4 Tips to Boost Retention through Total Compensation

Retaining talent is the top organizational concern this year according to an isolved survey of 1,000 HR-decision makers. These same decision-makers say employees’ increasing expectations for the experiences they have at work is the biggest threat facing retention.

Although increasing employee expectations can be driven by external factors (like what employees see on social media and the consumer experiences they have outside of work), total compensation still plays a critical role. In fact, HR decision-makers say competitive compensation and competitive benefits are the top two investments that can be made to deliver employee experiences that matter.



It's safe to say that employees agree with that assessment.

In a separate survey of more than 1,000 full-time employees, 85% said inflation has impacted their spending habits, causing the majority to save less and 45% to actually dip into their savings. What’s more, 55% said they are living paycheck-to-paycheck. As such, investing in employee experience through total compensation can be a differentiator that helps employers address their top organizational concern this year – retaining top talent. Here are some considerations:

  1. Address salary with raises.
    Salary is the top motivator for accepting a job offer, but it can also influence an employee’s decision of how long they stay with their employer. With inflation taking a toll on employees’ spending and saving habits, it’s more imperative for employers to not only provide merit increases, but cost-of-living increases when applicable. While merit increases are typically dependent on the employees’ performance, cost-of-living increases can help employees keep up with inflation and rising living expenses.

  2. Elevate experience with benefits.
    Seventy-seven percent of employees consider benefits part of their total compensation, and those same employees say total compensation is a significant factor when deciding to stay with their current employer. But what kind of benefits are employees looking for? These are the top three benefits employees said they’d like their employer to offer:
    1. Four-day work week
    2. Student debt relief/tuition reimbursement
    3. Paid mental health days

    What’s interesting is that paid mental health days were prioritized over unlimited paid time off. The likely reason being that employees want dedicated time that they can take to decompress. Studies have also shown that employees with access to unlimited paid time off don’t always take advantage of it. They are concerned that if they do, it may be looked at as though they are exploiting the policy.

  3. Empower employees to access wages as they earn them.
    What employees want from their employers will vary across organizations and industries. This is where pulse surveys can be beneficial to understanding specific workforce wants. Something as simple as offering on-demand pay (also known as earned wage access), for example, can set employers apart from the competition and boost employee experience throughout the organization. Seventy-six percent of HR decision-makers say their organization is currently offering on-demand pay, and more than half of those not offering this financial-wellness option are considering offering it soon. Those without plans to offer on-demand pay say the top reason why is because their employees haven’t asked for it. It’s important to note, however, that proactively offering on-demand pay can help employers stay ahead of evolving employee expectations – providing a better overall experience for the entire workforce.

  4. Support financial wellness with dedicated programs.
    Most employers care about the financial wellness of their employees – with 93% of the surveyed HR decision-makers saying it was important to leadership within their organization. The main reason why leadership cares about financial wellness is because it helps with retention, but leadership also understands it influences productivity and engagement.

    Financial wellness programs give employers a great opportunity to support the financial well-being of their workforce. This can include everything from retirement offerings to providing financial education, counseling and other resources that help employees manage their finances and plan for the future.

    Boosting Experience to Improve Retention
    The bottom line is that money talks long after an employee signs a job offer. With retention being a top organizational concern for HR leaders this year, it’s essential that employers deliver better employee experiences to keep their top performers. With that being said, investing in salary, benefits and overall financial wellness may be the best retention strategy yet.

    Karyn Rhodes, SHRM-SCP, SPHR - Senior Director of HR Solutions at isolved
    [email protected]
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