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Apr 10, 2017

There’s one thing all companies with great talent acquisition and retention strategies do incredibly well: recognize employees’ priorities. Many organizations make the mistake of thinking that job seekers and employees always put their salary above everything else.

Employees have a variety of needs, many of which can’t be met by money alone. In order to attract and retain the best talent, your company needs to provide more for your employees.

Here are four things employees want from an employer and the best benefits and strategies that meet those needs:

1. Transparency

Employment is a relationship. It needs to be built upon trust, and that starts with a sense of transparency when it comes to how decisions are made. Employees want to know they will be treated fairly and that any questions they have will be answered truthfully.

To see how much transparency matters to employees, consider this statistic: according to a 2016 Payscale report, 82% of employees said they would be satisfied with lower salary as long as the employer was honest about the reasons why. Having a clear and logical explanation for the decision to pay them less is enough for them.

True transparency isn’t limited to salary. Find ways to foster open communication between all levels of the organization. For example, setting aside time for executives to meet with employees in small groups is great way to build and maintain their trust. That way, employees will be able to ask questions and hear honest answers face-to-face.

2. Help planning for children’s college

The cost of college is a big concern for most Americans. Young adults are worried about the amount of loans they need to take out, and parents are concerned about being able to save enough to help their children out. In fact, a 2015 Gallup survey found that 73% of employees with children under the age 18 are worried about being able to cover their children’s college costs, making it their number one household financial concern.

In most cases, simply getting paid more money isn’t enough to help employees overcome this concern. They also need advice on the best savings route for their family. To help with that, one of the best benefits employers can offer is assistance enrolling in 529 college savings plans, as well as advice on how to contribute to the plan. That way, parents will be able to better allocate what they make and prepare for their children’s education.

3. Clear healthcare benefits

For years, healthcare benefits have been a big part of the benefit packages companies offered employees. However, being commonly offered doesn’t mean the benefits are perfect. Although healthcare is important to employees, many are confused by their options, which means employers need to do a better job of explaining their offerings.

A 2016 report from Collective Health found that, while more than 75% of employees say healthcare benefits play a big part in their decision in taking a job, 60% are still perplexed by the benefits offered to them.

Healthcare is incredibly important to employees, but it means little unless they understand how it helps them. In addition to basic healthcare benefits, also consider the user support and experience of the benefits. Are there easily accessible resources that can answer employees’ questions? Does the benefit have a good reputation for customer service? These are important things to consider so you can ensure that you’re choosing the best benefits for your employees’ health.

4. To feel appreciated

It might seem simple, but it’s something that often gets overlooked: appreciating employees. They come into the office every workday and do their best to contribute to the team’s success. Yet, all too often, they don’t even receive a “Thank you” for their effort. And that’s a missed opportunity for employers, considering a report from BCG Perspectives found the number one factor influencing job happiness is being appreciated.

There are countless benefits that help employers show their appreciation. Everything from bulletin boards with messages praising employees to apps that make recognition more interactive. The trick is finding an option that fits your organization and culture so that employees get the type of appreciation they deserve.

As the saying goes, money isn’t everything. Employees need and want more than just a paycheck from their job. In order to keep them happy and give them what they deserve, you need to better understand their priorities and the best benefits and strategies to address them.

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