Parental Leave and Other Benefits Should be Seen as a Recruiting Tool, Especially for Hard to Fill Jobs
Parental leave in the U.S. has long lagged behind other countries, but San Francisco's decision to mandate six weeks of parental leave can help to move the needle on leave and other benefits, especially as businesses compete for lower wage or trade skill employees.
Technology companies have been leaders in offering innovative and generous benefits as a way to attract and retain in-demand professionals like software engineers. Offerings like free meals, free or subsidized childcare and unlimited time off boost recruiting efforts, though are not realistic for many companies who are struggling to fill other types of roles.
Our data shows that trade jobs and hourly positions are some of the hardest for small and large businesses to fill. Indeed’s Chief Economist Tara Sinclair sees this as a big challenge - as baby boomers retire from these types of roles, millennials are not stepping in, leaving companies with roles unfilled for long periods of time. Here are some of the hardest roles to fill right now (jobs open for at least 90 days):
● Construction assistants
● Tailors and dress makers
● Carpet installers
● Fitness trainers
In order to attract and retain great employees, especially when compensation is nearly equal amongst competitors, companies should consider beefing up their benefits programs. While it may seem like a cost burden, it can actually help create loyalty and longevity. It can cost companies more to leave a job open for a long period of time than it does to extend benefits.
Here are some benefits that can help attract employees:
● Parental Leave: Caring for a newborn child can put strain on families who simply can’t afford to take unpaid leave. Offering new parents or primary caregivers some paid leave like San Francisco can be a huge differentiator.
● Paid Time Off (PTO): The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) does not require employers to provide paid time off. For companies looking to fill competitive roles, offering some form of PTO is very attractive to candidates, and will also help to create loyalty. Benchmark what your competitors are doing and offer a little bit more time off - it can have a big impact on the candidate’s decision.
● Incentive and Recognition Programs: Incentive and recognition programs are morale boosters and can vary greatly, depending on the company. Incentives can include bonuses, commissions and social gatherings to celebrate accomplishments. Even small, low cost initiatives can help create a sense of community within an organization, which leads to happier, more engaged employees.
● Flexibility: Offering some form of flexibility in the workday is something employees really value. Allowing an occasional early departure to catch a school play for example shows employees that you trust them and that you understand that flexible work hours can help them balance their work and personal obligations.
It’s hard enough to find the talent that you need, and once you have them, you have to work just as hard to retain them. Instead of constantly planning for turnover, try expanding your benefits program instead.