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Inflation: how to attract talent without an attractive salary?

Published on :
26 Sep 2023
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In July 2022, inflation reached a record 6.1% in just one year (source: Insee). The cost of raw materials and basic necessities has risen significantly. The cost of gas is a case in point: a 42.4% increase! As a result, employees' purchasing power is in complete freefall.

This inflationary context is forcing them to harden their expectations of the company, and to take a closer look at the solutions organizations have to offer to support their purchasing power without skimping on their well-being. While offering an above-market salary may seem like the ideal solution, it is unfortunately not within the reach of all organizations.

So how do you attract talent and support their purchasing power without attractive remuneration? In this article, we list some equally effective courses of action for you to explore.

Remote working: the seductive trump card worth rolling out

73% of employees want a mix of remote and face-to-face work (data from the Hopes and Fears 2021 survey in France). In other words, the ability to telework is an important feature when it comes to attracting talent. Whether you already offer it to certain employees or not, the current economic context is reason enough to generalize telecommuting to all teams whose jobs can be carried out in whole or in part remotely.

After all, telecommuting means no need to travel to work. And with fuel prices soaring, you're helping employees who travel by car to save money. This solution is even more attractive for those who live far from your premises!

The Sustainable Mobility Package: bye-bye travel expenses!

Is your business located in the city center? Is your area well served by public transport and bicycle paths? Good news: your company's location lends itself perfectly to the sustainable mobility package!

While the initial aim is to encourage the use of cleaner or alternative forms of transport for commuting, such as bicycles, scooters, car-sharing or public transport (bus, metro, RER, tramway), it's also a great way of boosting purchasing power and retaining talent! In fact, according to Swile, 35% of resignations are linked to a bad commuting experience.

In concrete terms, how does the sustainable mobility package work?

The employer pays up to €800 per employee per year towards the cost of alternative transport. And the benefits don't stop there. The amount paid by the employer is exempt from income tax, CSG-CRDS and social security contributions.

Interested in this solution? You should know that the subject of sustainable mobility must be addressed in the mandatory annual negotiations. However, if no company-wide agreement is reached, you have the option of implementing the sustainable mobility package by unilateral decision of the employer, after consultation with the Social and Economic Committee.

Good health cover: treating without breaking the bank

In France, health cover is a compulsory social benefit, but there's nothing to stop you offering better cover than that required by law. To choose those that will have the greatest effect on your employees and future recruits, consider the professions in which you are having the most difficulty recruiting (without, of course, leaving out the others).

Let's imagine that you have a shortage of developers. This profession requires you to sit in front of a screen 7 to 8 hours a day, for 5 days at a time. The sedentary nature of this profession increases the risk of overweight, back pain, tendonitis and impaired vision. In this case, your organization could cover osteopathy sessions, dietician/nutritionist consultations and higher mutual insurance cover for eye care.

Lunch coupons, CESU vouchers, cultural coupons: preserving the quality of life

When you go shopping, you've no doubt noticed that the bill is considerably higher. To avoid going out of business, caterers are forced to raise their prices. The result is that food costs more.

So why not offer your employees lunch coupons? What's more, it's not just the employees who benefit. It's also good for you! In fact, the employer's contribution to financing meal coupons is exempt from social security contributions up to a maximum of €5.92.

Another option is to use CESU (chèque emploi service universel) vouchers to finance personal assistance. Whether you're looking for childcare, home maintenance or tutoring, the costs can quickly add up. By offering your employees Universal Employment Service Vouchers, you give them access to different types of personal services that will relieve their wallets while they continue to take care of their home and loved ones!

Last but not least, leisure activities are an inexhaustible source of well-being. By offering cultural coupons, you enable your employees to continue to treat themselves and others. And there's something for every taste: sports, healthcare, fashion, vacations, shows, decoration, books...

As with lunch coupons, CESU and cultural vouchers are also exempt from social security contributions, subject to certain conditions, which can be consulted on the URSSAF website.

Incentive bonus: motivation will earn them euros

Are you looking for a way to boost your employees' purchasing power and motivation at the same time? Then the profit-sharing bonus is the solution for you!

This bonus is paid to employees based on the company's results or performance. As you can see, if you perform well, your employees will benefit too. It's then up to them to decide whether to invest their bonus in an employee savings plan, or to withdraw it directly.

On the company side, the profit-sharing bonus is not subject to social security contributions and is tax-deductible. On the employee side, it is not subject to social security contributions (excluding CGS and CRS) and is not subject to income tax when invested in a savings plan.

Flexible working hours: the counterpart that changes everything

According to the "People at Work" study published at the end of July 2022, the top priority for talent is flexibility. Thus, 57% of French people say they are prepared to accept a pay cut in return for a better work/life balance, and 27% in return for flexibility in their working hours.

Conclusion? Even with purchasing power under threat, salary is not the only factor taken into account by talent. Many are willing to lower their salary requirements in exchange for a better life balance and flexible organization. In fact, according to the same study, 71% of employees in Europe aspire to a 4-day week, compared with 26% before the Covid crisis.

To start with, why not experiment with management based on trust and autonomy, and offer individualized working hours?

In short, there are solutions to support employees' purchasing power and attract talent without offering exorbitant salaries! To identify the ones best suited to your business and your teams, take into account your company's economic situation, its DNA, and survey your teams.

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