Good Benefits are More Attractive than Higher Salaries for Attracting Top Talent

attracting top talent with benefits

In previous years, a competitive salary was enough to make your company the top choice for the best talent in your field. But times have changed, and salary alone is not enough.


The unemployment rate in the United States has recently hit a historic low of 3.7% this fall, with extremely low rates for most of 2018 and into 2019.

unemployment has hit a historic low

This is great news for the economy, but presents a set of challenges that the job market has not had to deal with in recent years. The tightened job market means that organizations must go above and beyond salary to make them attractive to top talent.


The best way organizations can do that is by understanding which employee benefits are most valued by job seekers. Recently, benefit packages have become more influential in the decision to accept a position with a company, even more so than salary. HR professionals can strategically leverage the following benefits as a recruitment (and retention) tool:


Flexible Schedules


A study by Fractl found that flexible schedules influence up to 88% of people to take a job over one with a higher salary but a more rigid schedule. Flexible working hours help parents tend to the needs of their children without sacrificing productivity. It also allows the younger generations to create the work-life balance that is so important to them.


Wellness Programs


Benefits are now moving past just physical health and focusing on overall well-being. This can be as complex as building an onsite fitness facility, or simple as providing discounted gym memberships or reimbursements. It also can go beyond physical health to include meditation classes, stress relief resources, and smoking cessation programs.


Group Life Insurance


Employees feel that life insurance is important to them for making sure their families’ financial futures are secure in case something were to happen. Not only is it an important benefit; it’s extremely cost-effective, as well. Employers can pay as little as $36 per month to cover the average employee. The peace of mind that comes with having life insurance is a good way to get job seekers interested in your company.


Student Loan Repayment


One of the hottest benefits gaining popularity is the student loan repayment program. Student loans are a major burden on a majority of the workforce and have become such a financial obstacle that younger generations are not buying houses or planning for retirement. Giving employees resources for paying off their debt at an accelerated pace is an extremely attractive benefit that can lock in valuable talent, especially when attracting millennial talent.


Best Practices to Keep in Mind


Having a great benefits package is only going to get you so far if you are not utilizing it correctly. Make sure to tailor benefits offerings to address generational differences based on the type of candidate you are looking for, or the majority of your current workforce. Also, be sure to clearly communicate your most attractive benefits to potential hires during the interview process, so they can grasp the value of it. Finally, be mindful of the costs associated with some benefits like healthcare, and make sure the benefits you offer make sense for your organization as well.