Beyond Base Salary, Part 2: The Top 3 Workplace Benefits That Attract Top Talent

Apr 3, 2024

In part 1 of our Beyond Base Salary series, we covered 7 of our top 10 workplace benefits that attract top talent. In this article, Executive Vice Presidents Justin Wilkins and Jerry Wilkins, Recruiting Manager Todd Chandler, and Market Leader David Williams take a deeper dive into 3 more benefits that can make a huge difference in a company’s recruitment and retention strategies.

Equity Participation

Equity participation is a major draw for top performers, says Justin Wilkins, because “it ties them to the success of the business in a material way.” There are a few common types of equity that companies offer to employees. Equity-based Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIPs), are different from cash-based LTIPs, which we covered in part 1 of our series. Both types of LTIP are tied to long-term performance goals and success metrics, but equity-based LTIPs provide shares instead of cash bonuses when the necessary criteria are met. According to Justin, “With both cash- and equity-based LTIPs, a customary vesting period will be 3-4 years. In some instances, individuals can receive asset-level or project-level equity incentives in addition to or in place of corporate equity. Asset- or project-level equity is an option for organizations that acquire and/or develop projects that they intend to sell. The project equity relates to the profitability margin for the asset and incentivizes the recipients.”

Similarly, an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) provides shares of the company to employees which they can cash out after certain long-term employment and performance milestones are met. While this type of benefit does represent some risk for the employee, since their bonuses are dependent on the company’s success, not just their own performance, it’s still one of the most-requested benefits by senior-level candidates.

Medical Benefits

According to David Williams, apart from ESOP plans, the most-requested benefit from his candidates is “employer-paid healthcare.” It’s no surprise: medical costs have skyrocketed in recent years, so affordable health insurance coverage for employees and their families can be a huge deciding factor in an employment decision. Employers approach medical benefits very differently. Todd Chandler says that “few companies out there offer fully paid healthcare (meaning the employer pays all of the premium costs, with no payroll deduction for the employee), and it’s a huge selling feature” for candidates.

When a company can cover all of an employee’s healthcare costs or absorb some of the continuous increases to insurance premiums and pass the savings to their employees, they can demonstrate how much they value not just their employees, but also their employees’ families. Few things matter more to employees than feeling valued and protected, especially in situations that can be as stressful and overwhelming as medical concerns.

Work-Life Balance

Some jobs require long hours and intense commitment, and employees who are aware of and on board with that kind of schedule from the beginning of their employment may be fine with it. However, human beings aren’t machines. With awareness of mental health and burnout in the workplace on the rise, employees are more focused than ever on ensuring their overall well-being. Companies that offer a great work-life balance can help employees bring their full energy and focus to work by giving them the chance to unplug and focus on their personal lives, families, and rest when they need it.

One option for improving work-life balance is offering unlimited paid time off (PTO), meaning that as long as an employee is getting their job done, their employer won’t track and limit their time off. Jerry Wilkins adds, “I had a client offer a candidate a sabbatical in addition to standard vacation for each 5-year tenure increment he met with the company.” Jerry also notes that companies can design vacation packages based on an employee’s total experience, rather than having senior-level employees start with entry-level vacation policies at a new company.

Keep an eye out for Part 3 in our Beyond Base Salary series, in which we’ll explore how candidates can evaluate a benefit plan to determine if it fits their short- and long-term needs.

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