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Panel Focuses on Employee Benefits as a Talent Retention Strategy

Top left, left to right: Jason Boltax and Tanika Natal
Bottom, left to right: James Schutzer and Wendy Wollner

The BCW continued its five-part Talent Tuesday educational series with a session on May 2 entitled Building a Healthier Relationship: Attracting and Cultivating Talent with the Benefits That Matter Most.

The webinar focused on the human resources policy practices and innovative benefits programs that companies are deploying to attract and retain talent. The panelists included Jason Boltax, Vice President, HR, ENT and Allergy Associates; Tanika Natal, Director of HR and Administration, Cuddy & Feder LLP; James Schutzer, Senior Partner, JDM Benefits (an Alera Group company); and Wendy Wollner, Founder, President & CEO, Balancing Life’s Issues.

Laurence Gottlieb, managing director of the Robert Martin Company, moderated the panel and began the discussion by citing research by Forbes’ Insider.

“Forty percent of employers believe workers leave their jobs to find employment that offers better benefits,” said Gottlieb. “From the must-have benefits of health insurance to the emerging demands for expanded mental health care, greater work schedule flexibility and pet insurance, competing for talent in today’s marketplace requires employers to rethink their benefit packages.”

Some employers are absorbing rising health insurance costs rather than passing the cost to employees.

“Employers are looking to us to get creative and find solutions or strategies that are going to help them mitigate those cost increases and help keep benefits intact,” said Schutzer, who noted that emerging benefits include lifestyle-spending accounts that pay for gym memberships and personal trainers. “Employers are dealing with a multigenerational workforce….there is no one-size-fits-all approach. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, employers need to get creative by offering new benefits options to really meet the needs of those generations.”

In many cases, compensation is not at the top of a prospective employee’s list.

“It’s not really number one. There are other things that go in the number one slot…things like trust, equity and camaraderie, where people want to feel like they are being treated fairly,” said Boltax, adding that compensation is still among employees’ top five concerns. “Career development opportunities are extremely important.”

Benefits can be used to distinguish a company from its competitors, which motivates employers to consider benefits that reflect current trends in society, including elder care, infertility treatments, and pet insurance.

“Being able to offer a comprehensive benefits package is paramount, not only in attracting talent, but in retaining our talent,” said Natal, whose work includes closely listening to employees. “Being able to identify the needs of people is very important and when an organization supports its people, the people support the organization.”

Identifying a sustainable employee work-life balance is a continuing challenge for many employers.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that a vacation is going to solve the work-life balance, or going to a massage is going to solve work-life balance….we’re trying to create worlds where people want to go to work,” said Wollner.

The third session of Talent Tuesday is posted on the BCW’s Facebook page, and you can also find podcast interviews with panelists on the Balancing Life’s Issues-produced Beyond the Panel series. The next Talent Tuesday is on May 30.


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