7 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Talent… Beyond Pay and Benefits

Rob Tyson

Beyond Pay and Benefits: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent | Rob Tyson | Corporate Synergies
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Why employers should think outside the pay and benefits box when seeking to recruit A-listers and retain top talent.

In a stabilized economy underpinned by steady job growth, jobseekers have far more employment opportunities than just a few years ago. That’s why attracting and retaining top talent goes well beyond pay and benefits.

Employees are more apt to evaluate a potential employer with the same intense scrutiny as the company doing the hiring. After they come aboard, the best employees are engaged, productive and go above and beyond in their typical job to grow a business or develop innovative solutions. The business benefit of these highly motivated employees is clear—they can increase customer ratings by 10% and profits by 21%.1 But recruiting and retaining top talent is getting more difficult with the unemployment rate at a low 4.3%.2

A competitive salary is, of course, a big driver in recruiting top talent and getting them in the door, but a much more complex mix of factors keep employees at a company for the long haul. These factors are a variety of tangible and intangible events and activities measured not just by dollars, but also happiness, flexibility, education and development opportunities, and employee recognition.

A complex mix of factors will attract and retain top talent over the long haul.

Here are 7 benefits and activities that aid recruitment and retention of star employees:

Onboarding and training: First impressions matter. This goes for not only the interview process, but an employee’s first few days on the job. A comprehensive onboarding program includes information on company policies, background of the company, pay and benefits, but also training about the industry and the actual work employees will be doing. For example, at Corporate Synergies, we have an extensive onboarding process and training program that includes modules like compliance, insurance 101 and employee relations, as well as several modules that are geared toward selling.

We recently developed a leadership program that supports our commitment to helping employees grow in their careers. We’re putting into place a system that helps our management identify employees who show the potential to lead by extending themselves beyond their typical role. It’s a way to make sure our talent is continually challenged.

Culture and work-life balance: Focusing on company culture and making work-life balance a priority drive employee engagement and retention. Building a positive culture around openness where we are amenable to new ideas and try to learn from each other can drive good conversation and help to move an organization forward. Similarly, ensuring that employees have a good work-life balance also helps to keep everyone happy. We understand that being cognizant of our employees’ needs will only help to drive loyalty and progress as a company.
Employee recognition programs: Recognizing employees when they go above and beyond is essential, and employees agree; 74% say that employee recognition is important to keeping them happy.3 We use a three-tiered program that ranges from a “Way to Go” card thanking an employee for their good deed to an Advocate Award with a monetary reward, or an Advocate of the Quarter award that includes a gift card for a weekend away. Recipients are recognized during quarterly town hall meetings.
Events: Events are another way for employees to bond outside of their normal work environment. A kickoff event each year is one way we bring all of our employees together to get them excited for the coming year. This year’s kickoff included bowling and go-karts and brought all of our employees together from across our various offices.
Worksite health & wellness: Wellness programs are an important way to keep healthcare costs down. They’re also a way to show employees you care about their wellbeing. Health & wellness programs promote getting healthy and foster camaraderie, and mounting research shows that these benefits are expected by employees.4 Our program is based on a point system with three tiers. Employees earn points by competing in fitness challenges and getting recommended preventive checkups like a skin cancer screening, a physical, eye exam or teeth cleaning. If employees use our health insurance, they can get a discount on their premium. If not, they’re still encouraged to participate in health & wellness activities and can earn gift cards for moving into higher tiers.
Employee engagement survey: You’ll never know how employees feel if you don’t ask them, which is why engagement surveys are so important. At Corporate Synergies, we’ve found that a survey conducted every 18 months elicits the best responses on questions around our rewards program, benefits and culture.
Mentoring: Nearly 90% of millennials say that job growth potential is important to them.5 So we’ve created a program that partners new employee benefits and property & casualty consultants with our senior insurance advisors. For the first two to three years on the job, junior consultants participate in “ride-alongs” with their mentors. There’s nothing more valuable than observing first-hand how our senior staff educates prospective clients on our service model. It’s good for our business and it gives our new consultants the support they need while learning the subtleties of a very complicated industry.

A significant amount of our own research has helped us shape these activities over the years. We feel they support a wide range of employees including our workforce that spans four generations. For example, competitive pay is important to everyone, but may be paramount to Baby Boomers, while Millennials are interested in training and the Gen-X generation is looking for flextime to help them with their families and other commitments. We understand this, and we also understand the need to pivot so we can keep our greatest asset —our people— happy.

1 Gallup, “The Right Culture: Not About Employee Happiness”

2 Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey”
3 SHRM, “Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement”
4 MetLife, “Work Redefined: A New Age of Benefits”
5 Gallup, “Millennials Want Jobs to Be Development Opportunities”


© 2017 Corporate Synergies Group, LLC. No part of this material may be republished or distributed without prior written consent.

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    By: Rob Tyson

    Rob Tyson is responsible for developing and implementing talent recruitment best practices for Corporate Synergies, a national insurance and employee benefits broker and consultancy. He serves as a strategic partner to senior leadership to meet the staffing needs of the organization. He identifies candidates for client-facing positions, including the firm’s proprietary BlueCHiP producer mentoring program, as well as account management teams. He has recruited executive staff and internal support personnel for all levels and departments. Today Corporate Synergies is recognized in the benefits and insurance industries for its respected subject matter experts and thought leadership.

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