Recruiting

What You Think Employees Want Versus What They Really Want

No matter how long you’ve been in the recruitment game, you’ve probably been able to compile a list of benefits, either formally or informally, that you believe talent is looking for. But what if that list doesn’t match up with reality anymore?

As the economy, political climate, and world at large continue to shift post-COVID, the benefits employees are seeking have shifted, as well. That all-too-common word “pivot”? It’s still very much in play as we navigate a workforce after the pandemic. You may need to pivot your benefits, and you may need to pivot how you’re communicating them. As a recruiter in 2022, it’s important to know what employees are seeking as you look to get the best of the best on your payroll.

A recent survey from Paylocity broke down what potential candidates are really looking for, and at a time when 95% of businesses have open positions they’re struggling to fill, you may want to take a glance at your own benefits package and how you’re explaining it to those in your recruitment pipeline. That high of a number indicates there’s more than just a worker shortage going on. There’s a fundamental disconnect between what companies are offering and what workers are looking for. So, the sooner you can close that gap, the sooner you can fill your open positions and have your business operating at full capacity.

Here’s a breakdown of what jobseekers are currently looking for in 2022.

Remote Work Is an Expectation

At a bare minimum, consider how your company allows flexible locations for work. According to the survey, 90% of employers are looking to offer some kind of hybrid model in terms of working location in 2022. That means remote work isn’t going to set you apart from the crowd any longer—it’s more of an expectation than a benefit. Talent is going to go into an interview assuming you have some type of work-from-home option available.

You should continue to highlight your remote work options, but know that you need more than remote work in your back pocket to woo talent. If you don’t have any kind of hybrid, work-from-home option, consider how you could make it a reality. If it’s absolutely impossible, do you at least offer flexibility for parents to attend their kids’ school events or flex hours so people could miss the rush-hour traffic? Even those small concessions are better than nothing. You could also consider sharing the history of your remote work options—if you recently shifted, it could be a great way to demonstrate your company listens to the needs of employees and works hard to adjust accordingly.

High-Quality Health Insurance

Obviously, employees will always care about the size of their paycheck. But 45% of employees surveyed said that high-quality health insurance was the most crucial benefit behind pay. Considering the skyrocketing price of health care, it makes sense that employees want to know they and their families will be able to financially survive a medical emergency. So think beyond take-home pay when considering how you’re going to compensate employees. What type of health insurance does your company offer? What about dental? Vision? Make sure your benefits are as competitive as possible, particularly for families.

Furthermore, practice transparency when it comes to your health insurance. You should be ready to hand this information to interested talent, and it should be laid out in an easy-to-read format. The more detail you can provide, the better, so try to have information about things like mental health coverage, copays, and more. Also, make sure potential employees really understand how great your health plan is, and don’t make them have to ask for it. Some states even legally require this transparency for compliance purposes.

Manager Engagement With Mid- or Low-Level Employees

HR executives didn’t rank manager engagement very high, but employees consistently did, meaning there’s a disconnect between what recruiters think workers want vs. what they’re actually seeking. How involved are the higher-ups in your company with day-to-day operations? You obviously don’t need to reorganize your entire structure and abolish any hierarchy, but even something as small as management knowing the names of all employees can make a huge difference.

Particularly with the modern shift to work-from-home or hybrid work location options, it can be hard for employees to really have a relationship with their manager or the executive team. Brainstorm ways you can communicate just how involved your management team is, and consider how you can include them in the recruitment process. Maybe it’s as simple as having a manager sit in on the interview or send a “thanks for interviewing” e-mail. As we spend less time at the water cooler and more time in home offices, it’s hard to feel a sense of community or accountability. When people don’t speak with their managers face-to-face, they may struggle to do their job well and feel like a one-man island. You want talent to know that your company is a team—and one they want to be on.

Communication Is Key

Remember that it isn’t just about having remote work options, terrific health insurance, or involved managers. It’s about how you communicate these things to potential employees. Take an audit of your recruitment process, and see where these important benefits come into play. Insert them into the conversation early and often in order to fill those open positions with the top talent available. Again, this shouldn’t be something employees have to ask for; it should be something you’re readily offering. The fewer hoops potential employees need to jump through, the better when it comes to our current recruitment environment.

Don’t just rely on surveys, either. Look at your own employees. Why did they accept the jobs they have? What do they appreciate most about your offered benefits? Having conversations with the people who already work for you will do wonders when it comes to really understanding what your industry is looking for. Don’t be afraid to reach out to new hires and see what made taking a job with your company a no-brainer.

Claire Swinarski is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.