Work-life balance is nice, there’s no question about that. But it’s important to understand how beneficial it can be for employers as well. The average U.S. workday is getting longer, while younger generations in the workplace are insisting enough is enough. Employers are getting crafty when it comes to offering benefits with work-life balance to recruit and retain top talent. Here are three new ways they’re attracting and keeping workers.
Student loan repayment
What’s weighing on the hearts and minds of many young recruits? Student loan debt. A growing number of companies now offer some form of assistance on paying back student loans to help alleviate this added stress, and to get employees on the road to saving for retirement. In fact, Business Insider reports there’s been a 300 percent increase over the past two years in employer adoption of student loan assistance benefits. These employers include Fortune 500 companies, top 100 law and consulting firms as well as smaller startups and more traditional companies.
How are they doing it? “An increasing number of companies are learning they can offer a student loan benefit for free,” explains Dan Macklin, vice president of Community & Member Success and co-founder of finance company SoFi. While larger employers choose to help subsidize student loan payments, he adds, there are other options. “Those that can’t subsidize can simply partner with a student loan refinancing company to offer refinancing as a voluntary benefit (typically with an additional interest rate discount).”
Telehealth and telemedicine
Not feeling well? Call the doctor, via video chat. Telehealth and telemedicine refers to the growing trends of patients being able have an official doctor’s office visit with a physician digitally. While the practice has been around for 40 years, better videoconferencing and security has allowed for the practice to catapult past legal concerns to be covered under many standard healthcare plans. HR Dive reports that, toward the end of 2014, 48 percent of employers offered some sort of telehealth option. In 2016, 74 percent of employers will offer telehealth options.
According to Jake Childers, MD, the lead physician administrator for eMD Access, a partnership between Austin Regional Clinic and CirrusMD, employers and their staff benefit from more convenience and reduced healthcare costs as well as other advantages.
“Patients can work around their own schedules, avoid multiple calls to the doctor’s office and not have to drive anywhere,” says Dr. Childers. “For employers, this type of program can cut healthcare expenses, attract and retain talent, reduce work absenteeism and boost employee morale. It’s a win/win.”
Flexibility without stigma
You’re likely sick and tired of being told the virtues of allowing employees to telecommute from home. Quite frankly, so are we. But here’s a bit of new research from Leadership IQ that got our attention: Only 24 percent of people who work in an office say they love their jobs. But 38 percent of mobile workers (those who use multiple spaces both in and out of the office) and a whopping 45 percent of telecommuting workers love their jobs.
Even more interesting, perhaps, these workers who are on-the-go or who work from home were rated as being more ambitious and willing to pull all-nighters to meet deadlines than their in-the-office counterparts.
A recent Ernst & Young LLP survey reinforces the carnal need for today’s top talent to have better work-life balance. They found that workers of all generations value flexibility but Millennials, in particular, are insisting that enough is enough when it comes to rigid schedules.
- 75 percent want the ability to work flexibly and still be on track for promotion.
- 80 percent say their top reason to stay in a job includes competitive benefits like flexibility.
- 74 percent want colleagues and supervisors who support their being able to work flexibly without stigma.
- 86 percent are less likely to quit if paid parental leave (for both women and men) is offered.
Flexibility is entering the discussion at all recruiting levels. Work-life balance continues to be a struggle for women as they climb the corporate ladder, Priti Shah, the vice president of leadership product strategy and corporate development for Skillsoft, told HR Dive. She adds that having programs in place that particularly allow parents greater flexibility will keep them in the workforce in the long-run, and create more opportunities for women to reach the C-suite.
Have you added new benefits focused on work-life balance to help recruit new talent? Has it improved your recruiting efforts? We’d love to know what’s working for you!
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