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How can employers develop a post-pandemic recruitment strategy?

For many employers, the same recruitment strategies from years past may not cut it anymore. As the demand for labor increases, employees demand more from their employers. 

One of the best ways to develop an effective recruitment strategy is to start from within. Promoting internally to fill current needs and providing candidate referral bonuses to employees are two easy ways to reward the most loyal and best employees. Employers should also carefully consider where job ads are placed so as to maximize the likelihood of their preferred candidates seeing the ad.

Asking current and potential employees what kind of environment they want can also help guide an employer’s strategy. It also doesn’t hurt to look at what competitors are offering. Salary, benefits, flexibility and workload are all important, but there may be other values and desires that are not so apparent. Taking action on those insights can help with employee retention too, which may just mean you need to do less recruiting.

What are the new benefits employees want?

Work from home

Flexible scheduling will be more important in the post-COVID era. Many employees made the transition to work from home and it provided the flexibility that many want from their work environment. For some, transitioning back to office work just isn’t an option. Many employers have already created a Work from Home Policy and made the shift to allow remote work permanently as a result of the demand. Employers that can offer this benefit have an advantage in the labor market.

Child care assistance

Employees with children value child care assistance highly, even when they work from home. Fortunately, employers do not need a daycare on-site to provide child care assistance. Options may include contracting with a local daycare provider or providing stipends or partial reimbursement for child care. 

Group legal benefits

Many employers find that the group legal benefits provided by Rocket Lawyer set them apart from their competitors’ benefits offerings. These benefits are affordable for employers and provide employees with mobile and desktop access to customizable legal documents, digital signatures, and attorneys that can answer personal legal questions. Particularly these days, with stress levels higher than ever before, giving your employees access to legal help can ensure they are less stressed when legal issues arise.

Flexible payment options

The traditional paycheck that comes twice a month or every two weeks simply does not work for everyone. Instead, you may want to provide flexible paydays, especially for those still trying to get back on their feet after pandemic-induced job loss.

Financial wellness programs

COVID-19 hit many people’s finances very hard. Financial wellness programs can help employees discover and use available resources or benefits, including health, retirement and college savings plans. These programs can also provide debt counselling, and help connect employees to other assistance programs.

What are the standard benefits that need to be improved?

Traditional benefits include health insurance, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Employees still want these benefits and many candidates will not apply to a job that does not offer them. Vacation and sick time remain important as well. 

Paid time off

Next to pay and health benefits, paid time off is among the most important benefits to workers. Workers are recalibrating their values to spend more time on self-care, with family, and especially caring for children or aging loved ones. During 2020, employees began to value paid time off more than ever before. Updating your Vacation Policy to provide more time off can entice applicants and improve morale for your current team.

Flex time

Even if you offered the ability to work from home before the pandemic, you might want to create a formal policy regarding flex time to allow workers to work from home. This is a win-win for both employers and employees, who can work from home when they need to instead of taking time off.

Health benefits

In addition to the usual health benefits, telehealth has been in huge demand during COVID-19. Your health benefits should offer access to telehealth programs. Mental health care has been especially important in the past year, so increased access to mental health services should be available as well.

Bonus plans and equity incentives

Plain and simple, Bonus Plans give employees more incentive to work hard and tell prospective employees that merit will be rewarded. Equity Incentive Plans incentivize employees by giving them a direct stake, so they are invested in the company’s long-term performance. Adding bonuses or equity to your benefits entices the best workers who know they can deliver results to succeed and be rewarded.

Employers may want to consider adding as many of the above benefits as possible directly in job ads to increase the number of applicants.

How should employers address employees who do not want to return to the office?

Ultimately, if you require your workforce to come back to the office, employees can be disciplined, or terminated, for not returning. Take care, however, before terminating an employee who has a legitimate health issue that makes exposure to COVID-19 more dangerous for them. Employers may want to ask a lawyer before disciplining or firing an employee with a Vaccine Exemption Form on file.

If staff has been working from home and that model has been effective, consider continuing flexible work environments or offering fully remote opportunities. Many employers see lower overhead costs and increased productivity when they allow workers to decrease time spent in the office. Be sure to consider these factors before going back to “business as usual.”

To mask or not to mask?

Current and prospective employees want their employers to do the right thing when it comes to safety. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still recommends that employees wear masks even if they have been vaccinated. Employers may want to institute a policy to follow the CDC recommendations and encourage mask-wearing, especially if social distancing is not possible. Ultimately, however, employers do not need to mandate masks in most areas unless there is a legitimate health and safety issue or it is legally required to do so. 

How to get employees to re-engage?

When developing new recruitment strategies and offering new employees new benefits, do not leave out current employees. Keeping current employees may become difficult as the demand for workers continues to increase, and not providing those better benefits to your current employees can lead to your most valuable or experienced employees losing morale or leaving. Also, current employees can often be re-engaged through an Employee Retention Agreement that sets out certain events or milestones to trigger bonuses.

Recruiting, retention and hiring can be complicated. If you have legal questions about your business’s policies or strategies, ask a lawyer.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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