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Even Small Benefits Aid in Employee Retention

It takes more than just a good paycheck to recruit and retain the best employees, according to newly released research.

A comprehensive benefits package and other ways of offering employee fulfillment are the most important factors when attracting and keeping hold of workers, according to a study from the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

“If your employees are feeling like you are taking care of them, they are going to be more engaged,” Alex Clemente, managing director of HBR Analytic Services, told BusinessNewsDaily. “It is important to figure out how you can be perceived as a company that is employee-focused.”

While small businesses might not be able to afford all the costs associated with large-scale benefit plans -- which could include long-term health insurance , life insurance and even smaller costs like local gym memberships -- Clemente said simply being able to offer them is a plus for prospective employees.

“There are ways to be able to provide all of these options without having to pay for them all,” such as offering extra benefits at a reduced price for employees, Clemente said. “Having the option makes the employees feel that you have gone above and beyond the basics.”

Effective communication with employees regarding the offered benefits is also critical, Clemente said -- particularly for small businesses.

Often, younger employees might not understand the importance of long-term health care or life insurance and why the company is providing these things for them, he explained.

The study indicates that employees who believe their benefits were effectively communicated are more likely to feel their employer values their work and cares about their well-being. In return, this allows them to show higher levels of engagement, morale and loyalty.

Additional highlights of the study, which included research with 394 individuals who identified themselves as benefits and human resources decision-makers, were:

  • Companies that have focused on the well-being of their employees have experienced fewer cutbacks in recent years and have been able to better weather the recession and were less likely to view turnover and employee engagement as a top challenge;
  • Companies that describe themselves as employee-focused are more likely to offer benefits out of a sense of responsibility for their employees.



Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.