Attracting talent Featured

11:15am EDT September 3, 2002
Developing a package of salary and benefits that will attract high-quality employees can be more art than science.

"When it comes to benefits, you only want to offer what is really meaningful to employees," says Andy Marfurt, general manager of CMHC Systems and president of the Human Resource Association of Central Ohio.

For example, many insurance companies offer accidental death and dismemberment insurance, but that benefit alone is not going to sway someone to join your firm.

Instead, advises Marfurt, offer benefits that are attractive to potential employees, such as a flexible spending account. With this benefit, a pre-determined amount is deducted from the employee's paycheck., and the money can be used to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses and dependent care.

"Employees like this because the money is not taxed," Marfurt says. "And the employer actually benefits because it reduces the company's Social Security expenses by about 6 to 7 percent."

Another benefit that helps both the worker and the employer is an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Marfurt says CMHC System's EAP offers over-the-phone assistance to employees and their families.

"If an employee's mother is going through a divorce, the mother can call EAP and it will put her in touch with an attorney," he says. "EAPs prevent the employee from becoming distracted, and there is less absenteeism."

So what about salary? Although there are more workers competing for jobs, companies are still competing for talent, so wages need to be adequate. Companies should research, through free information on the Internet, the public library, the U.S. Department of Labor or surveys available for a fee, what the going rate is for standard jobs like customer service representatives.

"And then do a sanity check every two years," says Marfurt, "so you're not paying more or less than the market bears." How to reach: Human Resource Association for Central Ohio, (614) 760-0400 or www.nraco.com; CMHC Systems, (614) 764-0143 or www.cmhc.com