4 Ways to Improve Employee Retention

Forward-thinking companies use their benefits programs to set themselves apart as employers, adapting their approach to meet employee needs.

There’s no doubt the employment landscape has changed, with people prepared to move jobs more frequently, particularly among younger generations. Deloitte’s 2017 Millennial Survey found that 38 percent of Millennials expect to change jobs within the next two years, while 92 percent of employers anticipate an increase in competition for talent. In light of this, employers have to fight harder than ever to attract and retain the best people.

The most forward-thinking companies use their benefits programs to set themselves apart as employers, adapting their approach to meet employee needs. We recently undertook our annual Global Employee Benefts Watch research—an extensive global study into benefits and rewards best practices, and the findings reveal how sophisticated employers are standing out from the crowd and improving employee retention.

Focus on Employee Wellbeing

The employer/employee relationship is changing. Employees are spending longer hours at their desks, while technology is making it increasingly difficult to disconnect when they leave the office. With this in mind, improving employees’ wellbeing and helping them to disconnect is vital to improving the employee experience.

The most successful employers increasingly are focusing on wellbeing initiatives that support employees both in and outside of the workplace. The best approaches go beyond just supporting physical health, to provide mental and financial support for employees, as well. Forward-thinking companies offer “wellness pots” that enable employees to choose the wellness benefits that work best for them, whether that be drumming lessons to relieve stress or hiking equipment for those who prefer to exercise outdoors. These preventative initiatives go a long way to help employees tackle any wellbeing issues before any problems arise.

Currently only 40 percent of employers prioritize wellbeing initiatives within their overall benefits strategy. There is a huge opportunity for early adopters to explore this area ahead of the rest of the market and reap the rewards.

Personalize Your Approach

Employees have differing needs at different stages of their lives. For instance, a goal for the majority (67 percent) of 26- to 35-year-olds is to buy a home; however, only 11 percent of benefits plans support this. For older generations, saving for retirement is a bigger focus. When communicating benefits offerings, companies need to segment and target employee groups based on the benefits most likely to interest and be of use to them. This ensures that employees are aware of the most relevant support, as well as how to take advantage of it.

The timing of when benefits are promoted or offered also should be tailored around times of year and life events for maximum impact. For example, this might include launching fitness benefits in the New Year, financial education at the end of the tax year, and promoting health leading into the winter.

Employers who ensure that their employees have the information they need at the right time are most likely to see continual engagement.

Align Benefits with Your Company Values

Benefits programs should be aligned with a solid people strategy so a company can deliver benefits that enhance and support its values. For companies with a multinational presence, this means having a global strategy in place that works across the board, while taking local nuances into account. For example, a company that introduces fitness benefits in one country is unlikely to truly support employees globally unless it is done as part of a considered, holistic approach to employee wellbeing across the whole organization.

How does this help retain valued employees? The key factor here is consistency and communication of company messaging. If a team knows what the business stands for and feels the company is living by its values, they will feel they are part of something bigger, which can have a positive effect on their loyalty to the organization. In fact, we found that for 47 percent of employees, their benefits offering highly impacts their loyalty to their organization.

Use Data to Improve Employee Engagement

If your benefits program is not digitized, not only is it time-consuming to maintain and run, but there also will be a lack of data to determine if your approach is working. This can be detrimental to employee retention as HR teams won’t know whether employees are engaging with their programs, or if they are getting ROI on their spend. If employees not engaging, they won’t appreciate the value of their benefits packages and may look elsewhere.

HR and reward teams should follow the same approach retailers take in managing consumer loyalty programs. They should look to understand employee uptake, engagement, and satisfaction through analyzing their data.

They will be able to use this data to extend and adapt their benefits program, offering more personalized, valuable incentives. Crucially, this kind of measurement also will give HR and Reward teams the insights they need to justify ongoing investment in benefits. For those yet to invest in measurement, the best approach is to start small. Every piece of insight gleaned will help improve the employee experience, and the credibility of HR in the eyes of the board.

Ultimately, organizations with a defined and aligned benefits strategy in place, powered by technology, are significantly more likely to have greater success in driving employee satisfaction. This is supported by our research, which found that 76 percent of employees whose benefits needs are met are advocates of their organizations. By putting benefits at the heart of employee relationships, employers can better support the wellbeing of employees, create a more personalized employee experience, and build a more consistent culture globally.

Chris Bruce is the co-founder and managing director of Thomsons Online Benefits, a global benefits management and employee engagement software company that also provides consultancy services related to rewards, workplace pensions, and employee benefit programs. He has been in the benefits industry for more than 20 years. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for all things Darwin, his main focus is on the development of new markets and engagement with global clients. He loves meeting with CHROs and reward leaders to support them in staying one step ahead of the rapidly changing benefits landscape.For more information, visit https://www.thomsons.com/


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