How Do Your Benefits Match Up?

As more and more employers are turning to benefits to keep and attract talent, here's a look at some of the benefits organizations are adopting.

As wages in the United States have remained largely stagnant, many organizations are turning to benefits to recruit and retain talent.

Nearly 40 percent of HR professionals recently surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) said they leveraged benefits in the past 12 months to recruit employees at all levels. That may not seem surprising until you consider that only 26 percent of employers were leveraging benefits to recruit employees in 2013.

One-third of surveyed HR professionals also used benefits to help retain employees in the last year, as opposed to 18 percent who did so in 2013.

“While the competition for talented workers has heated up, there has been little change in base salaries,” Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs, said in a statement. “So HR has strategically turned to benefits to attract—and keep—skilled professionals. From unlimited vacation to unusual perks such as electric car charging stations, companies are using benefits to set themselves apart from the competition.”

Healthcare, compared to retirement savings and leave, was the most influential benefit when it comes to keeping and recruiting employees, according to SHRM’s “2015 Strategic Benefits Survey.” Eight-four percent of HR professionals reported using healthcare benefits to attract talent, while 80 percent reported using them to keep employees.

Given the year-over-year increase in the number of HR professionals reporting difficulties in both recruiting and retaining employees, SHRM recommended organizations dedicate special attention to the healthcare benefits they’re offering.

New requirements and looming costs associated with the Affordable Care Act will also necessitate that many organizations reexamine their current menu of healthcare benefits. A recent survey of nonprofit organizations by benefits management and research firm PPI Benefit Solutions found, for example, that 47 percent of nonprofits have a “moderate understanding” of compliance rules, which is a significant drop from the 92 percent that reported having a moderate understanding of the rules just last year.

“Survey results indicate that in 2015, fewer nonprofits understand Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, and nearly half consider ACA compliance to be ‘very challenging,’” PPI said in a news release. “Furthermore, a majority of surveyed nonprofits have not calculated the cost of compliance.”

The same survey also found that many nonprofits are shifting the higher costs associated with ACA compliance to employees, which is evident by the rise in health savings accounts (HSAs)—medical savings accounts that let those with high-deductible health plans set aside money, tax free.

HSAs were one of several recommended health benefits organizations can consider providing employees, according to recent Washington Post article. Others included flexible spending accounts, which are similar to HSAs but do not carry over year to year, gym memberships, and tuition assistance.

Yet another benefit to consider when trying to attract and retain employees is work-life balance. A recent study on workplace benefits found a direct correlation between the availability of family and lifestyle benefits and employee performance, recruitment, and retention. Among the 500 people surveyed for the report, 35 percent reported a lack of such benefits negatively affected their work performance, and 62 percent said they’d leave their current job for another that offered family-assistance benefits.

Still looking for more benefits to offer? There’s always the option of allowing employees to bring their pets to work, even for a day, which could be beneficial for everyone. A 2010 study by Central Michigan University found, for example, that the presence of pets improved trust and collaboration in workplaces.

Does your association offer any unique benefits? Please share in the comments.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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