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Ty Burke, Partner, The Accel Group

You don’t have to look hard to find news on the current state of the U.S. labor market. Local newspaper headlines report on the tight labor market and continue to express a gloomy remainder of the year. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predicts an employee turnover ‘tsunami’ when the pandemic ends. They also stated that more than half of employees surveyed in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021.

With this type of future uncertainty, my mind, oddly enough, goes to a children’s book. Bestselling author Jon Gordon recently released The Coffee Bean.

In this book, he teaches readers that life is often difficult. Life can be harsh and stressful, feeling like a pot of boiling hot water. He notes that the environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test who we truly are. For example, we can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like an egg that hardens. Or we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment.
During times like this, organizations have the power inside their four walls to transform the environment and overcome the challenge at hand to attract and retain employees. Like the coffee bean, transformation comes from the inside out.

One piece of this transformation can be to focus on a robust employee benefit program that is attractive to your workforce. Here are some practical steps to consider as a part of your transformation.

Survey your existing employees

There is no one size fits all approach to selecting benefits for your workforce. Conducting a survey can help you understand how your current benefit program is perceived and spot trends to act on. Additionally, this is a great way to engage with your employees and help them feel valued. Engaged employees perform better and stick around longer.

Annual reviews

If you are not currently doing one on one visits with your staff, I would encourage you to do so. This is a great time to provide a continual reminder of the existing benefits you offer. We find that many individuals only pay attention to the benefits that they believe pertain to them during the time of election. As we all know, life has a way of changing quickly. Keep the benefit offerings and their elections top of mind.

Cost containment and options

The buck stops here. Work to get to a place where you feel good about the benefits you are offering as well as the cost associated with them. Henry Ford said it well, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” There are options out there to meet your budget as an employer and satisfy the needs of your team. Some organizations can achieve this overnight; for others, it is a multi-year approach.

Onboarding strategies

Engage new hires before their start date. Take the time to shore up your onboarding materials and impress. This is your opportunity to help a new team member become engaged in your culture and the company’s success. Data proves that first impressions matter. Poor onboarding procedures lead to a loss of productivity and a shorter stint within your organization.

Employee referral programs

Use your current team to be ambassadors for your organization! Establishing an employee referral program is a great way to attract new hires and reward current employees. Employees with strong friendships at work are more loyal and engaged on the job.

Exit interviews

Conducting an exit interview provides the opportunity to gain insight on the reasons why an employee is leaving your organization. Look at them as a tool to reveal patterns and trends in areas that you may need to improve upon. High turnover is costly.

My final recommendation is to work with a trusted advisor to optimize your benefit offerings and assist in each of the areas above. The journey is worth it.

Lastly, be a coffee bean! Transform your organization from the inside out!