Damian Williams, managing director of ROC Group: Flexible benefits can help talent management

Damian Williams, managing director, ROC†Group: Talent management is the current buzzword in HR. Talent management is the identification, recruitment, development and deployment of a company’s most capable employees. It is a strategy used by employers to improve the retention ratio of their best staff, increase employee loyalty and boost productivity. Talent management is focused on growing the individual, concentrating on their training and development within the company, and ensuring there are always successors in place that are suitable for key positions.

Benefits have an important role to play in talent management. They are an intrinsic part of the value proposition that organisations offer new and existing employees. Flexible benefits can be worth their weight in gold in the employee retention stakes. Research published by The Economist this year, Talent Wars – The struggle for tomorrow’s workforce, showed salaries and employee benefits still rank extremely highly in designing a new value proposition for tomorrow’s workforce (56 percent), second only to providing a better work-life balance through offering flexible working arrangements in terms of hours and place of work (62 percent).

Structuring a flexible benefits programme so staff can select the incentives that suit their lifestyle is a key weapon in the arsenal of talent management and the retention of star employees. When an organisation is attracting new talent and a candidate is deciding between several offers, it can boil down to what each organisation can offer them. Flexible employee benefits allow the employer to appeal to a diverse range of applicants, and attract good-quality candidates.

The ability to mix and match benefits, from pensions and childcare, to holiday allowances and gym memberships, plays a key role in attracting talent. What appears to be a benefit for one employee may be less important to another. For example, pensions are often less attractive to the younger workforce but become important later in life.

Although talent management is a corporate-level strategy and benefits are ultimately employee incentives, the two are inherently linked. The return on investing time and money in attracting, training, nurturing and retaining key staff is diminished if a flexible approach to perks is not offered too.

Damian Williams, managing director of ROC Group