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In January 2013 the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released a series of "State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace" reports, based on surveys fielded among SHRM members in 2012. Key findings highlighted the benefits most often used to help recruit and retain employees, and organizations' efforts to communicate the value of employer-sponsored benefits.
According to the findings reported in State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Leveraging Benefits to Recruit Employees, organizations reported health care (80 percent of respondents) and retirement savings and planning (63 percent) were the benefits most frequently leveraged (that is, used strategically) to recruit employees, and that these benefits will increase in importance for recruiting employees in the years ahead, as indicated below.
Benefits and Recruitment"Within the next three to five years, what benefits offerings will increase in importance in your organization's efforts to recruit all levels of employees?"
Retirement savings and planning
Flexible work benefits
Preventive health and wellness
Professional and career development benefits
Housing and relocation benefits
Source: SHRM, State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Leveraging Benefits to Recruit Employees.
The benefits that organizations most often leveraged to recruit "highly skilled employees" were health care (75 percent) and retirement savings and planning (58 percent).
One in five (20 percent) organizations reported leveraging their benefits program to retain employees, according to State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Leveraging Benefits to Retain Employees. Similar to the recruitment findings, HR professionals reported that health care (72 percent) and retirement savings and planning (58 percent) were the benefits most frequently leveraged to retain employees, and that these benefits would become more important for retention in coming years, as indicated below.
Benefits and Retention"Within the next three to five years, what benefits offerings will increase in importance in your organization's efforts to retain all levels of employees?"
Flexible working benefits
Source: SHRM, State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Leveraging Benefits to Retain Employees.
HR professionals also reported that the most frequently leveraged benefits to retain "high-performing employees" were health care (58 percent), professional and career development benefits (55 percent) and flexible working benefits (48 percent).
While roughly three-fourths of respondents thought their benefits communications efforts were effective, only about one-quarter had an employee benefits communications budget in 2011, according to State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Communicating Benefits.
Very few organizations (4 percent) were using social media in their communications efforts, as indicated below, although 8 percent indicated they planned to start using social media within the next 12 months.
Benefits and Communications"How does your organization determine the knowledge level of employees about the employer-sponsored benefits available to them?"
Interactions with HR
Employee focus groups
"Which of the following employee benefits communications methods does your organization use?"
Enrollment materials (online or paper)
Group employee benefits communications with an organizational representative
One-to-one employee benefits counseling with an organizational representative
Direct mail to home/residence
Newsletters (online or paper)
Group employee benefits communications with your vendor
Source: SHRM, State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Communicating Benefits
Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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