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Strategic benefits aid recruitment

Tuesday March 24, 2015 Written by  Society for Human Resource Management
Organizations are leveraging their benefits programs to recruit new hires and retain current staff.

About one-third of organizations are experiencing increased difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees, according to the results of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Strategic Benefits Survey. Specifically, the percentage of organizations reporting difficulty recruiting and retaining employees at all levels increased in 2014 compared with 2013 and 2012.

In an effort to address these difficulties, organizations are leveraging their benefits program to recruit new employees (29 per cent of organizations) and retain current employees (25 per cent).

Health care is the top benefit leveraged by organizations to recruit (85 per cent) and retain (74 per cent) employees. This is followed by retirement savings/planning, which is used by 72 per cent of organizations to recruit and by 62 per cent to retain employees.

“With the effects of the recession dwindling and competition for talent heating up, employers are looking to stand out in the crowd,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at SHRM. “A strategic use of benefits, especially health care, is one way to do that.”

Particularly, companies struggle with attracting highly skilled employees (56 per cent). As a result, about one-third (32 per cent) emphasized benefits to recruit highly skilled employees.

At the same time, only nine per cent of HR professionals indicated that their employees are very knowledgeable about the employer-sponsored benefits available to them. And just over one-fifth (22 per cent) strongly agreed that their organization’s communication efforts are very effective in informing employees about their benefits.

The majority of organizations use online or paper enrolment materials (83 per cent) and group meetings with an organizational representative (70 per cent) to inform employees about benefits. Very few organizations use social media (four per cent) to share information about their benefits with employees.

“There is room for companies to improve their communication about benefits, so that employees are continually up-to-speed about the total rewards package,” Esen said. “Communication is key because previous SHRM research has shown that the benefits package is an important contributor to employee job satisfaction.”

SHRM surveyed 380 HR professionals from a randomly selected sample of its members throughout the United States. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.

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