When individuals start the ever engaging and entertaining journey that is job hunting, there are a number of factors that can make or break the desire to apply for a position. Employee benefits are a huge driving force behind job satisfaction, their value making the difference between an employee sticking around for the long haul or quickly searching for something else.
In SHRM’s (Society for Human Resource Management) annual Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement research report for 2014, the top four benefits that employees rated as most important to them were: health care and medical benefits (62%), paid time off (58%), overall benefits package (53%), and work/life flexibility (45%).
As important as many of these benefit-related factors are to employees, many managers don’t have much control over benefit packages and health care/medical benefits. What the majority of managers DO have control over are factors that are indirectly impacted by paid time off benefits and helping employees maintain a work/life balance. A work/life balance (which is often directly linked to the benefit of paid time off) is a core value of many organizations, so it is vital that managers practice what the company preaches and do their part in supporting and upholding flexibility in the work/life balance of their employees.
In addition to making every effort to ensure that employees are able to take adequate time off to recharge, it is important for managers to exhibit behaviors that model a good work/life balance and create an environment in which that balance is not only supported, but expected and enabled. When you are on vacation and respond to emails, this sends an indirect message to your employees that they may be expected to respond to emails when they are out of the office. The actions of management is observed by employees and these actions may negatively affect their choices for an adequate work/life balance.
Understanding what is important to your employees is part of being a good manager. Even though you may not have the means to provide a benefit package of their choosing, you do have the ability to support and promote other indirect and direct benefits that are equally important as health care plans and overall benefit packages. Focusing on maintaining a work/life balance and setting an example by embodying that in your own life can make a difference in the prolonged retention of your employees.