Five ways to improve employee retention amid candidate-driven hiring market

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Money isn’t the root of all happiness when it comes to employee retention. In fact, a GlassDoor employee confidence survey found paid time off, employee development programs and even free lunch ranked above pay raises by more than 2,000 employees. In my experience in recruiting for more than a decade, job seekers’ priorities have changed over time. But what we are seeing today could mean a change in the hiring market forever. Here are a few things your company can consider to keep your employees challenged, engaged and excited to stay with your company.

1. Unlimited PTO

If you’d asked me ten years ago about unlimited PTO, I only had one or two clients offering that type of benefit. Now that the practice is seeing some traction, unlimited PTO is a benefit many employers have come to love. The new, younger workers value work-life balance and time with family and friends over the almighty dollar. In fact, a 2019 survey found one in three Americans would be willing to give up a portion of their paychecks for unlimited vacation time. To employees, they’d rather make less money and have the freedom to spend time with family and friends. Don’t let the policy change scare you, though. If you do a bit of research, you will find most companies with this type of policy have lower turnover rates, and people still rarely use more than 2-3 weeks of PTO a year. The benefit can present a win-win situation for both the employer and employee with the correct boundaries set in place.

2. Opportunities for continued education 

The choice is simple: give an employee limited options for professional growth, and they will find that growth with another company. A LinkedIn workplace learning report found 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. Younger employees want to learn. They grew up with the internet and a constant flow of information. When they move into the professional workforce, they maintain that thirst for knowledge and growth. Companies that invest in employee training, education reimbursement and opportunities for professional development will attract a loyal group of employees.

3. Flexibility to work from home

One of the most common questions I get from people changing jobs is, “Is the position remote, or do I have the flexibility to work from home part of the time?” During the pandemic, many workers successfully transitioned to work from home and their productivity remained the same—or in many cases, increased. Now that companies are bringing workers back into the office, many people prefer to stay at home.  A 2020 employee sentiment survey produced by Mercer found that flexibility was very important to 56% of those surveyed, and they would consider switching employers if work-from-home wasn’t offered. Their reasons vary, but most who reach out to our recruiters like the flexibility in working from home, especially if it never negatively impacts their work. Companies that are winning bidding wars on candidates are the ones that offer a flexible schedule. Moving forward, companies who adapt and grow will hire and maintain stronger workers than those who have zero flexibility.

4. Flexible work hours

Flexibility doesn’t have to mean offering remote work opportunities. CNBC reported 76% of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work for a company with flexible office hours. Flex-time opportunities allow employees to alter their schedules to fit their needs at any given time. This benefit doesn’t necessarily mean employees can come and go as they please, though. Many companies ask that employees still alert them of their chosen schedule, work the full number of hours required for their shift and complete all their work. This is a great option for employers who are looking to offer more flexibility but are still unsure about making paid time off and work-from-home policy changes just yet.

5. A solid Maternity and Paternity Leave Plan

Job seekers often ask about maternity or paternity leave policies before accepting a new role. Employees in the U.S. look at their international counterparts and wonder why the U.S. hasn’t adopted robust maternity/paternity leave policies. Many new parents want to spend extended time with their new children, and longer leave times are attractive to new or prospective parents. The National Partnership for Women & Families shares that companies could see an increase in productivity, employee morale and employee retention—especially among women—with the help of a solid maternity leave plan.

Employee trends are ever-changing. Prospective employees no longer only look at salary compensation as reasons to move jobs, but also the perks offered by the company. They want employers to appreciate them. Companies that offer perks that other companies don’t will typically gain the best employees, especially in this tight job market. I take pride in helping place job seekers with a company where they want to stay and providing a reliable, long-time employee for my client companies. Contact us today to learn how Morgan Hunter can help you navigate the candidate-driven market, so you don’t lose the best employees to your competitors.

Brian Price is Division Director for the Sales, Marketing & Operations division at Morgan Hunter, serving Kansas City-area employers to help them meet a range of hiring needs, from temporary staffing to direct-hire placements. Share your thoughts on FacebookLinkedIn or on Twitter @MorganHunterCo