That an attractive employee benefits package is integral to an organisation’s employer brand is something every self-respecting HR strategist knows well.
But not every organisation has a HR-department and will have to manage their own talent attraction strategy. And as everyone who is running an SME company knows all too well, adopting a strategic approach to any business management area is challenging, when so much focus needs to be on the day-to-day operational management.
The standard approach to putting together a benefits package is to borrow from companies whoever is in charge of putting together the policy has worked at. Or simply googling throws up a great deal of results. The trouble is that whatever policy you copy, or advice you get online, is either going to be designed for another business or outdated. Perhaps even both.
And guess what — if you have a generic set of work benefits, then chances are you’ll just attract generic-type candidates. And even worse, depending on which sector you are in, you may even struggle to attract talent at all.
So how should you approach it instead?
Well, first of all, as with any strategy development, you should try to figure out what your goals are. Is it to attract top talent? Or increasing retention? Being competitive with your peers, or improve on them?
Secondly, you will need to define your target audience. Who will the benefits benefit? In order to build a strong and versatile workforce, you’re likely to want to attract talent with a range of preferences, and therefore the benefits need to reflect this. When you define the target audience, you can try to divide people by age, family situation, millennial or Gen X, and so on.
In particular, millennials tend to have a significantly different set of preferences influencing their decision to work for an employer. This interview sheds some light on what they value most in a workplace (no, it’s not table football). In other news earlier this week, there was an interesting exposé on how the changing values and preferences of millennials are wreaking havoc with traditional business sectors who are slow to adapt. The same lessons that can be drawn from that can also largely be applied to the way companies attract and retain their staff — being complacent is not an option.
Thirdly, the very best talent attraction strategies not only addresses the skills gaps in the organisation and maintains a steady recruitment base to sustain the growth path, but also builds culture.
Over time, culture will be a key driver of employer brand equity, which is key when it comes to keeping your talent pipeline healthy. According to data collected by LinkedIn, employers with a strong employer brand drives 2x the number of applicants per job. They also see an average of 43% decrease in cost per hire compared to peers with weak employer brands.
It follows that your over-all benefits package should be seen as an integral tool in your talent attraction strategy specifically, and your employer brand generally. Not deploying it as such is an opportunity missed.