Karina Margit Erdelyi

Top Perks Employers Can Offer to Win New Talent + Entice Workers to Stay—It’s Not What You Think

2021 radically reshaped the benefits landscape. With employee migration high and an extremely competitive labor market, innovation in the employee benefits space is now a must. Here’s what could move the needle for you in 2022.


2021 was a year for the books in myriad ways. The ongoing pandemic, coupled with Americans’ fast-changing attitudes about their life at work, has radically reshaped the labor landscape. Workers have shown that they are not afraid to head for the exit, which is causing employers and benefits professionals to rethink work and management styles, adjust their strategies and innovate quickly.

Sluggish demographic growth, coupled with a growing legion of burned-out workers who are opting out, means that the pool of working-age labor is diminishing, compounding the challenges of one of the hottest labor markets in recent history.

Pre-COVID hiring packages are no longer alluring—experts agree that it’s time to experiment. Compensation, job structure, and benefits are being looked at critically by potential candidates and existing employees deciding whether to stay at their current job or move on. With 90% of businesses struggling to fill open roles, companies are increasingly aware that a forward-thinking benefits program may be a compelling advantage for talent acquisition and retention. A 2021 survey from HealthEquity found that employers who expanded benefits during the pandemic found that their employees reported dramatically higher satisfaction with the company.

Success in hiring and not succumbing to current resignation trends is increasingly predicated on judiciously offering what people need and want. And when the salary between two competing offers is nearly the same—offering smart and innovative benefits provides a leading edge.

Some of these benefits are no longer so unusual; approximately 80% of workers share that a flexible schedule is critical when considering taking a new job, according to recent research. Other leading benefit priorities included mental health coverage, health and wellness stipends, and retirement contributions. But to engage new talent and retain valued workers, there are new paradigms to consider—here are some places to start.


Often, the only thing standing between an employee leaving or staying is a stellar manager. If you want to attract top talent and retain valued employees, there will need to be a shift towards identifying managers who prioritize company culture and shine at making folks feel part of a team. As we segue into a post-pandemic reality, where many employees only spend part of the week in the office, effective managers will become ever more essential. Intelligent companies will vie to train and coach those that show promise in this area because employee morale and retention have never been more inextricably tied. “Soft skills” are finding firm footing as it becomes increasingly strategic to have managers in place that know how to make people feel at home when at work.

Embrace Gray-collar Workers

Talents and labor are not the sole provinces of the young, even though the preponderance of training dollars typically goes to the 25-to-35 age bracket. But people are living longer, and talent pipelines are at a slow drip—highly-skilled, older workers are sitting on the bench because they have aged out of their former companies or stepped away from conventional employment. It’s time to do an about-face and start crafting a gray-collar strategy that includes up-skilling, re-skilling, and continued education for all ages if you want to best position yourself for success.

PTO but Different

Typically, you take your vacation when you want to take your vacation. But your boss may still email you; perhaps you still feel the need to check in with the team, which means you can’t truly recharge. But an innovative concept that is gaining ground is giving everyone time off simultaneously—during the workweek. It allows for people to unplug in unison.


Workcations—it’s exactly what it sounds like—a vacation where you work remotely. If the pandemic taught us anything, people can work from anywhere. As a result, some innovative companies are building this into their culture, offering employees the chance to work remotely for a period of time at destinations abroad (WiFi willing) every year. Amazon has said that its employees will be allowed to work remotely for up to a month a year.

Camaraderie in the Age of WFH—More than Just a Holiday Party

In a hybrid or remote work environment, companies would be wise to use the days when people are in the office to build community and curate creative encounters. Even before the pandemic, company-sponsored events were good predictors of workplace satisfaction—and that holds today. So, bring on the cocktails and free lunches; companies that organize events with fostering community in mind have lower attrition during the first six months, which has held true through the dog days of the Great Resignation. If your workers are only in the office a couple of days a week, think about cultivating a sense of camaraderie that is meaningful and time-efficient—it’ll go a long way to making employees feel like they belong.

Bottom Line:

To stay competitive, management and HR specialists say that companies need to reinvent how they compensate workers, start offering new benefits, and rethink whom they invest in—it’s the dawning of a new day indeed.