Employee Benefits Help Recruiters Land Employees

By: Dan Cook, BenefitsPro, October 2015

Recruiters are probably secretly anticipating the next recession. Their jobs are just getting too hard. The big bosses won’t loosen up on salaries, so they’re having to turn to juicier benefits packages to land the big fish.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 38 percent of professionals involved in recruiting “leveraged benefits to recruit employees at all levels during the past 12 months.”

That, said SHRM, represents “a statistically significant increase from 26 percent in 2013 and 29 percent in 2012.’

To recruit employees with special skills, even more — 40 percent — turned to an enhanced benefits package for help. That’s up from 30 percent in 2013.

“While the competition for talented workers has heated up, there has been little change in base salaries. So HR has strategically turned to benefits to attract — and keep — skilled professionals,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs. “From unlimited vacation to unusual perks such as electric car charging stations, companies are using benefits to set themselves apart from the competition.”

It’s the same story for retention: A third of respondents said they were enriching benefits plans to keep workers on board, up from 18 percent in 2013 and 20 percent in 2012.

In other findings, the survey results showed:

• 96 percent offered health care insurance plans;

• For plan year 2015, respondents said their organization is paying on average 76 percent of employees’ total health care costs;

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• 46 percent said their organization increased the share employees pay for health care this plan year over last plan year;

• 72 percent had not considered providing subsidies to their employees to purchase health care insurance through a private exchange.

• 69 percent said their organizations offered a wellness program, resource or service;

• 52 percent said employee participation in wellness programs increased year over year, a trend since 2012;

• 48 percent said their organization offered flex time;

• 29 percent of employers that do so reported an increase in employee participation over last year.

Social media continues to be an afterthought as a benefits tool. SHRM said “Few organizations use social media to communicate information about benefits to their employees. This may change, as 9 percent said they plan to start using social media as a benefits communication tool within the next 12 months.”

SHRM’s study, 2015 Strategic Benefits Survey, was based on input from more than 460 randomly selected HR professionals.

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