5 Incentives You Need to Offer Right Now to Keep Talent

It’s not about the money! Employees are looking for perks – here’s 5 incentives to bring to the table.

In the 20+ years that I’ve been in talent acquisition, I’ve been through 3 distinct recessions in the United States. This latest recession is different than anything else I’ve been through. For the first time in my career, candidates, all candidates, truly are in the driver’s seat. Candidates are confident. They are asking for more, and they are getting it. 

Employees are also looking for more. Pay is the minimum, but as employees watch new hires come in with incentives, they are asking for more to stay.

Employers have to get creative and go beyond the traditional sign-on or retention bonuses. Employees are looking for more than a one-time cash incentive. You need to find something that is meaningful and memorable. 

Let’s take a look at some incentives and then some new options:

Sign-on Bonus

The sign-on bonus is a fairly traditional way to get folks to choose your organisation over another. While cash is nice (not many are going to turn down cash!), does that really set you apart from the competition? 

This is just one part of the selection process and feeds into the overall candidate experience. Whatever you offer to candidates should fit into the experience, which you should be working to make feel like a personalised experience for each person. No candidate should feel like they are just another part of the assembly line.

One big change to new hire incentives is that many companies aren’t just offering these incentives to certain positions, but to most positions. We are seeing hiring bonuses being offered to food service, housekeeping, and customer service representatives. 

Referral Bonus

Your employees are still your best source for new employees. They know the job, they know the culture of their department and they likely know someone outside the organisation who could be not only a good match but a good colleague for themselves. The problem is that sometimes your current employees aren’t aware of what positions need to be filled and many times they do not receive even a thank you for bringing someone new into the organisation. Organisations also tend to be a bit stingy with the referral bonuses – only offering them for a successful hire who has stayed with the organisation for a set amount of time. 

It’s time to help your employees better understand the process and reward them for assisting with filling your talent pipeline, even if it doesn’t lead to an immediate hire. This can also assist your employees in understanding your talent selection process.

Retention Bonus

These are usually given to a group of employees who are at risk of leaving due to a new employer coming in or they may be given to an individual employee who brings a new offer and threat of leaving. The problem with retention bonuses is they are a bit of a “last-ditch” effort to keep employees who have already considered leaving. And they typically come with a requirement to stay for a set length of time. Much like a counter-offer, it may keep people for a bit, but retention bonuses aren’t really a long-term solution.

Other Incentives

In order to keep employees engaged, you may need to come up with a variety of incentives to reward actions that you want to recognise. You may want to recognise based on years of service, above and beyond projects, or even as a small thank you for a job well done. Perhaps you have a couple of managers who want to host competitions on completing annual education or picking up extra shifts. 

Creating Options

As you look at employee incentives, it is time to get creative. It is time to get personal. When I reached out to other HR professionals to ask what they were doing for new employees, I received a wide variety of answers from an onsite English tutor for some international hires to front-loaded vacation time to annual passes to a local amusement park. What I really saw, however, was choice. And that is exactly what employees want: choice.

This can be tricky for you to administer. Cash is easy. We do cash all the time – we write checks to our employees every payday. We know cash. What we don’t know is how do we gift an employee a car, season tickets to Disney World, or language lessons? Some of these questions you would need to work with your finance team. There may be tax implications for your employee that you need to be aware of and need to be able to explain. 

Once you figure out the financial implications, you need to figure out what’s next. I recommend finding a way to combine these incentives into a single place to make it easier for you and your employees. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may want to work with a vendor who can assist you with creating a database that can track the different options. Talk to your employees to find out what kind of options would interest them and work with vendors to see what you can do. Check out what your competition is offering to at least try to match it.

Maybe after all of this, you are wondering why you have to do anything and why can’t you just offer people a paycheck anymore. Unfortunately, the game has changed and if you want to compete, you need to keep up. We live and work in a new world where you aren’t just competing with the guys across the street, but with companies around the world. If you want to remain competitive, you need to step up your game!

What have you done to retain eomployees successfully? Let us know in the comments below.