This blog was originally published on the Willis Towers Watson Wire, February 15, 2018.
In today’s talent management environment, the most successful employers are the ones who listen. In Willis Towers Watson’s 2017/2018 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, we see that benefits are more important to employees than ever before. While retirement and medical benefits tend to top employees’ list of priorities, paid time off ranks relatively high around the world. Additionally, the topics of workforce flexibility and work-life balance continue to receive significant attention from employers who want to attract, retain and engage talent. More and more, top employers give prominence to employee success, satisfaction and security outside of the workplace, as well as within, as part of their employee value proposition, in effort to help them stand apart from competitors vying for the same talent pool.
It’s no secret that in order to successfully attract and retain talent, employers must establish competitive and sustainable pay policies. But often, much attention goes towards determining “how much” and “who” without taking other facets of reward into consideration. In many markets around the world, getting pay right may also involve other aspects, such as “what” in terms of specific elements and sometimes even “when” they must be paid. Pay aspects such as these may be statutory obligations for employers, mandated by collective agreements or simply customary practice in specific markets. What’s more, local tax treatment may incentivize specific elements of pay but that’s helpful only if employers are aware of the programs and their benefits. For ‘new’ employers in a market, ignorance is not blissful. Rather, it’s often expensive, both in terms of controllable employment costs as well as employers’ long-term ability to retain staff.
The leave landscape continues to shift for employers and employees alike. While the landmark 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provided job security for up to 12 weeks for leave, it has always been unpaid. Recent trends, however, have seen many states upping the ante with paid leave arrangements supporting a broader range of need.