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What Are The Top 5 Benefits That An Employer Should Be Focusing On To Attract And Retain Top Talent?

As the hiring signs are popping up everywhere offering more incentives to bring in candidates, what benefits provide the competitive edge employers are seeking?

Is pay the top priority? Maybe not…

We can all agree, COVID-19 has made a significant impact on us all and that impact is being seen in hiring employees and in employee retention alike.

Through research, we found the top five benefits requested by employees are as follows:

  1. Health and Family Care Benefits: Families were tested during the lockdown like never before. With the lack of childcare, families were (and still are) feeling the pressure.  Some families had to contend with either essential workers going to work or non- essential workers staying at home to work.  Regardless of the circumstances, in-home learning was a significant challenge.  This experience provided new perspectives for families, and employees are seeking health plans that not only cover their medical needs but that also offer childcare benefits such as babysitting stipends, tutoring assistance, and childcare funding or negotiated discounts.  HR Executive found that 1 in 4 female workers considered leaving the workforce or taking on a smaller role due to increased family pressure as a result of the demands applied due to the pandemic. Adding this type of benefit could go a long away in helping attract or retain employees who continue to routinely grapple with the balance of work and caring for their families.  
  1. Paid Time off:   Despite many employees not having the opportunity to take time off during the pandemic for vacation or personal time, paid time off tops the “want list” for employees. Employees are looking for more flexibility in scheduling to manage family responsibilities. If an employer can manage increasing the bank of paid time off, not only might they retain and attract top talent, but the mental health benefits of time away are well-documented. With the increased pressure in today’s world, a few extra days off might be rewarded with a well-rested and ready to work employee upon their return.
  1. Home Office Expenses: The next benefit that employers may consider is reimbursing for home office expenses. COVID-19 brought remote work to a new level, with legions more employees joining the ranks of those who work from home.   With vaccination availability, many workers were able to return to the workplace.  Despite this, many employers opted to keep employees working remotely or instituted a hybrid model.  Employers may want to re-evaluate their positions to determine which jobs can be remote to attract more candidates that desire work from home.   If the employer chooses work from home, they may want to consider reimbursing the employee for home office expenses to remain competitive in today’s market.
  1. Mental Health Support:  According to Forbes, 41% of adults reported feeling symptoms of depression and anxiety, as a result of the social isolation brought on by the pandemic, as well as the pressures on families noted above.  This is a significant uptick from the rate of 11% in 2019.   Employers should consider offering additional mental health support options for their employees. This type of benefit can be provided in many ways, inclusive of offering counseling services, employee help lines, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), yoga or health club memberships, increased break times, or a myriad of other ways to put employee mental health as a priority.
  1. Financial Planning Services:  Employees are requesting help when it comes to financial planning, and many are looking to their employers to provide this service. While a 401(k) plan helps, many employees are seeking help with managing their finances now more than ever. The financial struggles felt during the pandemic made planning for the future a much higher priority.  There were a lot of lessons learned during the pandemic, and planning for the future is now front and center for employees.  Providing this type of assistance might just cinch the deal for potential candidates. 

Another key lesson that this pandemic taught us it is that being flexible and pivoting with the times is critical for survival both in general life and in business. We value our health and well-being in a way not known before it was so systematically challenged. If we look at our benefit package through this lens, the likely outcome will be engaged employees and a nice pipeline of potential candidates for open positions when they occur. 

Need help with your Human Resource functions? Contact Sage Solutions Group at 734-855-7187 or visit us at


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