Numerous jobs can be performed remotely or on a hybrid schedule. Still, more than 70% of full-time roles require people to work onsite. For instance, consider those involved in transportation, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, as well as frontline workers in healthcare, education, retail, hospitality, and other service industries. How can companies in these sectors attract and retain talent more effectively? This article looks at how specialized benefits for onsite employees can help.
Demand for Onsite Employees Remains High
Employers have been reeling from a series of one-two punches in recent years. It all started with the pandemic quarantine in 2020. Then in 2021, more than 47 million people left their jobs during the so-called “Great Resignation.” Soon after that, the notion of “quiet quitting” caught fire, when many who remained in their jobs decided it was no longer worth the effort to go above-and-beyond.
By the start of this year, work trends hit a low ebb. On average, 4 million U.S. employees were resigning each month, and at least 50% of the workforce was doing no more than the bare minimum. Yet job openings remained at historic highs. No wonder companies continue scrambling to engage and retain talent — especially frontline workers.
How Targeted Benefits Help
With inflation already cutting into profits at many companies, higher wages aren’t in this year’s budget. So instead, they’re developing special benefits packages for onsite employees.
Of course, benefits have always been a factor in every candidates’ decision to accept a job offer. But now, attractive benefits are even more important — especially when remote or hybrid work arrangements aren’t an option.
Thoughtful benefits that address the interests of onsite employees can make a big difference in an environment where employers offer remote and hybrid workers 35-hour workweeks, unlimited PTO, gym memberships, and a host of other creative options.
Here’s how a solid benefits package can help tip the scale in your favor in today’s talent market…
Which Benefits Do Onsite Employees Value Most?
1. Flexible Schedules
When remote work isn’t an option, flexibility is a must. In fact, 95% of workers think flexible hours are more attractive than remote work, according to a recent Future Forum survey. An Adobe survey echoes this finding, with 84% of respondents saying they desire a more flexible work schedule.
2. Flexible Personal Time Off
Flexibility in PTO has also been gaining traction. In the wake of the pandemic, traditional ways of allocating time off no longer appeal to onsite employees. For example, imagine a parent sometimes volunteers at their child’s school for several hours during the work day. That employee should feel empowered to adjust their schedule accordingly.
The same concept should apply for people who need PTO when they need time off to focus on their mental wellbeing. In fact, a recent Harris Poll found that 23% of workers are receiving new mental health services from their employers.
3. Childcare Assistance
Childcare benefits have also become more popular. Whether it’s a stipend to help cover ongoing costs, discounts on daycare center services, or onsite childcare options, these benefits can make a significant difference. In fact, childcare costs increased more than 40% during the pandemic, and they continue to rise. This is why onsite employees consider childcare assistance a highly valuable benefit.
4. Career Development
For many workers, professional growth is a primary concern. That’s why learning and development opportunities can elevate your benefits package for onsite employees.
If your budget doesn’t support a full-blown educational initiative, even a simple lunch-and-learn event series can help. Topics can reach beyond work-related skills and knowledge. For example, workers might find it helpful to learn about personal financial planning, healthy eating, time management or other life skills. By gathering input about employee interests, you can co-create a curriculum.
Building a Better Benefits Packages
How to attract and retain employees with benefits is a question for the ages. Many types of incentives can enhance recruitment and improve engagement, productivity and performance. But whatever you choose to offer, the overall package must make sense for your company and your culture, as well as individual employees. These guidelines can help you make better decisions:
1. Conduct Focus Groups
Involving employees in planning discussions is always a good idea. It’s the most logical way to arrive at reliable answers about the benefits people value most.
You’ll want to schedule at least several different sessions, each with a representative sample of onsite employees. You’ll also need to prepare a series of carefully designed questions, along with discussion prompts to keep the conversation going. Additionally, be sure to choose moderators who are skilled at leading discussions, probing for details, and gathering feedback from all participants.
2. Send out Surveys
If you don’t have time or energy to conduct focus groups, you can rely on the tried-and-true method of distributing an anonymous survey to gather honest input. This process may uncover certain employee benefits and incentives you wouldn’t learn about in group discussions. That’s because some people aren’t comfortable sharing their ideas in a small group setting, so an anonymous survey can be an effective way to give more employees a voice.
3. Establish an Employee Resource Group
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that share a common interest and/or characteristic. They generally focus on accomplishing specific goals that tie-in with organizational culture and work life. Most groups exist to help cultivate inclusion and a healthy work environment, so this can be an ideal way to bring together voices that can speak and act on behalf of onsite employees.
4. Monitor the Competition
Even if you have strong internal input, you’ll find that studying industry competitors offers a wealth of information about how to build an attractive benefit plan for onsite employees. Look at standard practices and benchmarks — both inside and outside of your industry. With this kind of contextual insight, you may even find that you can expand and improve upon what others offer.
The Bottom Line on Benefits for Onsite Employees
Money may be one of the fastest ways to motivate employees, but even employers with deep pockets can’t compete on price alone. Another company will inevitably find a way to offer people more. This is why a thoughtfully designed benefits package can be your strength. People are motivated by more than compensation. It all comes down to finding the right mix of benefits to attract and retain onsite employees.
For the best solution, start with your organization’s culture, values, and business realities. Then craft a benefits package that fits that framework.