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Human resources managers are shifting their recruit/retain strategies as inflation and the search for top young talent collide.

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A recent survey of 250 HR executives by benefits provider Lively Inc. tells us that employers are focusing increasingly on attracting the workers of the future as baby boomers and GenXers age out of the workplace. Few employers are standing pat with their benefits offerings, as 84% of respondents say they have increased benefits this year.

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Among top talent spotting and saving tactics cited by these respondents: Offer flexible work arrangements, beef up family friendly benefits, support young women with the benefits package, and ante up on salaries and bonuses to help younger workers offset the impact of rising prices.

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The survey shows that HR personnel are acutely aware of increased financial concerns among plan members. Money speaks loudly in the current environment. The report notes that "80% of HR leaders feel that offering competitive financial benefits, such as 401(k) matching, is more important for attracting and retaining employees than it was a year ago. Some HR decision makers (36%) report that employees ask for increased financial benefits."

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The top two recruiting and retention strategies adopted by this group in the past year were increased base salaries and greater flexibility at work. Both were cited by 72% of respondents as areas where they have enhanced their benefits to attract young talent. Nearly 6 in 10 also say they have improved their health care coverage.

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Areas of critical importance to employees within the health coverage realm include strong parental leave benefits and policies designed to demonstrate support for women, the respondents say.

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Related: The 10 most desired employee benefits in the U.S.

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"Almost all (94%) say parental leave benefits are the most important to attract and retain employees. In the wake of the policies affecting women and LGBTQIA+ folks this year, 66% support coverage of hormone replacement therapy and 60% say funding and leave for abortion is important to their employees. Fifty-eight percent support travel for medical purposes if a procedure is not available in state," the report says. "Despite the support of a majority of HR decision makers for reproductive and family health benefits, only about a quarter are aware that certain expenses, such as egg storage fees and baby formula, are covered by either FSAs or HSAs."

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.