HR professor

Employee Benefits: What Attracts Employees?

Very often, managers are in a dilemma on how to attract talent. Yes, we all know that the juicier the carrot, the better the catch. But the problem lies in the fact that it is not just how interesting is your employee benefit package, but also how well you have packaged the employee benefits. Moreover, employees are now interested in getting real carrots (that is real employee benefits) than notional ones. Let me elaborate this with an example.

Symbiotic Engineering always had a problem retaining and attracting talented people. With technological advances in the industry, employees were always on the lookout for 'better experience' and faster growth in pay. The managers of the company decided to use the 'juicy carrot' theme. They offered higher basic salary. Their slogan was 'a penny in hand is worth two in the pipeline'. Hence, there were no false promises, nor any dreams of glorious future. The equation was simple: more work equals to more cash on hand. Suddenly the company seemed to be flooded with recruits.

Now this approach is what I call as 'the fat juicy carrot trick'. The great thing about this trick is that the exchange is straightforward and simple. More salary gives flexibility to employees to use their funds the way they choose. There are no facades. What you see is what you get. What you produce is what you get paid for.

The problem with this trick is that very often employees don't try to aim very high. If the target is too high, then the grapes seem sour. Most of the time, employees don't like to move out of their comfort zone. Hence, they restrict their performance to the acceptable level. Since there is no real need to stick their necks out, employees find it convenient to produce enough to earn a decent pay. So why bother about being a member of the Super Achiever's Club or struggle to make it to the highest rung of the corporate ladder?

This is where the 'shiny juicy carrot with a free camera trick' makes sense. Add perks to the pay. Don't just talk money; talk house rent, company car, paid holidays, and more. Spice it up with some financial benefits like EMI, food coupons, scholarships, and membership to prestigious clubs.

How does this approach work? Well, for one, it gets employees to upgrade their lifestyle. New lifestyle translates to higher social status. Employees who are accustomed to a particular lifestyle find it difficult to renounce their worldly pleasures. This is motivation enough to keep them swimming in deeper waters. A good employee benefit design, with a balanced proportion of basic salary and perks, acts as a comfort pillow for employees.

However, you need to know that merely good pay and perks are not helpful in retaining employees. There has to be intellectual stimulation in the work environment. Employees need to learn and grow. Static work means stagnation of career. And neither your employee nor you want that.

Employee training, skills enhancement, job rotation, seminars, assessment programs are all different ways to keep the employees sharpening their edges. Managers have to keep their workers on their toes, with consistent motivation, training and feedback for accelerated development.

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