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Offering competitive wages is a major factor in recruitment and retention strategies for every company. What holds equal weight for many potential hires, however, is a competitive benefits package.

While nearly every employer promotes “competitive benefits” on its career page and job recruiting sites, few offer details about the benefits. It begs the question: What is included in a truly competitive benefits package? How can your company stand out among the crowd?

Before you start restructuring your benefits package, you will want to do some research. What type of candidates are you trying to attract? What are your current employee demographics? Do you understand what is working about your current package or what isn’t and why? Do you know what competitors in your industry and market are offering?

Once you have a pulse on where your current benefit offerings stand and those of your competitors, you can explore some creative ways to attract the attention of the best talent.

Creative Ideas for Attracting and Retaining TalentThe following are examples of non-traditional benefits offerings that have been successful for some employers. Perhaps they will inspire some creative ideas of your own!

Student Loan Repayment or Tuition Reimbursement

Millennials now make up the largest segment of the U.S. labor force, and they carry with them a lot of student loans. Increasingly, employers are instituting aggressive loan repayment programs to help employees tackle burdensome debt. They’re also encouraging career development through higher education by paying for tuition in relevant fields of study.

Adoption Benefits

Maternity leave laws vary by state, but employers with more than 50 employees must allow at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents of paternal or adoptive children. Some employers provide paid leave and, of course, an employer-sponsored health plan can help cover any medical costs associated with a pregnancy and giving birth.

Adoptive parents, however, often have just as many costs associated with the adoption process yet have no employer-sponsored benefits to cover those expenses. Several companies are reinforcing their commitment to family values by instituting an innovative adoption benefits program to help pay for expenses around adopting a child.

No Benefits Waiting Periods

Many employer-sponsored health plans have traditionally included a waiting period for new hires to be eligible for benefits. It is not uncommon for this period to be 30 or even 60 days. Some employers have discovered that this waiting period can be a barrier for prospective employees who don’t want the added stress of filing for COBRA when they switch jobs. These employers have started to offer health insurance coverage starting on day one, sometimes keeping waiting periods in place for other benefits like 401(k) participation.

Onsite Healthcare Services

Some employers who have many employees located at one central site or campus have opened onsite clinics for employees and their families to be treated for simple healthcare needs. In addition to free medical services, some clinics offer free onsite flu shots, nutritional counseling, health screenings and other health programs. These companies have found that conveniences like these save employees time and can lead to a healthier, happier and more productive employee population.

Flexible Hours

Because of technology and remote capabilities, flexible scheduling is quickly becoming the norm and not the exception for many companies. Some companies believe that accommodating workers’ busy lives and family obligations helps create better work-life balance, which contributes to employee health and job satisfaction. Many employers are considering ways to accommodate a potential hire’s individualized needs while still ensuring the job gets done.

Employee Sabbaticals

When the average stay of an employee in most companies is only 4.2 years, providing an incentive for sticking with your company for the long haul can improve those numbers. Some companies are choosing to reward employees for their loyalty by providing tenured employees an entire month of paid time off in addition to their regular earned time off and other benefits.

At several companies, the month-long sabbatical includes a stipend and travel allowance. Employees become eligible for the sabbatical after 10 years of employment and another week of sabbatical is added for each additional 5-year benchmark.

Want to Learn More?

There are many creative ways to increase the chances of landing that ideal employee (and keeping the ones you already have). If you are looking for more ideas, check out our guide to building a better benefits package and reach out! We are happy to review your existing employee benefits offerings and help you set yourself apart from your competitors.

Build a Better Benefits Package: An Employer's Guide to Offering Competitive Benefits

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A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.