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Flexible Benefits

In a homogenised market, price is king: learn how to promote flexible benefits as a way to attract the best candidates without getting into a bidding war 

Have you ever walked into a phone shop and tried to buy a new phone? Confusing isn’t it. So many options available and essentially they all offer you the same features – talking, texting, data, whizzbang gadgets, storage, and so on. After a frustrating few minutes browsing the different handsets, you realise they all do the same thing, albeit with slightly varying designs and gimmicks.  

So how do you make your purchase when all the brands and phone features blend into one? You look at the price and negotiate the best deal. And you can do this because you have all the power – you don’t really care which one you end up buying because they all do the same thing. As a consumer, you are in total control and that lack of differentiation on the part of the phone companies is their greatest weakness.  

Now imagine the job you are recruiting for in your company is actually a mobile phone. It offers the same features as all the other jobs/phones available at the moment. And the candidates/consumers can compare all the other live jobs on a multitude of career websites at the click of a button. So if you’re not guaranteed to be offering the most attractive financial package then how do you get the best candidates to choose you? 

The solution is flexibility 

The features of the job on offer are usually fixed as they fit into a wider corporate strategy or team function and hierarchy, but remember you have a whole smorgasbord of benefits at your disposal that you can flex up and down depending on the individual requirements of your preferred candidate. 

Every candidate who interviews with you is coming from an individual and unique personal situation. If you don’t explore this with them during the interviews then you will never be able to tailor an offer package that cuts through to the heart of what they need.  

For example, do they need flexibility to do a school or nursery run each day? Do they live somewhere where the commute is expensive, so a day or two from home would really help them out? Do they live in the gym, and would subsidised gym membership appeal? Are they a travelling soul and would discounted travel insurance float their boat, or maybe the ability to trade up their annual leave allowance? Are they looking to grow professionally and are there any courses or qualifications you could offer them? Do they want to be involved in voluntary or charity work and are they aware of how your D&I policies work? 

Open communication leads to positive engagement  

Whilst none of the above may be unique to your company, you can bet that most companies don’t emphasise them when offering a position. The default position tends to be salary on offer and job title. But if you really bring to life your suite of benefits, discuss them openly with the candidate to ensure they are aware of everything on offer, and make it clear that they can mix and match depending on what they need, then you will not only be offering a more personal and bespoke perspective than other companies, but you will also ultimately be maintaining a positive buying cycle with the candidate.  

The candidate will then be choosing from an ‘either/or’ standpoint about how to make your offer work for them, rather than a ‘yes/no’ decision on if they will join you in the first place. It’s critical to remember that they are not just agreeing to put their skills to use 9-5 for you, they are agreeing to bring their whole selves to work for you, and that includes all their non-financial, ethical and social drivers as well. Learn what those drivers are during the interview process, and reflect them back to the candidate at the offer stage with bells on.