Changing Your On-the-Job Perks to Suit a Changing Workforce
By Jori Hamilton
Image Source: Pixabay
January 30 2022 - The so-called "Great Resignation" has been much in the news in recent months, and it seems to have left many labor pundits and human resource (HR) professionals alike flummoxed. But the origins of the Great Resignation may not be so ambiguous after all.
The reality is that the workforce is rapidly and dramatically changing. Unfortunately, business leaders may not be keeping pace with these evolutions, and the failure to do so can have profound consequences for acquiring and holding on to talent, resulting in the wave of departures we see across industries today.
But there is a solution: Understanding what today’s workforce needs, wants, and expects and adjusting your on-the-job perks packages accordingly can help businesses navigate the turbulent waters of employee recruiting and retention.
Once upon a time, the relationship between employers and their employees was pretty straightforward: Workers were paid fair wages and given a robust benefits package, including a retirement plan, and in exchange, they would devote most if not all of their professional lives to the same company. Beyond that, though, workers did not seem to expect much from their relationships with their company and their boss.
Today’s workers, and especially Millennials and Generation Z, often expect more than the reasonable pay and retirement and healthcare benefits that Baby Boomers prioritized.
For example, Millennials generally are looking to achieve a healthy work/life balance, including flex work and remote work options. These are also opportunities that appear to be vitally important to Generation Z, the rising generation in their early twenties and younger. Gen Z and Millennials alike also want to pursue continuous professional growth. That means they value mentorship and training opportunities and seek a clear path of promotion and skills development.
Supporting Financial Well-Being
In addition to the opportunity to grow their skillset and advance in their career, younger workers are also seeking financial incentives beyond the standard benefits package. Millennials and Gen Z workers, for instance, often enter the workforce burdened with significant amounts of student loan debt.
Indeed, studies show that such debt may well preclude younger workers from enjoying important life opportunities, such as buying a home or starting a family. Thus, a particularly attractive job perk for this employee cohort could include the partial or full repayment of student loans or tuition reimbursement for employees pursuing a college degree while working.
Unfortunately, student loan debt is not the only financial burden that employees may be bringing to the table. Your workers may have parents or children with special needs and the realities of caregiving, including the financial responsibilities of being a long-term caregiver, can have a detrimental impact on your workers.
Providing both the financial and legal resources your employees may need to plan for the care of their special needs children or parents can be an irresistible benefit for new and established employees alike.
Estate planning, after all, can be one of the most complex, important, and burdensome tasks your employees can face. Offering such a resource won’t just aid in recruiting and retention, but it will also telegraph to your employees your company’s concern for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families. And, as has been seen, for younger workers in particular this kind of caring and concern is precisely what is wanted, but all too often lacking, in the workforce today.
Now more than ever, workers aren’t just concerned with what their employers can do for them and their families, but they also want to know how the companies they align themselves with are making a difference in the world. Younger workers, in particular, seek to dedicate their skills, time, and effort to businesses whose values mirror their own.
Of particular concern for today’s employees, and especially Gen Zers, is the issue of environmental sustainability. And that means that embracing a business model that prioritizes such practices can be a crucial selling point for younger recruits. Similarly, workers who are deeply invested in corporate social responsibility (CSR) are likely to value opportunities to engage in the community while on the job, such as participating in employee-sponsored fundraisers or charitable events.
The world of work is drastically changing and the survival and success of your business are predicated largely on your ability to change with it. This means, above all, understanding and accommodating the ever-evolving needs of your employees. No longer are standard benefits packages and fair wages sufficient to recruit and retain talent today. Today’s workers need more, including flexible work options and opportunities to develop their skills and advance their careers. They also want to align themselves with organizations that care not only about their workers but also about the world beyond the workplace. Thus, they want to work for employers who will go the extra mile in helping employees care for their families and their community.
Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, recruitment, HR, and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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