The job market has changed. Has your benefits strategy?

Employers everywhere are finding that employees are no longer satisfied with just a competitive salary and quality health insurance. With a robust labor market even amid an uncertain macroeconomic environment, workers are more selective about opportunities. In addition to the right compensation package, in-demand workers are looking for an organization that aligns with their values, including through the benefits and workplace policies they offer.

Especially for small and mid-sized firms, it's a constant challenge to offer the benefits, flexibility, and opportunity for advancement that are required to recruit and retain the best team. So where do you start? It helps to think about segmenting your pool of current and potential team members, just as your sales team might think about customer segmentation. In a recent study, McKinsey offered a helpful framework for this:


  • Career oriented
  • willing to make a lifestyle tradeoff for their jobs
  • Motivated by compensation, benefits, and advancement


  • Value autonomy and flexibility
  • Tend toward part-time or freelance work
  • Motivated by purpose

Caregivers and others:

  • Strong need for flexibility to care for children, parents, or self
  • Still motivated by compensation, benefits, and advancement


  • Many students and younger workers, often less encumbered by financial burdens
  • Can be drawn by purpose, attractive culture, and support for academic & long-term career development.


  • Career no longer comes first
  • Available for work that is the right balance of flexible, meaningful, and financially rewarding

Thinking beyond the "Traditionalists"

Employers are often looking to fill "traditional" jobs, but an increasing number of workers are looking for non-traditional job attributes. For some, this might mean remote or hybrid work, more support for families, or flexible hours. For others, it might mean a fun and vibrant workplace culture with a focus on giving back to the community. Companies that can create pathways to success for workers outside of the "Traditionalist" pool can develop an advantage in recruitment and retention. This can include offering benefits that are specifically targeted at a particular segment of employees - for instance, programs for nursing mothers or resources for employees with aging parents. In today's market, there are more options than ever for tailoring benefits to specific employee needs. 

Especially with pressure on budgets, it's challenging to think about adding new benefits this year. But certain targeted benefits cost less than you might expect, and the right benefits can generate an ROI by improving retention. That said, even if enhanced benefits aren't in the budget for the coming year, it's helpful to begin building out a roadmap now for how you can realign your offering to the specific talent pools you're looking to attract. 

Talk more about the benefits you already provide

It's important to remember that discussing benefits isn't just for new employees, or a mad rush at the end of the year as employees try to understand what needs to fit in before January. RBN recommends a year-round approach that allows employees the time to understand and utilize their benefits to their full potential. Ultimately, the business case for offering a generous benefits program is that it can strengthen the connection between your organization and your employees. -This only works, though, if employees are aware of the resources available to them. Even better if you can share why your organization has chosen the specific benefits you offer and how you took employee needs into account when you designed the program. 

Learning more about the range of available benefit offerings will help you tailor a strategy that best aligns with your prospective talent pool. Whether you are looking to build out a new package or get more mileage out of what you already offer, the experts at RBN are here to help!

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