Companies Leverage Employee Benefits to Combat Recruiting and Retention Difficulty

Health care and retirement are top strategically used benefits

March 17, 2015
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — About one-third of organizations are experiencing increased difficulty in recruiting and retaining employees, according to the results of the Strategic Benefits Survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

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 percent of organizations) and retain current employees (25 percent).

Health care is the top benefit leveraged by organizations to recruit (85 percent) and retain (74 percent) employees. This is followed by retirement savings/planning, which is used by 72 percent of organizations to recruit and by 62 percent 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 (56 percent) struggle with attracting highly skilled employees. As a result, about one-third (32 percent) emphasized benefits to recruit highly skilled employees.

At the same time, only 9 percent of HR professionals indicated that their employees are very knowledgeable about the employer-sponsored benefits available to them. And just over one-fifth (22 percent) 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 enrollment materials (83 percent) and group meetings with an organizational representative (70 percent) to inform employees about benefits. Very few organizations (4 percent) use social media 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,” said Esen. “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 percent.

The Strategic Benefits — Recruiting, Retention and Communication findings are three of a six-part survey series. Results on health care, wellness programs and flexible work arrangements were released in January.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Laura Ambrosio of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6273 and or Kate Kennedy at 703-535-6260 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at Follow us on Twitter.


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