Keep Pace with Changing Staff Needs

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Today's labor market gives workers more opportunity to move from one company to another looking for increased job satisfaction.

As a result, many companies are scrambling to find benefits to keep their employees satisfied. The cost of replacing an employee is high -- estimated at 25 to 50 percent of the person's annual salary.

Balance the concerns of younger employees with those who already raised families, whose parents are aging and who may be planning their retirements. You'll score points from both sides. Poll your workers to see what concerns they have and where your company's policies leave a gap.

Here are two areas you might be able to beef up without busting your budget:

1. Family support. Consider day care subsidy for new parents, time off for childbirth or adoption and a few days off for new grandparents.

2. Flextime. If you allow parents to rearrange schedules to attend school functions during the day, let older employees do the same to visit elderly parents. Mature employees may also need time off to visit colleges with their high-school-age children.

More expensive fixes involve offering paid insurance for employees and their families, subsidized or paid elder care, more paid vacation, more paid personal time off and stronger retirement packages.

As employees try to balance their professional and personal lives, they often need employers to take on a greater role. By meeting their needs across the generations, your company will get a skilled and productive workforce that's more likely to stay put than to check out the perks available elsewhere.

"Family friendly" programs that favor only younger workers can backfire as Baby Boomers and more mature workers develop new needs and begin to feel left out. Be sure to offer perks that meet the needs of all your staff members.

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