As 2019 begins to wind down, employers begin looking to 2020 and beyond to plan out future initiatives – whether it be increasing sales goals, finding ways to improve customer service, or growing your workforce. The most common question we get in this regard is: how do I stay competitive in this labor market?

The answer to that question, technically, has two parts: compensation and employee benefits.

Making sure that your pay structure is in line with what other employers are offering is the easiest benchmark to check. If you are paying minimum wage while other employers are paying a starting wage in the double digits, you are going to see right away why you are having issues with employee turnover and recruiting new employees. But it’s not usually that straightforward or clear.

How do you determine how your pay rates compare to other employers in the same geographic area or same industry?

On an annual basis, Nevada Association of Employers conducts a survey of employers throughout the state to get up-to-date market data on how employers compensate their employees. The survey is made up of over 600 job titles across 15 industry categories. It is the only survey of its kind that provides Nevada specific data. The latest results were released in July.

If your compensation is on par with what other employers are offering, the distinguishing factor may be what benefits you are (or are not) offering compared to other employers. When talking about benefits – it’s not just the traditional benefits (paid time off, health insurance, 401(k), etc.) – it includes those voluntary perks that come with working for a certain company (i.e. free lunches, employee recognition events, health & welfare discounts, etc.). In a recent survey, the most desired employee benefits were financial wellness programs, flexible work schedules, and pet perks (like paw-ternity and pet bereavement leave).

How do you determine how your benefits package stacks up?

Measure your benefits package against competitors and assess what the marketplace is offering. Nevada Association of Employers conducts a biennial survey on employee benefits and company personnel practices, including paid time off, flexible benefits, drug & alcohol testing, turnover, benefits for part-time employees, etc. We believe it provides the most comprehensive, reliable, and current information available on what employers in Nevada are offering. We are still collecting data for the 2019-2020 survey; participate today!

Identify benefits that have the lowest employee participation and redesign or eliminate. You may have employee benefits that are not being used or used by so few employees that the overall value is not there. Redesigning or eliminating benefits that are not being utilized may allow you to offer other benefits that would be that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to offer.

Tailor your employee benefits to the interests and needs of your workforce. By 2020, Millennials will make up nearly half the workforce. The benefits you offered when your workforce was largely made up of Baby Boomers and/or Gen Xers may no longer serve your workforce and may no longer attract new talent. Healthcare, greater flexibility, and student loan repayment assistance rank high among Millennials.  Salary level and retirement plans/pensions are highly valued by their predecessors.

With unemployment at historic 50-year lows, it is important to continually assess and adapt in order to remain competitive. Let NAE help you stay competitive – participate in our annual pay survey and our biennial benefits & personnel practices survey. Bonus: NAE members who participate in our surveys get a copy of the results for FREE (up to a $400 value).