Do you want to attract the best talent? Consider their housing needs

Employers such as healthcare systems, hospitals, emergency response employers and public sector entities are in a hurry to meet the housing needs of their current and potential employees. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The war for talent is fiercer than it has ever been. The Great Resignation saw a record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, 242,000 more than in July. It is 3% of the country’s labor force. Many don’t just quit, but look for employers who offer more of what they are looking for at this point in their lives – work / life balance, more flexibility and better wages and benefits. .

Perks like health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, 401 (k) plans, and even office allowances are no longer enough to attract the best candidates and retain quality employees. These are just table stakes. Cutting-edge benefits that exceed employee expectations are what will give a business an edge. This is where housing assistance – a more recent benefit – can come into play.

America is in a housing crisis that pre-dates the pandemic. The latest study from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that 46% of renters and 21% of landlords are burdened with costs, meaning they spend more than a third of their income on housing. These numbers are skyrocketing for low-income households, even if suffice it to say that housing insecurity is a monumental problem right now.

Housing assistance is a forward-thinking benefit that employees aren’t used to seeing in their packages, and one of the smartest and most favorable offers an employer can offer today.

A case for moving housing assistance beyond technology

Of course, employer-sponsored or sponsored housing isn’t entirely new – the federal government and the military have a long history of building housing to support their workforce. And tech giants like Apple and Google have been tackling the housing shortage near their headquarters for years, though they arguably helped create that shortage. But what happens when employees who work for employers providing essential community services cannot afford to live close to their workplace? Or is there simply no accommodation available?

Employers such as healthcare systems, hospitals, emergency response employers and public sector entities are in a hurry to meet the housing needs of their current and potential employees. The benefits of doing so are numerous, including reducing turnover, delays and absenteeism, and contributing to the financial stability of their employees. In addition, the employer’s image is enhanced in the eyes of the community.

Amid stagnant wages, rising housing costs and a lack of available housing across the country, employers are under more pressure to help people end up in situations where the bulk of their paychecks are is not intended to be rented. This only diminishes their quality of life at a time when most are seeking to improve it.

In terms of benefit options for housing assistance, much depends on the location and the functioning of the employer. Are they in rural areas? Do employees perform shift work or night duty? Is there reliable public transport? What housing constraints can prevent a successful employee from accepting or keeping his job?

Here are some of the housing assistance options that employers can consider:

Subsidize housing costs

If an employer is in a location where they are unable to attract and retain high performing employees due to the lack of affordable housing, one of the simplest and most attractive solutions is to subsidize through employment programs. help with rent, housing allowance or even offer a down payment. help – which can help stabilize housing for years to come. This can encourage employees to take root and take ownership of the community, which could reduce attrition rates.

Build new housing

The federal government, the military, school districts, hospital systems, and big tech employers like Facebook have built housing for their employees. The main objectives of this strategy are to reduce housing costs, reduce travel times and the environmental impact of these journeys, as well as foster a sense of community among employees. In more rural areas, this could be a viable option for many employers who wish to retain and attract new talent.

Promote shared accommodation

Often hidden away in existing housing in each community is a large inventory of empty rooms. a US Census data analysis suggests that there are 33.6 million free rooms across the country. Many homeowners – especially empty nesters and retirees – don’t use all of their home space, and it could be mutually beneficial for the homeowner and local employee to consider sharing that space.

Even if the arrangement is only for a fixed period, a shared housing arrangement provides a more affordable rental for someone and allows that landlord to generate additional income. It can also lend itself to shared experiences and is much more cost effective to support than grants or housing construction.

Ultimately, employees demand more control over their working life, what they expect from their experience and a better work-life balance. Where and how they live is an important part of this consideration. Employers can quickly gain the love of current and potential employees by adding this dimension to their benefits and creating more choice and flexibility, which can lead to a happier, more productive and more stable employee roster.

Amy ford is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for Silvernest, an online roommate matchmaking service that pairs empty nesters, retirees and other aging adults with longtime roommates. In her role, Amy is focused on generating a vision and roadmap for growing Silvernest with current and future partners.


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