When you think about what employees look for in a compensation package, two things jump to mind: salary and benefits. You’d probably imagine that employers use both to recruit talent to join their organization, but only 25 percent use benefits to attract employees, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey as reported by BenefitsPro. Why aren’t employers bringing benefits to the forefront of the conversation with new talent?
The good news is that you can set your company apart by broadcasting your total benefits package. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Talk about benefits and salary together. A compensation package is just that: a package. It’s more than just a salary number. There are elements to consider such as vacation time, work location, flexible work arrangements, and of course, benefits such as health insurance. In fact, wages and salaries comprise only 69 percent of the average civilian worker’s compensation: 31 percent goes to benefits, and 8.5 percent alone goes to health benefits, according to a 2014 SHRM survey. Be sure to talk about both sides of the equation, and be as transparent as possible about what benefits you offer and when they kick in. Candidates appreciate honesty.
- Show how much the company pays for health premiums. Did you know that, according to a National Business Group on Health survey, 62 percent of employees can’t estimate how much their employers pay for their health benefits? Health insurance is often the big-ticket item in a benefits package, but few employees understand the true cost. By showing how much the employer pays and how much the employee contributes, you can help candidates get a better picture of the real dollar value of your benefits package. This can help them make a more apples-to-apples comparison between job offers or between your offer and their current job’s compensation.
- Put benefits in the job description. A simple suggestion that you can implement right now is to list out your benefits in a job description. Since benefits such as health insurance, retirement accounts and others are often the same for all employees, you can more freely communicate this kind of information. Many applicants will appreciate the transparency, and they may be drawn to some of your options.
- Understand the candidate’s needs. In discussions between the employer and a candidate, be sure to get an idea of what the prospect specifically values in a compensation package. If you can’t negotiate on salary, consider showing the value of a 401(k) package or pension plan. If a candidate prioritizes health care, then you may be able to use your health plan in the negotiation process.
- Consult with your vendors. The benefits providers that you work with can often help you. They may be able to give you educational materials that you can use in recruiting and during the on-boarding process. Depending on the relationship that you have with a vendor, they may also be able to put together a customized brochure or digital content that shows the value of the benefits you offer through them.
- Maximize the benefits that you offer. Work with your benefits vendors to make sure that you’re putting the best product out there for your employees. For instance, most health plans offer an employee assistance program (EAP) to help employees deal with issues such as mental illness, yet only three percent of employees made use of this benefit in 2012, according to data from EAP Technology Systems, Inc. Advertising EAPs can be a simple way to bring you more attention during the recruitment process. Voluntary benefits, such as accident insurance or long-term disability, are another option: You can offer these programs to employees at no cost to you; the discounted premiums are 100 percent employee-paid.
- Use current employees as ambassadors. Be sure that your current employees understand their benefits package by giving them information about what it’s worth and how to utilize it. With 65 percent of job openings filled by internal-employee referrals, according to a study by NAS, your employees are the best way to get qualified candidates to fill your open positions. The more your employees know about their benefits, the better they’ll be able to talk about your advantages when it comes to recruitment.
You work hard to provide benefits to your employees; make sure that you maximize your investment in employee compensation by using your company’s overall package to attract and retain top talent.
Andrew Reinbold has been focused on the health care marketing and communication space for over five years. He currently focuses on business-to-business content for Anthem, Inc. that is relevant to employers and brokers as they navigate the changing health care environment.