Employees are the mainstay of every business. How then do you get yours to stay with your organisation in the long term? An excellent place to start with boosting employee retention is to offer jobs with great benefits.
Keeping employees long-term is something most businesses strive for. Workers who stay with a company become more valuable over time as they pick up new skills and hone their abilities. They bring a level of experience to the table that newer employees cannot match. Not only that, but the process of finding new staff members is time-consuming and costly.
Employee retention plays a significant role in the success of every business. While bringing in new blood is important too, retaining a core, dedicated workforce is critical. Employees who have been with your company for an extended period of time add great value, and it’s up to employers to recognise this.
Why benefits drive employee retention
People leave jobs for several reasons, one of which is working for an employer who believes a salary is the only way of keeping their staff members engaged and fulfilled.
Appreciation and recognition go a long way to keeping employees happy, and there are more ways to show that than through a decent pay cheque. Benefits over and above pay play a huge role in attracting staff and keeping them.
So, why do employees stay in jobs with great benefits? We’ve put together a list of what benefits are most valued and how they keep employees dedicated to their jobs.
Benefit: healthcare and disability insurance
One of the biggest worries people deal with today is affording healthcare for themselves and their loved ones. The cost of seeing medical professionals, buying medication, and paying for hospital stays has been climbing steadily—sometimes exponentially—over the years.
Contributions to healthcare in the form of medical insurance or medical aid are very attractive to employees. Surveys have shown that many workers would rather take health insurance as a benefit than get a pay raise.
The types of plans employers offer may vary, with some offering comprehensive cover and dental, while others provide basic care. The more comprehensive the plan, the more likely an employee will recognise it as a valuable perk that adds value to their life and boosts job satisfaction.
It’s also a major stress relief to know that someone’s got your back when times are tough, a medical emergency arises, or an accident occurs. It’s these moments when money should be the least of all worries, but having medical cover in place can literally be life-saving.
Another desirable health-related benefit is disability insurance, which means that an employee is still cared for even if they become disabled. This offers significant peace of mind for employees who spend time travelling or working in high-risk conditions.
But it’s also an attractive benefit for those who realise that the future is not always as expected. The feeling of security that comes from that knowledge is impossible to overstate.
Benefit: paid leave and paid sick leave
Some people work because they’ve found their calling, but many work for a salary that keeps them alive and hopefully enables them to have fun in their time off. Getting a decent amount of paid leave every year is very important for most, if not all, employees—even if they’re working remotely.
Self-employed people often find themselves losing out on holidays simply because if they’re not working, they’re not getting paid. They miss those jobs with great benefits on offer elsewhere.
Paid leave allows employees to get adequate rest and have a real break from the workplace. The more paid leave on offer, the more likely employees will stay with a company long-term. They’ll know that time off isn’t a problem and that the opportunity to recharge properly is available to them. As employees rise through the ranks, their annual paid leave days should also increase within reason.
Paid sick leave is equally important. Employees really value bosses who encourage them to take care of their health and are more likely to stay in positions when this is the case. Not being paid when taking time off sick can exacerbate the situation, as employees will feel added stress.
They’ll also be more likely to come to work while ill, potentially passing on germs and infecting their co-workers. In the age of Covid-19, paid sick leave is especially important. It prevents employees from spreading the virus and allows them to take adequate time to recover properly.
Benefit: pension plans
Just like healthcare benefits and disability insurance, contributions to a pension plan reassures employees they’ll get taken care of when they’re no longer able to work. When people start out in the working world, it can be hard to think ahead and imagine what life will be like in a few decades. However, as they get older, planning for the future becomes increasingly important.
While employees entering the workforce may not find pension plans that appealing, those who have been in the working world for a few more years will.
Having an employer who contributes to a pension fund is invaluable, and it’s even better if they offer some education on the topic. Not everyone understands how pension plans work, and a training session that educates employees can help tremendously. Once employees understand how the company is helping them save for the future, they’ll appreciate the benefit wholly.
Benefit: skills training and support for further education
Many people enter the workforce without tertiary education, whether due to choice or financial restrictions. Such employees are often keen to further their studies, so being offered paid training by an employer is extremely attractive.
