Non-salary benefits

From the August 2021 print edition

The employment marketplace for supply chain professionals in Canada is heating up again, and increasingly employers must be more aggressive and creative to snare sharp candidates. As a nationwide recruiter for supply chain talent, clients and candidates ask about structuring employment offers, both in terms of salary and non-salaried benefits. Here’s a listing of 15 traditional and not-so-traditional non-salary terms and benefits to consider in today’s highly competitive hiring market.

Better title: Sometimes non-monetary benefits can translate into greater value than a raise. Offer-
ing a more senior title or office can be a perceived benefit to some.

Flexible hours: Flexible hours for family commitments, work-life balance, fitness classes, avoiding traffic and so on. This can take many forms.

Relocation expenses: One-time expenses for temporary lodging, aid/time in searching for a new home, paying for the transfer of belongings are fairly standard. Vacation day allotment (formal and non-formal): Clients may sometimes have a formalized structure saying “two weeks of vacation for new employees, no exceptions.” What if a senior employee already enjoys three, four or even five weeks of vacation and you’re trying to entice them to your company? The answer for some is an informal agreement – usually not in writing, acknowledging that two weeks is the mandated minimum, but because of their senior level, and depending on the role (and approval from their superior), they may add an additional week
to 10 days, perhaps structuring it to accommodate longer weekends, or even one block of time.
Work from home: Quite normal now, but some firms cannot accommodate this, which can cause some staff to consider transitioning to a “safer” employer. Working from home could be full-time, part-time,
or occasional.

Technology: With some staff working from home, you may wish to offset costs associated with a com-
puter, laptop, tablet, modem or other devices. Some tasks involving phone calls may need a dedicated
company long-distance line.

Professional development: Allowances for professional development and educational courses
along with paid membership within a professional body – like Supply Chain Canada or APICS, are appreciated.

Commuting: For employers off the beaten track, consider offsetting costs from a long commute. A company vehicle, adding their car to the company’s insurance policy, sharing the costs of a leased vehicle or offsetting gas or kilometres travelled are options.

Health and wellness: Gym reimbursements, stress counselling, massage therapy and similar expenses not normally included in a standard insurance or company benefits package can fall into this category.
Parental leave: Paid maternity/paternity leave policies can help younger employees.

Retirement savings matching: It’s a way for new employees to build long-term security. Pensions and retirement savings matching programs, based on an employee’s contributions, usually run between 50 and 100 per cent.

Stock options: Publicly traded organizations may consider stocks or a stock matching plan (giving candidates bonus stocks based on how much they invest into the company).

Signing bonus: Competition to acquire supply talent can be quite high and it’s not uncommon for some industries to offer a signing bonus. This can be done as a normal strategy or used in situations where there are strict (and perhaps published) salary bands, and employers are not able or willing to break them. A signing bonus is offered as a one-time incentive, to get the candidate into the total compensation level that they wanted initially, and then usually, by the time they pass probation
or have a mid-year review, they would have been at that same targeted salary level if they got a standard increase at that time. In some firms, signing bonuses aren’t drawn from the regular salary accounts in the payroll department, so it may not raise concerns about exceeding predetermined budgets.

Severance package guidelines: For some time, employers have been installing severance package terms written into employment contracts. These additional packages act like safety nets and would activate should the company be acquired by another firm, or the employee be laid off due to no fault of their own (such as an economic downturn or pandemic closures) and help ensure that they are financially compensated should things go awry.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, and new outside-the-box innovations in non-salary benefits are appearing all the time. If you’ve got some that you’d like to add, please share them with me at: [email protected]