6 Perks Candidates (and Employees) Seek in an Employer

December 15, 2020
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Author: Glenn Hunter

Following the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the number of job seekers and available candidates has increased. But the cream of the talent crop remains tough to find – and they’re often more wary about changing jobs.

There are definite qualities that employees and job candidates want from an employer in order to be happy.

To attract these superstars and retain them for the long haul, recruiters and talent acquisition professionals need to understand what today’s talent expects from employers and workplaces. Here is a list of the top six employee expectations:

1. Good pay and benefits programs. According to research conducted by Randstad, a human resources consulting firm, the No. 1 thing U.S. employees want when choosing an employer is attractive salary and benefits. Named by 56% of respondents in Randstad’s 2020 Employer Brand survey of employees, salary and benefits was down from 59% in 2019. The top four benefits preferred were healthcare, flexible work hours, additional vacation days and the ability to work from home.

2. A comfortable work-life balance. Work-life balance ranked No. 2 as an important consideration for 45% of those in the Randstad survey (it ranked #3 in the company’s 2018 study). Many companies are now taking proactive steps to ensure a positive work-life balance by offering extra benefits. General Mills gives three weeks of annual vacation to every employee, for example, and Discovery provides an in-house wellness center. Other organizations tout on-site childcare, paid volunteer days for charity work, and a “bring your baby to work” program for new mothers.

3. Long-term job security. Security with the company was an important consideration for 42% of those in the 2020 Randstad survey, down slightly from 44% in 2019. While top employees welcome being challenged with new tasks, ultimately they want to feel safe and secure in their workplaces. As a result, organizations are advised to communicate to these key workers their value and a promising future with the company. When employees are appreciated by their colleagues, they tend to stay motivated and loyal to those around them.

4. A positive company culture. The organization’s culture should be collaborative and enjoyable, encouraging input from every team member. A healthy culture can be a game-changer for talent acquisition, positioning your company ahead of others that aren’t as concerned with the value of employer-employee interaction. Leaders should regularly touch base with each worker, reinforcing the idea that their ideas and contributions are important. Setting aside time to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries or for periodic team-building exercises are hallmarks of a vibrant company culture. A strong culture pays off in many ways, not least because it attracts, and holds onto, premier talent.

5. Employee development opportunities. In a 2018 survey of 4,000 professionals by LinkedIn, a whopping 93% said they would stay with their current organization “if it invested in their careers.” There’s no doubt employees want to learn new things, stretch beyond their current skills, and move up in the organization. That’s why some companies offer leadership development programs and pay for their employees to attend industry conferences. Apple has taken things a step further, offering full reimbursement to its workers for continuing education classes. Organizations that invest proactively in their employees will attract cream-of-the-crop talent.

6. A great candidate experience. With a more competitive but still-volatile job market generating anxiety in some candidates, today’s applicants expect the hiring process to be seamless, timely, intuitive and positive. That means recruiters and talent acquisition pros should provide concise and accurate job descriptions, conduct transparent interviews, make realistic offers in a timely manner and communicate with applicants every stage of the way. This extends to the onboarding process as well. According to statistics from Click Boarding, an onboarding software firm, 58% of new employees are more likely to still be with the organization after three years if they go through a structured onboarding program.

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