Allowing employees to work flexible hours is important if you want to retain top talent. That’s according to a new study from BMO Harris Bank, which discovered that 53% of business owners believe schedule flexibility is the most valuable offering they can provide to keep high performers – other than a pay increase.
While BMO Harris officials expected that flexible hours would be considered a valuable retention tool, they were surprised by how far it outpaced other potential offerings. “What really blew us away was that it was so far ahead. It was 20% above the rest,” said Dave Casper, BMO Harris Bank’s executive vice president and head of commercial banking.
Casper isn’t exaggerating: The second most valuable talent retainer was investing in employee growth, but only 33% of owners selected it. Increased health and dental benefits came next (27%). Although some businesses likely will not be able to offer flexible hours, Casper expects the trend toward letting employees work a non-traditional schedule to grow. “We see much more than a third of the clients we support being fine with flexible hours,” Casper said. “There may be a cap, but I think we’re at the early stages of this, especially in terms of new business formation.”
Beyond examining owners’ attitudes toward talent retention, the survey looked at how these executives view the millennial generation that’s starting to fill the workforce. Encouragingly, 57% of business owners say today’s college grads are either more prepared or equally prepared to enter the workforce today.
The study found that companies hiring junior employees look for a variety of attributes when considering their ideal candidate, including skill set (43%), work experience or internship (32%), degree earned/school attended (18%) and references and recommendations (18%).