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CTDO Magazine

Organizational Benefits That Meet Workers' Needs

Friday, October 15, 2021

Companies can retain talent by working with employees and offering accommodations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many ups and downs. Each industry, company, and employee has been facing different situations.

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Yet, despite the many challenges, employers have at least had time to consider what their postpandemic workplace will look like and the benefits they will offer to retain and attract talent. According to a survey from human resources company Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 63 percent of responding HR and business leaders say their companies are offering incentives to keep employees—from remote work and hybrid options to higher pay and sign-on bonuses to mentoring programs. Of those employers, some are offering them for certain positions and levels, on a case-by-case basis, or to the entire workforce.

In the report, Challenger says, “Many workers have used the pandemic to reprioritize what is most important in their lives, and reassess what they want to do in their careers. Money is just a piece of that. Workers also want to be able to walk their dogs during the day and know they have opportunities for advancement.”

Meeting employees where they are may involve a variety of accommodations and strategies—and not just monetary ones. Here are three to consider. 

Flexibility. Employers have learned that people can be productive while working remotely, and many workers don’t want to lose that flexibility. They may even want to decide not only where they work but when, including potentially part time.

On a broad scale, Iceland is leading the way in exploring a four-day workweek. A 2021 Autonomy study found that productivity did not suffer. “The Icelandic trials were a major success. Based on the analysis of a wide range of data, we can see that workers experienced significant increases in wellbeing and work-life balance—all while existing levels of service provision and productivity were at the very least maintained, and in some instances improved.”

Many companies in the US and other countries are also piloting a four-day workweek, and US Rep. Mark Takano even introduced legislation to reduce the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours.  

Companies are likewise exploring other ways to help workers refresh. For example, according to a Washington Post article, Mozilla, the Firefox web browser developer, offered its employees a full-fledge break and closed its office for a week in July. The company dubbed it Wellness Week, adding it to its Wellness Day initiative, which gives employees one Friday off per month every month for a full year.  

L&D opportunities. Education and training can go a long way in keeping employees happy and stable. One way employers are doing that is by providing educational benefits.

US retailer Walmart, for example, offers free college tuition. In addition to tuition reimbursement, the Challenger, Gray, & Christmas study notes that leadership development, mentorship, and student loan assistance are among the common educational benefits that organizations are offering.

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Susan Smith, author of the Builder article “5 Ways to Retain Construction Industry Talent,” recommends creating “a training system in your company that encourages your employees to advance in their careers. By providing them with more training and learning opportunities, you’ll increase productivity, and retain employees in the process.”

Childcare. School and daycare closures have had a significant impact on working parents, particularly working mothers, throughout the pandemic. While only 8 percent of respondents in the Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey said their companies will offer child care options to employees, this is another benefit employers can consider.

A Reuters article notes that such companies as Patagonia, Johnson & Johnson, and Goldman Sachs offer benefits such as childcare centers and subsidized tuition. According to the article, for Patagonia, “Over the past five years, parents with children at the centers have been 25% less likely than the average employee to leave the company.”

Because each individual’s circumstances are different, talk with employees and engage them in being part of the solution. Work with employees to help them meet their needs, especially as uncertainty with the pandemic continues.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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