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  • How Are You Tackling Your Talent Retention Challenge?

    By Jim Grawburg, Employee Benefits Advisor

    The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, for the first time in the history of the data, there are more job openings than people to fill those jobs.1 That assumes that every employee is a fit for every job available. What about your organization? Many companies report that the effective unemployment rate for skilled labor has been 0% for months.  In light of that, how can you attract employees, especially millennials, valued for their fresh outlook on challenges?  How do you keep present employees productive, educated, and engaged in your business?  Before your compensation committee throws more money at the problem, take a deeper dive at what your applicants are really looking for.

    A recent GLINT report published at 2 states that company executives feel that only 44% of their employees give discretionary effort.  The Marcus Buckingham Company reflects that employees themselves report even lower engagement.  With that said, recruiting the right employee while keeping the productive employee requires a “Next Generation” set of benefits to go along with other areas of talent management.

    Millennials make up a majority of the workforce, and their percentage is increasing. Since the average time spent with one employer is 2.8 years among workers 25 to 34 years old 3, companies need benefits that fit the needs of that demographic.  Consider the following:

    1. Defined Contribution Medical Plan: The employee directs where the company provided health benefits can be spent among choices offered. Also, consider a voluntary insurance program that covers potential gaps in current medical coverage. The added benefit fits individual needs of each employee.
    2. Work-Life Balance: By far the most nebulous of the list, companies find a holistic balance between work and non-work. This may take the form of higher salaries or added part-time employees, flexible work hours and remote worksites, but HR has to find a balance that gets all work processed.
    3. Health Savings Account: This travels with the employee throughout their work career. Contributions can be made by employer, employee, or both. The key is education on the benefit.
    4. Retention Bonuses: This can take shape of an annual year-end bonus, or as a facet of the following benefit, Student Loan Assistance. Consider basic profit sharing to show how their added effort results in improved company results.
    5. Student Loan Assistance: According to The Economist, the average outstanding student loan balance is $37,172. Student loan assistance speaks to loan consolidation, repayment programs augmented by company contributions, and debt education. Currently, only 4% of SHRM benefits survey respondents provide student loan assistance.
    6. Paid Leave: Consider combining sick, medical, personal, and vacation leave to fit the needs of younger workers.
    7. Workplace Wellness: From classes in yoga and meditation to workstations that allow for employees to stand, young workers want flexibility in work rules that fit their lives. Companies can speak to their benefit brokers on ways to manage rising medical premiums through organized wellness programs.
    8. Financial Wellness: As a father of four adults, this is a critical benefit for those entering the workplace to a higher salary and new financial obligations. Though retirement planning will become increasingly important, organized basic financial education is being installed by more companies than ever before. SHRM states that financial education has increased from 37% of companies to 49% in a five year period.
    9. Formal Retirement Plan: This travels with the employee throughout their career. This can be tied to retention through matching. Avoid the six year step vesting program.

    Overall, education on the benefits offered is the major shortfall of virtually every organization. Throwing money at employee benefits without accompanying education perpetuates the challenges currently facing organizations.  Talk to your broker about building a solid and sensible benefit program to energize your Talent Retention program.  The return on investment is solid and sustainable.

    Contact Brown & Brown of Detroit at 586-977-6300 to learn more about how you can ensure your benefit program is attracting and retaining a talented workforce.


    1. Wall Street Journal May 9, 2018
    2. GLINT Report ”The State of Employee Engagement” 2018
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016
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      How Are You Tackling Your Talent Retention Challenge?