Talent search complicated by competing corporate interestsNews added by Benefits Pro on June 4, 2014

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By Dan Cook

As HR managers globally battle to attract and retain top talent, they know they’ll have to offer more to land the top candidates. But to some extent, their hands are, if not tied, at least restrained by corporate concerns around spending. This predicament is leading to creative responses among some players, while others are still searching for ways to achieve both goals.

Their task is further complicated by the need to appeal to four distinct generations of workers, each one demonstrating quite different characteristics when it comes to choosing a place to work and deciding to remain there.

That’s one scenario that emerges from the results of a Deloitte/International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists/International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey of HR professionals from 22 countries. The 2014 “Global Top Five Total Rewards Priorities Survey” received input from 222 managers.

The survey “shows that HR leaders globally are acutely focused on talent as the top challenge and priority over the next three years. With the added challenge of managing the dynamics of four distinct generations in the global workforce, the survey results point to the need for more effective and adaptable talent strategies and rewards programs,” Deloitte said in a news release. While responses varied by region, there were some mutual goals and concerns expressed in the results.

The top five priorities for 2014 were:
    1. Aligning total rewards with business strategy by attracting, motivating and retaining employees.

    2. Reducing the costs of providing health care and other non-cash benefits to employees.

    3. Motivating staff when pay increases are flat or non-existent.

    4. Demonstrating appropriate return on investment for reward expenditures.

    5. Creating a rewards program that reflects the culture and goals of the organization.
The wellness issue emerged as a strong candidate for retention/attraction purposes. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said their companies now include wellness options as part of their talent search strategy. The United States leads the way, with 50 percent of U.S. respondents saying their company had a wellness component. Asia Pacific was next at 33 percent.

Four in 10 of respondents said they intend to mix up the makeup of their rewards strategies, suggesting that the need to both lure top talent with extras while keeping an eye on the budget was causing disruption in the rewards department.

“Employers recognize the critical nature of total rewards as a primary way to recruit and engage employees. Equally important is for employees to understand the value of their total rewards,” said Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation and ISCEBS. “Employer-provided education and communication is imperative for employees to better understand and make use of their rewards. Additionally, employers are educating beyond basic benefits literacy to include topics such as personal finance, health and wellness.”

Companies recognize that generational differences render ineffective a one-size-fits-all reward strategy, as indicated by the fact that 60 percent of respondents said “their organization’s leadership team understands the total rewards perspectives and values of the different generations in their workforce.”

But these same employers aren't willing to walk the talk. Just 37 percent said their employer “would consider a menu-driven reward mix that allows employees from different generations to build a total rewards package to fit their particular needs.”

“Organizations have come to face the reality that their workforces are intergenerational and what may work for one generation in the Total Rewards program doesn’t necessarily work for the others,” said Yon-Loon Chen, senior manager, Deloitte Consulting, and co-author of the report. “It will be imperative for organizations to have a flexible Total Rewards program that will support all its employees as they progress through their careers.”

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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