In a tight, candidate-driven jobs market, employers looking to attract the best talent need to understand what their ideal candidates are looking for in a new role.

A strong benefits package can be one of the most effective ways to attract and retain the talent vital for business success. Research found that benefits were one of the three biggest reasons why millennials changed jobs in 2019.1 We can see similar trends more recently too. Total compensation (pay and benefits) was consistently one of the top reasons employees were leaving jobs this year – and also what would attract them to a new employer.2

Workplace pensions are part of that ‘total compensation’ package and can be seen as a powerful benefit. Not only that but having the ability to save through them could have a significant impact on the future financial wellbeing of your employees. So, investing energy in making potential new hires see the value that your scheme and other benefits can bring them is paramount.

Here are some ways to use your employee benefits to both draw in and keep top talent in your business.

Communicating employee benefits to attract talent

Concise, clear messages are fundamental

You could offer the most generous benefits package on the market – but candidates won’t know that if you don’t tell them about it. Making sure you clearly communicate your benefits in your job adverts is an essential first step.

In a recent study, just 57% said that their employer had told them about the benefits on offer. The report concluded that it was ‘important that organisations communicate and educate staff about the perks on offer so that they value and appreciate them’.3

As with other forms of advertising, think about what you want your ideal candidate to get from reading your job specification. Place your benefits front and centre and consider using engaging visuals to make your recruitment ad stand out in a crowded field.

Think about what your ideal candidate wants from a new job

We all want to maximise our earning potential, but salary level isn’t everything. Increasingly, job applicants are taking a broader view of the value they get from their work when considering what attracts them to a particular role.

Making sure you showcase your standout benefits like Cycle to Work schemes, subsidised meals, or enhanced childcare benefits could be of enormous value alongside a strong workplace pension offering.

Give your existing employees the microphone

A potentially effective way to advertise your organisation to candidates is to gather genuine positive testimonials from existing staff about what it’s like to work for you. If your financial benefits meet their needs and make them value their work, it would be helpful to ask existing team members when putting together these staff testimonials.

This kind of social proof can be valuable for employers, particularly in a demand-heavy labour market as competitive as the one we see today.

How to use benefits to retain talent and boost productivity

When it comes to which benefits will retain talent, financial support is a valuable workplace benefit you can offer both your existing and new hires. 70% of employees at companies with a financial wellbeing policy are happy with their benefits package. At companies without one, that number drops to 28%.3

Directing employees to resources that can support their financial wellbeing and engaging them with the features of their workplace pension can help to foster a supportive culture. You might help your team to feel more confident in being able to raise concerns confidentially if they’re struggling with their finances.

Build longer-term financial incentives into the benefits package

Creating an incentive structure into the existing employee benefits package could be a cost-effective means of reducing your staff turnover.

Measures such as increasing your employer pension contributions when an employee meets certain agreed milestones could show them how much you value their experience and expertise. Another means of rewarding staff could also be to link long-term performance to more benefits such as more generous critical illness cover policies or discounted life insurance plans.

This approach could be a valuable investment for you, as lower staff turnover may help to reduce the time and resource you’ll need to dedicate to your hiring processes in the longer term. However, we appreciate that circumstances differ between organisations, so think about what benefits will work best for your business.

Empower your employees to personalise their benefits scheme

Employees increasingly view their work through the prism of ‘total compensation' (sometimes known as ‘total reward’) – where employees consider their salary and benefits as one overall package that takes into account their personal circumstances.

The research behind this concept suggests that the way employees judge the value of their total compensation is a key deciding factor in how attractive a current or potential job is to them.

It also finds that what makes a job opportunity more attractive to an employee will depend on their personal circumstances. This means it may be beneficial from your perspective as an employer, to work with an employee to tailor a benefits package around their individual needs, and to review this regularly. For example, at certain points in their life, an employee may value increased pension benefits over other lifestyle benefits.

Benefits for business success

It may be helpful to think about the strengths of your benefits package in terms of what it can do for your business’s long-term success. If you have a scheme adviser or work with an Employee Benefits Consultant (EBC), they can help you to define this and build upon it if required.

Getting as clear a picture as possible about the impact that a well-pitched set of benefits can have on both staff recruitment and retention is a great first step in making sure you’re on your way to having a satisfied workforce.


  1. 2020 Global talent trends. Data source, LinkedIn. Results from more than 7,000 talent professionals in 35 countries, surveyed between August-September 2019.
  2. The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Data source, McKinsey July 2022.
  3. Reward management survey: focus on employee benefits. Pages 22 and 103. Data source, YouGov survey of 2,557 respondents between December 2021 and January 2022 commissioned by the CIPD, published April 2022.


Employee engagement Insights