What It Means to Be a Talent Magnet in Today's Job Market

What It Means to Be a Talent Magnet in Today's Job Market

When it comes to the talent market, employers are facing a perfect storm of converging factors:

  • The U.S. unemployment rate was at 4.4% as of August 2017, close to the lowest ever seen.1  
  • The average tenure per job of 18-35 year-olds is 1.6 years. And by 2020, this age group (millennials and Gen Z'ers) will make up half of the workforce.2 
  • The rise of the gig economy, entrepreneurial exploration and other trends show talent is moving away from full-time jobs.

It’s a candidates’ market right now, and those candidates are increasingly willing to jump ship if a better opportunity presents itself.

The pressure is on HR departments everywhere.

According to a recent survey from Human Resource Executive, HR professionals rank attracting and retaining diverse talent as their second most pressing issue falling close behind keeping employees engaged and productive. And more than two-thirds of HR professionals say they’re feeling extremely or very concerned about losing talent over the next 12 months.3

But that doesn’t have to mean perpetual external recruitment.

Use technology to become a talent magnet.

Your benefits program has the potential to be one of the most powerful tools in your talent management arsenal.

Technology can help you unlock that potential by making it easier to adapt your benefits strategy – the plans you offer, how you communicate, the enrollment experience, etc. – to fit the evolving needs and expectations of your workforce.

The end result? Happier, healthier, more satisfied employees who'll stick around, giving you a serious competitive edge in the battle for top talent. 

Here are few key areas of focus to help you evaluate your technology needs in pursuit of "talent magnet" status with your benefits program:

1. Consumerism

con·sum·er·ism (noun): meaning the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers.

The first step in getting to the heart of attracting and retaining talent is by being able to identify the interests of your current and prospective employees. Because the reality is that we are in the age of the consumer, and you should see your employees as such.  

Consumers want to connect to a product or service that adds value to their lives and matches their interests. In the realm of personal products, there are thousands upon thousands of products targeting different groups of people based on their lifestyles, preferences and interests.

If you have an Instagram account, you know what I'm talking about. As a self-proclaimed cat lady, I am constantly targeted with the latest cat products. For those that do most of their online shopping on Amazon, you see a variation on this theme with the section of recommended products. Combining your purchase plus preferences, you're shown the most relevant products.

Now, benefits may not be as exciting as the latest cat toys or Amazon purchases, but the same theory applies for employees evaluating a benefits package. One-size-fits-all won’t work. Employees want to see a range of benefit offerings, so they can put together a package that will provide the most value and for their individual needs.    

But beyond that, consumerism is also about how employees experience your benefits program. And the cornerstone of that experience is enrollment. 

Do your employees have a consumer-friendly enrollment experience? Is it similar to that of modern online retailers? Your employees have become accustomed to guided shopping experiences, with personalized recommendations to take the guesswork out of their buying decisions. This is how the modern consumer operates. So consider how your enrollment experience can reflect that expectation.

Additionally, your employees are used to having video and mobile as part of their consumer experiences outside of work. The ability to provide visual communication and on-demand, on-the-go access to benefits enrollment and management goes a long way in creating a more engaging benefits experience.

2. Personalization

As you may have gathered from the discussion above, consumerism and personalization are two peas of the same pod.

In terms of employee recruitment and retention, it boils down to how you personalize your total rewards strategy.

Since benefits play a significant role in total rewards, it’s important that you understand the various health profiles and financial needs of your workforce, so you can ensure you’re providing the types of benefits they care about most and best fit their individual situation.

Basically, how are you helping to address your employees' most pressing needs? If you want employees to remain loyal, offering meaningful benefits will make a huge difference.

More and more employers recognize this and are increasing their investment in voluntary benefits to supplement coverage for those who need it. In fact, the percentage of employers offering at least three voluntary income protection benefits has nearly doubled over the last year.

Diving a bit deeper, personalization also includes providing employees with decision support tools backed by data.

Data is power. Consider online retail experiences. You can easily look back at your previous purchases and see your shopping history. In online banking, you’re able to see your previous bank statements. Do employees have that same ability to review their own claims data or even physician practice patterns?

What a world of difference this would make when it comes to helping employees evaluate plan choices at open enrollment, and enabling them to better anticipate their risk exposure for the upcoming year.

Technology can help you seamlessly integrate these types of tools, as well as voluntary benefits, into your enrollment experience to provide greater context in which employees can navigate their options.

Learn more about how you can drive employee financial wellness through voluntary benefits in this on-demand webinar.

3. Communication

Putting yourself in a better position for employee recruitment and retention starts and ends with communication. Because it’s one thing to have the perfect match of benefits and tools to employee needs, but entirely another to cross the communication divide.

So, think about your benefits program in terms of the story you want to tell both internally and externally.

Internally, you have a lot of control over the messages you’re sending and their timing. Through a year-round communication campaign, you can consider the messages that are important to your employees at different times of the year and the messages you want to convey. For instance, if it’s the start of a new year, help employees get up to speed on the advantages of the benefits they just selected during open enrollment. Summertime? Remind them of your wellness offerings.

Here’s where technology steps in. It can help you automate this process. With event-based messaging features, the ability to target messages to different subsets of employees and text messaging capabilities, you can plan early and generate excitement in ways that employees appreciate.

Externally, your story includes both you and your employees.

I don’t know about you, but when I go to purchase a product on Amazon, I read the product description to make sure it matches what I need, and then I immediately read the reviews. Depending on what people say about that particular product, it could be a deal-breaker in whether or not I end up purchasing it.

For employee recruitment and retention, sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor play an increasingly important role. Prospective employees want to see what current ones are saying about their experience. On the other side of the coin, you also have the opportunity to use these sites to position your company as a thought leader, feature your associates, and play up your strengths to both passive and active candidates.

As you look towards 2018, are there any strategies or solutions you could implement to maximize your retention efforts?

Watch the on-demand webinar, Employee Retention: The Surprising Truth & Strategies to Respond, to learn what’s critical for today’s talent field.   


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Human Resource Executive, "What’s Keeping HR Up at Night?" Survey