It’s no secret that small businesses have a daunting task when competing with big companies for talented employees. Apart from vying with widely known reputed organizations that have also successfully created attractive employer brands, it can be challenging matching the hefty basic salaries that the serious players in your industry may offer.
But, there is good news—especially when it comes to the latter point. As a small business, you can offer a flexible and adaptable total rewards package that will attract great people. It’s easier than you think. It simply requires some creativity and a shift in perspective.
The best way to attract great candidates is to appeal to what is important to them. It’s more than salary—it’s the total package. That’s where thinking differently comes into play. Instead of focusing on matching high salaries, put the spotlight on the benefits you do offer and how they help employees create work-life success.
According to the 2015/2016 Willis Watson Towers Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, “6 in 10 millennials say they are willing to sacrifice pay for more secure retirement benefits.” In addition, 59 percent of millennials say they would pay a higher amount for a guaranteed retirement benefit. When it comes to baby boomers, 66 percent say they would sacrifice pay for more secure retirement benefits. Interestingly, 32 percent of millennials and 34 percent of baby boomers say they would pay a higher amount for lower or more predictable health costs (down from 43 percent and 45 percent, respectively).
That’s great news for you as a small business owner. These statistics show that there are other elements beyond salary that are important to workers, and knowing these elements enables you to offer creative compensation packages.
Some benefits will appeal more to one type of person than another, so you need to know what’s important to your ideal candidates. This will put you ahead of larger companies who are still following more traditional thinking and are unable to tailor packages to individual needs.
Here are some benefits you can leverage to recruit high performing candidates.
- Retirement Benefits and Financial Education. Show that you care about your employees’ financial future. Give your candidates a sneak peek at your retirement plan, including any profit-sharing matching or contributions. You can also woo them with financial education programs that are included with many retirement plans.
- Health Benefits. Offer medical benefit plans that are flexible to meet the needs of a multi-generational workforce.
- Commuter Benefits. By allowing employees to reserve income on a pre-tax basis, employees save tax dollars and increase take home pay. And as the employer, you also save on payroll taxes.
- Continuing Education. According to a SHRM report, about 88 percent of millennials say an organization’s commitment to professional development contributes to their job satisfaction, compared to 76 percent of baby boomers and 89 percent of Generation X. Even if you are unable to offer full tuition reimbursement, you can offer flexible schedules and hours that make it easy for employees to attend classes and gain new skills.
- Volunteer Hours. Today’s workforce finds giving back and contributing to their community an important aspect of their work life. Allowing staff one day a month to work at a food bank, help build a Habitat for Humanity House, or tutor children in economically disadvantaged schools is a great low-cost benefit that pays high returns for employee engagement, productivity, and more.
- Concierge Services. Bring helpful services to your employees to make routine tasks and errands easier to fit into busy lives. There are plenty of services like dry cleaning, pet walking, car washes, exercise, massages, chiropractic visits, and so forth that are free for you as a business, yet highly valued by employees.
- Flexible Schedules and Telecommuting. Allowing flexible schedules helps employees balance their work and personal time with less stress and creates a more engaged team. With many of the large companies like Yahoo!, Bank of America, Aetna, and IBM bringing their remote workers back into the office, small businesses have a great opportunity to attract employees who want the flexibility telecommuting offers.
Help your candidates understand your total rewards program throughout your recruiting. Get creative and incorporate your benefits into your job postings. Use social media to highlight the ways your employees are using their benefits to maximize their value and achieve work/life success.