Employers who offer in-house training are always seen in a positive light, but support for further education doesn’t only have to be in the workplace. Employers can assist employees with work back agreements and the like, allowing them to study at a tertiary institution. Allowing additional study leave is also a major benefit that many businesses provide for those furthering their education.
Employees feel appreciated when their potential is seen and nurtured, and providing opportunities to upskill and/or study further is the best way to do just that. People are drawn to roles that can lead to personal and professional growth. They’re much more likely to stay loyal to a business that supports them through that process.
Benefit: at-work perks
There’s an endless number of ways in which companies can give their employees some TLC—from the traditional contributions, to a retirement fund, to offering little “extras” in the office that make work a more pleasurable experience. Google has become famous for its at-work perks.
Their “campuses” feature everything—from scooters to zip around on, to themed meeting rooms, massages, free food, and books. They have aimed to make the workplace as enjoyable as possible and stimulate employees’ creativity, as they have every creature comfort available at all times.
Employers don’t need to go to the same lengths as Google, as the budget for these benefits is enormous. There are, however, many more cost-effective options that are appealing to a vast number of people. Perks could include making the office pet-friendly, offering free coffee and doughnuts, or even the option for a nap room—a perk enjoyed by employees of Hootsuite.
Benefit: work-life balance
Balancing a full-time job with family, friends, and leisure activities is difficult even for the most organised people. Busy lifestyles have become a symptom of modern living, and they can take their toll. Many businesses don’t consider this, so employees gravitate towards employers who accept that life outside of work is crucial.
As things stand, it’s unrealistic to expect companies to cut down working hours without also slashing salaries. But there are many benefits appreciated by employees that make their life outside work more manageable.
Some workplaces offer free or subsidised child care, while others have on-site gyms or fitness centres so that employees don’t need to struggle with keeping active and in shape. No matter how much they love their jobs, employees are unlikely to stick around if they have no time for a life outside of work.
Benefit: paid parental leave
Not everyone wants children, but for those who do, it’s important to know that your employer will look after you when the time comes. This is important not just for mothers but for expectant fathers too.
A reasonable amount of maternity and/or paternity leave is essential for parents to take care of a new baby (or older child, in some cases of adoption). There are many places where paid maternity leave is written into the constitution.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), founded in 1919, has set out guidelines to encourage businesses to provide parents with adequate time off—and enough pay to tide them over. For young people who know they want to start a family, having the assurance of paid parental leave is a huge drawcard.
It’s unlikely that people will stay in jobs that don’t cater to their needs nor recognise the importance of having a family.
Benefit: performance bonuses
Employees in every industry appreciate financial rewards for their hard work. Research has shown that many workers value benefits and on-the-job perks just as much as a salary increase.
By offering distinct monetary incentives, a company can keep employees engaged. Employees who see their company do well and are rewarded accordingly will feel like they’re contributing to the overall success in a tangible way.
Knowing that you’re working towards a goal in the form of a financial bonus can motivate a person to perform their job more efficiently. Some companies opt for annual bonuses, while others award them on a project basis or profit share system. However these benefits are awarded, they’ll encourage retention and drive productivity if they’re a regular feature.
It’s clear that employees gravitate towards jobs that make them feel valued and heard, which is why benefits are important.
Some benefits, such as healthcare, disability, paid, sick, and parental leave, and pension, focus on employee well-being. While others, such as skills training and performance bonuses, offer different kinds of investments in employees. Work-life balance and at-work perks make employee’s day-to-day lives more enjoyable and drive workplace satisfaction too.
Not every business will offer every benefit, and it isn’t realistic to expect them to. But even those that offer one or two should see an increase in employee satisfaction and retention.
These days, just a paycheque isn’t always enough to keep employees happy in the long run. So many people are looking for something more. They want to know that their company really values them and puts them first. Inspiring loyalty requires employers to care for their workers—a win-win situation.
About the Author
Karen Bradford is an editor with a passion for the written word, usually covering topics around productivity and employee engagement. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing puzzle games or challenging herself in an Escape Room.