Want to hire the best talent? Want to keep your best employees from running away? Here are the 2 new types of benefits your company needs to offer.

The unemployment rate is at an 18 year low. There are more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them. In other words- it’s a jobseeker’s market. And keeping skilled workers has become a problem for HR departments nationwide.

Higher salaries and comprehensive benefits are a logical solution. But poor employee retention is not the kind of problem you can throw money at and expect to disappear. In order to keep your employees, you first have to understand what they expect from the workplace.

The twenty-first century brought structural changes to our economy. Our expectations of work have changed in response. People expect to change companies every five years. They don’t expect to hold the same kind of positions their entire lifetimes. Companies no longer expect lifetime devotion from their employees. Employees expect their employer to respect that their lives aren’t devoted to the company. They expect their jobs to improve their lives in ways beyond a paycheck. They seek not just a good dental plan, but new kinds of extrinsic and intrinsic benefits. Here’s what that means

New extrinsic benefits

When you hear the phrase “extrinsic benefit” or “extrinsic reward,” you probably think of raises and bonuses. And yes- an extrinsic benefit may be a physical or tangible reward. But it can also be anything external to a position that motivates an employee to do his or her best.

For example, a pleasant company culture can be considered an extrinsic benefit to a certain position. The happiness a marketer may derive from her friendships with her co-workers isn’t directly related to her daily task of- let’s say- writing blogs. But having friends in the office will help your marketer feel invested in the success of your company, and may motivate her to work harder at those blogs.

What’s one extrinsic benefit that your business might not be providing your workers? Programs and services that improve work-life balance.

Work-life balance is a huge concern for workers today. 88% would consider choosing a lower-paying job with better health insurance and more flexible hours over one with a higher salary. Millennials especially value flexible schedules and paid time off. Millennials rank work-life balance as their chief career priority– above wealth-building and leadership opportunities.

Many businesses now offer their employees benefits that improve work-life balance. These include parental leave, flexible hours, and unlimited sick and vacation days. But some organizations don’t just give their employees more time off. They also give their employees access to fun things to fill that time with. Major health networks, for example, have started to offer their employees discounts on tickets to shows, theme parks, and concerts and even dating services. 

Your business doesn’t have to provide your employees discounts on designer footwear. Your employees will appreciate any perk that helps them reach a better work-life balance- be it paid time off, discounted gym memberships or childcare services.

New intrinsic benefits

“Intrinsic benefits” or “intrinsic rewards” are derived directly from work. Let’s revisit the marketer example from the previous section. An intrinsic benefit to writing a blog may be the competence your marketer feels after penning a particularly jazzy sentence.

Competence, meaningfulness, choice, and progress have long been recognized as necessary components for engagement. However- unlike a raise or a splashy perks program- these four “intrinsic rewards” are difficult to provide your employees. After all, intrinsic rewards must come directly from the work itself- and from your employees’ relationships with their work.

Although you can’t artificially create an “intrinsic benefits program,” you can increase the likelihood your employees will derive these intrinsic rewards from their work.

You can boost your employee’s feelings of competence by offering mentoring and training programs. Continuing education and new skills development programs are also increasingly important to today’s workers.

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, 72 percent of companies surveyed believed career paths aren’t defined or hierarchical anymore. If you provide your employees with opportunities to develop a variety of marketable new skills, you equip them to survive in a quick-changing economy. But you also allow them to feel as though they are competent at their work, progressing in their careers, and that they have the choice to switch job titles or specialties if they want.

What about meaningfulness? In the past, your company might have relied on monthly awards ceremonies to help your employees remember why you appreciate their hard work. You might have relied on annual events to boost engagement, or on email to broadcast your company’s mission.

Engagement platforms and software have made it easier to reach employees in real time. You- and your entire company- can now congratulate your employees for a job well done within moments of big sale or an averted technical disaster. You can send out weekly video reminders of your employees’ latest and greatest successes or your organization’s mission and vision.

The Take-Away

In the end, you can’t bribe the best talent to stay at your organization. You can’t force your employees to love their work. But if you put yourself in the shoes of the people who keep your company in business, you will be able to learn what they need from an employer. Give them this. You’ll already be doing more than the other guys.