Attracting and retaining talent – it’s more than the salary and perks

There’s much talk in the industry about how salaries and those all-important perks are the key drivers behind securing and keeping staff, but if this is the case, why does Deloitte and Gallup research show almost 80 per cent of HR departments have a serious problem with retention?

The issue was raised at a recent seminar I attended and it very much echoed my views; today’s workforce considers salaries and benefits as givens and employers must do more to show they value their staff. As the speaker opined, a salary and the traditional benefits may create attachment but they do not encourage commitment.

Employers today need to go that extra mile both with their perks and the workspace they provide. New recruits at one client can choose and design a leading trainer brand, bespoke to them; another takes departments to differing locations for a long weekend; and a third provides dry cleaning. I appreciate not all employers can offer this, but if you ‘think outside the box’ and offer a perk that resonates with the individual rather than the whole workforce, you’re more likely to secure that elusive commitment.

Similarly in the workspace, employers need to provide environments where their people can thrive and so boost productivity rather than inhibit them. The Leesman Index measures the relationship between people and place in varying organisations and sectors and reports only 54 per cent of respondents agree the design of their workplace allows them to work productively. That’s a worrying statistic.

Employees dissatisfied with their surroundings will feel less valued and so keen to work elsewhere – no matter how good the pay and benefits. It’s therefore important to create differing environments and give people a choice where to perform the tasks they’re required to do.

This may include workspaces for focused activities, quiet areas, telephone-type booths, areas for open and confidential collaboration, break-out spaces and places to relax, refuel and exercise. Flexible working has blurred the boundaries between work and play and so the office has to provide facilities for both.

Those extra touches such as decent coffee, free breakfast cereals and a daily topped-up fruit bowl can go a long way in making people feel more valued and so more committed to their employer.