported.
With a recession looming and companies tightening their budgets, is there a way companies can deliver unique benefits while demonstrating ROI?
SA: There are many ways companies can deliver unique benefits during an economic downturn when budgets may be tighter. One way to do this is by implementing cost-effective benefits that have a high impact on employee well-being, satisfaction, and retention. By implementing cost-effective benefits that have a measurable impact on employee well-being and business outcomes, organizations can demonstrate clear ROI and maintain a competitive edge, even in challenging economic conditions.
Why are we seeing record-high turnover rates?
SA: Organizations are seeing high turnover rates for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons has been the competitive job market, and many employees have the ability to be selective about their employment choices. In fact, a recent McKinsey & Company survey found that respondents showed a consistently high desire for work that is better paying, more satisfying, or both, as well as a conviction that they can find better jobs elsewhere. The high turnover rates have made it more challenging for organizations to retain top talent, particularly in industries where there are labor shortages.
Additionally, employee burnout is at an all-time high, and this has had significant implications for working parents in particular. A recent national survey by the childcare provider Bright Horizons found that 90% of working parents are stressed at their jobs and three in five (61%) described their stress as overwhelming. Without adequate support such as flexible working hours, parental leave, benefits that support mental and financial well-being, and childcare assistance, employees may be forced to choose between their job and their family obligations, ultimately leading to burnout and job dissatisfaction. As a result, many organizations are now recognizing the importance of providing supportive benefits to attract and retain top talent, improve employee morale, increase job satisfaction, and ultimately enhance overall organizational performance.
Are there any factors contributing to burnout or job dissatisfaction among employees?
SA: Burnout and job dissatisfaction should be significant concerns for employers. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report found that 50% of workers reported feeling stressed at their jobs daily, and 60% reported being emotionally detached at work. The pandemic led to an increase in remote work, and while many companies have returned to the office or are operating on a hybrid model, the lines between work and home are blurred.
Additionally, with the current economic climate, companies are reducing their workforce, leading to employees taking on extra responsibilities and working longer hours. This can lead to a lack of work-life balance and high levels of stress, which can contribute to job dissatisfaction. This is even more significant for working parents who face the challenge of balancing their work responsibilities with their family commitments. Overall, it is essential for organizations to prioritize the mental health and well-being of their employees, by providing adequate support and resources that foster a work-life balance.
“Providing comprehensive benefits for every life stage shows that companies value their employees and are committed to supporting their well-being throughout their careers and in turn create a more supportive and engaging work environment.”
Sheri Atwood, CEO and founder, SupportPay
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One survey found that 40% of workers would leave their current job to find employment that offers better benefits.
As companies reduce workforce, employees are taking on extra responsibilities and longer hours, which can contribute to job dissatisfaction.
Employers should reconsider traditional benefits packages to be more inclusive of all their groups of employees.