Should HR use 'super perks' to attract talent?

'It is no longer ok for an employer to pay lip service to 'work life balance''

Should HR use 'super perks' to attract talent?

New Zealand employers are willing to push boundaries to attract top talent and retain staff in their businesses, according to the results of a recent poll by Frog Recruitment.

The Frog World of Work Survey questioned senior managers of nearly 61,000 employees from New Zealand organisations from sectors including insurance, education, retail, manufacturing and not-for-profit.

When provided a list of ‘super perks’ provided by global companies, the majority (65%) replied that unlimited annual leave would be high on the list of benefits they would consider offering employees.

Unlimited budget for travel expenses (15%) and options for fertility treatments and Paw-turnity leave – time off to care for a pet – appealed to 10% of managers.

Jane Kennelly, managing director Frog Recruitment said after business growth, the biggest priority for employers today is attracting and then retaining staff, with 83 percent of managers surveyed saying this is a challenge.

“Despite their concerns, only a third had put initiatives in place to address the situation. It shows that while a workplace plan might sound good in theory, translating this to an efficient, talent focussed and practical solution is missing for most organisations.

“Amongst the initiatives reported, were better pay, flexible hours, remote working situations and increased sick leave, with one company extending that leave entitlement to include looking after sick pets (paw-turnity) and elderly parents.

“Internationally, ‘Super Perks’ is common place for many top organisations – New Zealand employers need to pay attention if they wish to reduce their talent shortage.”

Kennelly said the lines are blurred more than ever between our personal and work lives.

“The loud message is that it is no longer ok for an employer to pay lip service to ‘work life balance’ – it must be a reality,” said Kennelly.

“As employers, we need to acknowledge that work is one part of a well-adjusted life and the more contented an employee, the more productive he or she will be.”

Others cited more common-place benefits like the provision of health insurance, gym memberships, happy hours, discounts, birthday leave, extended annual leave, free meals or snacks, subsidised childcare and school concert leave.

‘You Days’, leave trading (buying and selling leave) were also initiatives on offer to employees in several of the businesses surveyed,” said Kennelly.

In relation to addressing the staff retention issue, the survey also revealed that New Zealand businesses are showing their ‘heart’ through doing more for people not only inside their business, but outside of their organisations.

Eighty-six percent of employers surveyed identified the importance of social responsibility – with two-thirds of management turning to their workforce to shape how or where resources are donated for social good.

“While ideas will always trickle down from management, it is positive to see employers leaning more to their people for input in social good programmes,” said Kennelly.

Community spirit came in a variety of forms, with almost a third of the companies surveyed supporting children and youth charities, followed closely by sustainability initiatives (23%).

A smaller percentage support health programmes, community events, sporting groups, diversity and welfare. Organisations favoured include Plunket, the Asthma Foundation, KidsCan, Ronald McDonald House, Rainbow Youth and Make A Wish.

“Social initiatives included staff volunteering at Garden to Table, Eat My Lunch and the City Mission. Sustainability and internal environmental policies were also named as significant initiatives that staff responded to positively, creating a sense of wellbeing and community contribution in the office.”

Although the range of initiatives and charities that businesses support is vast, the common thread is that those companies aligned themselves with an endeavour that is linked with their values.

It gives the company a purposeful and tangible way of expressing these values. It also provides an important connection between staff, customers and the business,” said Kennelly.

“If we can get more Kiwi businesses engaged with such work-related and social benefits for their employees, we’ll see a more fulfilled and stable workforce.”

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