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Businesses Not Using Benefits Effectively For Recruiting And Retention

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 12/31/2013

New study shows that only a quarter of businesses and organizations use benefits programs during employee recruitment--and even fewer use benefits to retain talented employees.

Benefits are a key concern for most employees. From health insurance and retirement programs to flex schedules and vacation days, workers factor employee benefits into their employment decisions and in some cases, allow benefits to trump salary or other considerations.

Employee Benefits as Recruiting Tool

But according to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), only a quarter of organization surveyed use benefits programs as recruitment tools and less than 20% leverage benefits to retain workers.

Although half of all employers report difficulty in hiring skilled workers, less than one in three employers use benefits to recruit in-demand employees in tight employment sectors.

"Considering that wage growth has been very weak in the post-recession economy, HR professionals frequently cannot use higher salaries as a draw for attracting and keeping talent," said Joseph Coombs, senior analyst for workforce trends at SHRM. "Many recruiters now advocate using a 'total rewards' approach to recruitment and retention, leveraging an employer's benefit package as part of that strategy."

The SHRM also cited the role effective communication plays in leveraging benefits programs for employee recruitment and retention--event though just one in four employers budgeted employee benefits communication in 2012.

The primary methods employers use to inform employees about benefits include online or paper enrollment materials, group meetings and one-on-one benefits counseling. By targeting and expanding on these and other communication vehicles, employers can generate added value and improve the quality of their workforces through their benefits program investments.

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