Top Talent Retention Strategies Go Beyond "Traditional"

By Megan McQuade On January 31, 2019

While filling open roles has become of critical importance in today's economy, retaining top talent has become even more important than ever before.

Retaining Top Talent

Top Talent Retention Strategies Go Beyond "Traditional"

 

Retaining talent is very much dependent on a company's culture - leadership, communication, corporate values, etc. Furthermore, creative retention strategies often go beyond open concept work spaces, transparent vision, and corporate social responsibility. These strategies develop with an understanding the workforce, what they intrinsically value, and they types of benefits that may enrich and fulfill their lives.

1. Remote Work

More and more, the term "work-life balance" is being replaced or eliminated from corporate speak. Many companies are encouraging a blend of the two to create satisfaction at work and home - regardless of location. In many roles, "punching the clock" or the traditional 8-5 has become obsolete. Employees put in the time required (regardless of the time of day) to complete their work, accomplish their goals, and contribute to driving the business forward. Depending on the role, this may take more or less time than eight hours in a given day.

While remote work is being embraced by more companies today than ever before, it is by no means universal or the "norm." Most companies still prefer traditional face-to-face interaction with employees. In general, it makes relationship building and communicating easier. However, organizations are much more in tune with their employees desire to work remotely and taking steps to accommodate.

Many companies begin with flexible work schedules, allowing employees to choose their start and/or end times. This will, of course, depend on an organization's operational schedule and client/customer offerings. Flexible schedules allow employees benefits such as avoiding traffic, dropping off/picking up dependents, and attending further education courses. Not only do these activities save an employee time and money, they increase overall satisfaction by enriching a person's life. Consider the professional saving two hours every day on commute time, the father who walks his child to class each morning, and the woman earning her MBA.

Furthermore, remote work offerings are gaining in popularity. Not only do they allow employees flexibility, and in many instances lower stress, they provide significant benefits to the employer as well. Companies now have the ability to hire top talent anywhere in the world while saving on real estate. Instead of purchasing or leasing more space, some employers are getting rid of space. They recognize that this form of employee flexibility creates serious cost savings.

Did you know? Some employees will consider a cut in pay for the remote work option. Paul Wolfe, Indeed's SVP, discusses a recent Indeed survey of over 500 employees that reports:

"40% of employees whose employers don’t currently offer remote work say they would consider taking a pay cut for that option."

Additionally, some suggest that millennials are changing the traditional idea of remote work by quite literally taking work to remote areas of the worldYoav Gery, Selina's President, discusses remote work in a recent interview. He suggests that allowing individuals to travel anywhere in the world while working gives them purpose. Technology today makes this easy as most seem to have a laptop and cell phone. The actual location of work is becoming much less significant.

2. Time Off 

Today, professionals take work everywhere - home, vacation, the doctor's office, etc. People check their email multiple times throughout the day. Connection is a habit for some and highly desirable for others. While this might sound like FOMO (fear of missing out), it's actually just a preference that enhances performance and/or limits stress.

Consider the professional that hasn't checked his/her email inbox for a long period of time and opens that inbox to find 100+ messages. It's hard to imagine a positive response to this scenario. Furthermore, many professionals sleep with their phones near their beds in case of emergency and/or to check email before bed and upon waking up. Staying plugged in has become the norm for many. Technology and access make this easy. Reflect on all the smart devices in homes and the Wifi access in stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and airplanes.

Now that we have established that professionals are more connected than ever before, how do we encourage them to unplug?

Unlimited time off has become a much more common benefit offering for Executives and Leaders. These professionals are empowered to take time off without having to accrue time or manage a specific allotment for use or rollover. It's a "take time off when you need it" mentality. Many companies consider this a privilege to be managed as needed. While unlimited time off sounds generous, many leaders find it difficult to truly unplug and often work remotely during their "time off." Others take less time off than the average employee because they feel like they can't step away from work.

 According to Dana Wilke, the 2017 HR Mythbuster's Report revealed:

"Employees who were offered unlimited vacation took, on average, 13 days off a year, while workers with capped vacation days took, on average, 15 days off."

Some companies are strongly encouraging employees to take time away from work and truly unplug. While vacation black out dates exist, they feel that an employee should have the ability to step away, recharge, and decompress. Some companies aren't just suggesting this but insisting on it. 

Additionally, gaining in popularity is the offering of a sabbatical after a certain amount of of tenure. Many sabbaticals are offered in a one month increment and encourage employees to step away from work to travel. Most are offered as an unpaid option. However, travel is often not a requirement. Some employees don't have the desire or the funds to travel the world. They prefer to stay at home or close to home for their extended time off.

3. Benefits 

Some companies are taking traditional benefits offerings to another level by offering additional benefits that employees truly value. Surveying current employees and conducting exit interviews are effective ways to find out about the benefits that matter most to employees.

In the past, benefits packages generally include health, dental, vision and 401K. Some offer more or less (life insurance, disability coverage, etc). Tuition reimbursement has also become more readily available. Some companies require further education to be relevant to the job and others support any educational endeavor regardless of its connection back to the business. 

Companies are now offering more benefits that appeal to their employees overall wellbeing. Below are a few of those that are becoming more common. 

  1. Student Loan Repayment - focusing on financial well being by helping employees eliminate debt. Organizations recognize that financial stressors can affect quality of work. Additionally, investment in an employee's personal life may increase engagement at work and prolong retention.
  2. Telemedicine - convenient health treatment to also include emotional, behavioral and mental health care. Time is money and the dreaded waiting room is very unappealing to most. Employees appreciate fast, easy and flexible health care.
  3. Paid Parental Leave - allowing mothers and fathers to spend time with children and cut down on financial stress. While this is one of the most important times in a parent's life, it can also be scary. Parents appreciate time away from work to bond and feel valued when this benefit goes above and beyond.
  4. Elder Care Resources - benefits for employees caring for dependents such as mothers, father, and grandparents. Dependents come in a variety of ages. Some professionals take a very active role in caring for those that cared for them. Doing so can be costly and time consuming, so resources and benefits are greatly appreciated.

Additional benefits don't stop here. Check out the benefits employees want and those more companies are offering. The increases in these offerings may surprise you. Do you have creative benefits offerings? We would love to hear from you!

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