Effective retention strategies beyond a salary increase

By Robert Half on 17 March 2021

Retaining top talent is important for all organisations, whether they’re small IT start-ups or internationally-renowned large-scale finance companies.

For hiring managers in Australia, the job of finding and keeping the best people is increasingly challenging, with Robert Half research revealing that over four-in-five (82%) business leaders are concerned about losing their top talent due to the impact of COVID-19, impacted by skill shortages, reduced flow of foreign talent, and significant business transformation to meet changing client and consumer expectations.

Now, more than ever, hiring managers need to consider how to reward and remunerate staff with more than just traditional salary options. Non-monetary incentives are particularly important for organisations who aren’t in a financial position to offer a higher take-home pay, but who need to reduce staff turnover and boost retention.

In this blog, find out why flexibility and work-life balance will be a key talent retention strategy for hiring managers in 2021 and beyond.

Why rewarding staff is important

Ensuring that staff feel their remuneration is commensurate is a critical part of retaining your best people, as well as attracting top new talent. Robert Half research has revealed that when staff feel properly rewarded, they are happier and consistently more productive.

“Happy employees are an essential component of any thriving business as workplace morale can have a tangible impact on productivity and profitability,” says David Jones, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half Asia Pacific. “Employees who are happy in their jobs are generally more productive, engaged, creative and less likely to leave the organisation, which directly impacts the bottom line, thereby enabling companies to remain competitive.”

As the hiring market heaps up, rewarding staff also helps to improve the reputation of your organisation, ensuring it’s seen as a promising place to work, and one that is serious about securing the most capable and driven employees.

Traditional salary options aren’t everything

While rewarding staff adequately is essential to retaining top talent, this doesn’t mean that increased salaries are the only answer. Robert Half research reveals that 64% of companies have added new benefits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to distinguish themselves from competitors and reward staff for their hard work through challenging conditions. By comparison, only 31% of Australian businesses plan to increase salaries for all of their employees - pointing to the ongoing bottom-line impact of challenging business conditions. 

As such, hiring managers seeking to attract and retain top talent should not rule out non-monetary benefits as an option. These should be offered in addition to competitive salaries and strong development opportunities.

The best non-monetary benefits of 2021

Hiring managers offering non-monetary remuneration options to new and existing staff can consider one, or a combination of the following incentives:

  • Flexible working arrangements
    Removing the rigidity from work hours provides staff with a greater sense of trust and independence over how they manage and complete their work tasks.
  • Medical benefits
    Employers might offer to pay a portion of their employee’s private health insurance or cover medical travel insurance for both work and personal travel.
  • Work from home options
    This could be several designated or flexible work from home days each month, or permission to work on large scale projects from home as they arise.
  • Wellness Initiatives
    Employers can offer physical wellbeing initiatives like gym memberships, health awareness sessions or corporate physical training sessions alongside counselling and mental health resources or financial counselling sessions.

“In order to attract the workforce of the future, companies need to diversify their remuneration offerings to focus on more than just salary, which can include tailored talent management programs and flexibility,” says David Jones, Managing Director at Robert Half Australia.

As hiring managers, it’s important to ensure that non-salary options available to staff are relevant and meaningful. Ask yourself these four questions when determining the best options for your organisation:

  1. What are the needs of your current and future employees?
  2. How has the cross-industry shift towards improved work-life balance affected employees at your organisation?
  3. What can you offer staff to keep them at your organisation, and attract the most qualified candidates from other roles?
  4. What options are viable and sustainable?

Hiring managers should undertake thorough research and be informed about the most competitive non-monetary staff incentives, including how they can be used effectively as a staff retention tool.

When seeking to retain and hire top talent in 2021, hiring managers should feel confident that traditional salary options are not the only solution. While there are many ways to engage and reward staff, research and an ongoing review of strategies will be essential to ensuring the impact of successful non-monetary incentives and packages.

Need more advice about remuneration? Download a free copy of the Robert Half Salary Guide.

*Statistics based on an independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 Australian business leaders

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