With 4 million people in the U.S. quitting their jobs in April 2021, alone, timeshare resort operators are turning to perks to keep employees feeling appreciated and engaged.
As the pandemic life starts to recede, people are leaving jobs seemingly in droves in search of more – more happiness, more flexibility, more money, more remote work options – and for all different kinds of reasons. This situation has created a tighter job market that requires companies to present themselves as an employer of choice. One way to accomplish that and differentiate in the market is to offer benefit options that appeal to a wide range of employees. According to the Labor Department, 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021 alone. This anomalous situation is causing acute labor shortages in all sectors, especially hospitality, as almost 20% of those resignations were in the leisure and hospitality industry.
Companies that have not already started to alter their benefits to aid in retention and recruitment may be at a disadvantage. Companies are constantly searching for new and innovative ways and ideas for offerings to employees. A few such programs, some new and some revamped and enhanced, are discussed below.
In many cases, perks offered to employees help them to feel more appreciated and motivated. This can lead to both increased employee retention as well as the attraction of new employees. They can help increase productivity, morale, and employee engagement, as long as the overall company culture is good.
Wellness and preventative health initiatives – These have been shown to decrease unplanned absences and increase work productivity. In addition to regular health insurance benefits, companies can offer gym membership reimbursements, access to fitness classes, reimburse a fixed amount towards health lifestyle equipment, and/or offer a free month of health insurance if certain preventative measures are taken, just to name a few. Investing in employee well-being shows that a company cares about its team members.
Flexible work arrangements – Flexible work practices, such as remote working and flexible hours, are a good option to boost talent retention for employees whose position it would suit. This particular benefit comes with little to no additional costs to a company. Flexibility comes in different forms for different people. There are lots of ways to provide this option, and flexible work arrangements can allow certain types of employees to work when they feel most motivated, save time and money on commuting, and possibly feel more balanced in general.
Financial and retirement savings planning – It is a very powerful tool for a company to help employees develop a roadmap to secure their financial well-being. This benefit goes beyond offering a 401(k) or other retirement benefit plan – it includes education and makes available programs to help employees build their financial literacy as well as their financial well-being. Offering professional financial planning at no cost to employees based on their individual needs can bring real value to their lives.
Earning additional compensation or additional days off based on rewards – Paid time off, such as vacation and sick days, are standard benefits as are bonus programs. Additional days off, reward compensation based on recommendations or awards, or recognition of superlative efforts for employees to use however they choose can be a well-received enhancement to standard benefits.
Beyond Financial Incentives, Alone
Professional and career development benefits – Employees want their employer to offer educational and career development opportunities to help them build new skills and prepare for advancement. This shows that a company cares for its worker’s intellectual health. Offering mentors who will help them navigate the challenges of the workplace is also highly valued.
Education and/or student loan reimbursement – Tuition reimbursement programs have been around for a long time, but only for specific types of classes. For those employees who received their education before being hired, this benefit may not apply to them. However, for those who that situation applies, a student loan assistance program in similar amounts might be very attractive. Also, tuition reimbursement programs could be expanded to include non-degree seeking classes, art and music classes, and other learning opportunities outside the normal job description but essential for balance and diversity of interests.
Volunteer days and matching donations – Now more than ever, employees are looking for ways to give back to their communities through their jobs and for their employers to support the communities they operate in. Offering volunteer opportunities with paid time off to attend helps meet this desire and offers opportunities for team building. Also, having a program to match employee contributions to nonprofit organizations not only encourages them to donate but also shows the company’s commitment to the community.
Free food and stocked kitchens – Offering free team breakfast or lunches periodically can be a fun and easy way to provide both nutrition and an opportunity for team members to feel appreciated for the work they do. Stocking the break room with snacks and drinks allows employees to snack throughout the day to keep them from feeling hungry, which can also help maintain energy levels and increase motivation.
Paying Personal Attention
It’s critical that employers pay attention and assess the value that employees place on their benefits and communicate the available benefits. More importantly, to create a benefits package that will make an employer stand out and attract as well as retain talent, they need to spend time learning what’s important to their employees. Spend the time and dig deep, ask employees what they really want, and actively listen. The results may be surprisingly simple and not have a significant cost. Similarly, during the interview process, don’t be afraid to ask candidates what benefits they prefer. This is simple to do and at no cost to the company, but it can have a significant impact by showing a culture of caring that could be a real differentiator.
There is no universal, one-size-fits-all set of benefits and programs. The secret of a company’s success lies in the customization of the benefits package tailored to meet employees’ needs. The key is to offer programs that will enhance satisfaction and happiness with the hope of increasing retention and offering differentiation in the market that is attractive to potential employees.
Withum is a forward-thinking, technology-driven advisory and accounting firm, committed to helping clients in the hospitality industry be more profitable, efficient, and productive in the modern business landscape. For further information about Withum and its cybersecurity, digital advisory, and hospitality services teams, contact Lena Combs (LCombs@Withum.com) at (407) 849-1569 or visit www.withum.com.