By Lacey Halpern, Xenium
In a world where the bottom line is dropping and cash flow is number one, employers have been getting creative in many ways in order to keep employees satisfied. For a small business, retention becomes exceedingly important in a down economy. The best talent is hard to find, especially as key performers are currently employed and their employers are clinging to them in hopes that they may weather the storm and ride it out until brighter days appear.
Here is a look at a few creative benefits that have become a popular trend within the business community:
Allowing employees to choose their work hours within limits established by the employer is commonly referred to as flex-time scheduling. Work life balance is among the top requests of applicants and the currently employed. According to the 2011 SHRM Annual Benefits Survey, “Some of the benefits of offering flexible work practices include improvements in productivity, employee commitment and engagement, as well as reduced employee stress (which can accent health care costs).” When the recession forced companies to look at their staff and make cuts, flexible schedules decreased in popularity. As businesses begin to hire again and move out of the recession, employees that have taken on one or more positions due to lay-offs may now have options to flex their schedules.
Allowing two employees to share the responsibilities and pay of one single job is a newer trend that businesses have adopted to retain their top talent. Utilizing two key performers that have chosen to only work part-time in one role within your organization serves many purposes. It can increase morale by allowing these employees to work the schedule they feel is best suited for their lives. It also retains key performers within the organization and enables the business to meet its objectives with little to no impact on the bottom line.
Compressed Workweek/Work from Home Arrangements:
According to SHRM’s Benefits Survey from 2011 “35% of organizations offered compressed workweeks, where full-time employees are allowed to work longer days for part of a week or pay period in exchange for shorter days or a day off during that week or pay period. Allowing employees to work schedules like this can increase productivity, attendance and employee satisfaction.” With most families having both parents at work, offering a compressed workweek allows them to spend less for childcare, and spend larger portions of time at home. With the cost of fuel on the rise, allowing employees to work compressed workweeks or to work from home can save in their expenses which may permit employers to get creative with job offers and compensation packages, while still meeting business demands.
Not all businesses have fully recovered from the recession and many are not ready to start offering these arrangements to their employees. Consider this: “According to the SHRM 2010 Job Satisfaction survey report, 46% of employees cited flexibility to balance work/life issues as a very important aspect of job satisfaction. These benefits help companies attract and retain high-quality talent and are a key factor in employee satisfaction.” It will be important to plan for these changes, ensure that your HR policies are up to date to manage the administration of these benefits, and train your managers and employees on how to use these benefits to eliminate opportunities for abuse.
Please reach out to your Xenium HR Business Partner for assistance in developing and administering these creative and flexible benefit solutions.