Mid-Marketers can Improve Talent Management by Benchmarking Against Peers

Employers that want to stay ahead of the trends should follow the best practices of best-in-class companies.

As employee recruitment and retention remains a growing issue, mid-market companies can improve their HR management strategies by benchmarking against peers. Best-in-class employers more actively manage their healthcare costs and take a more strategic approach to managing human resources, according to the Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Using select data from nearly 1,000 mid-sized employers and 269 large employers and talent management strategies and tactics used by high-performing organizations, the study uncovered best practices in mid-market talent management.

William Ziebell, President of the Benefits and Human Resources Consulting division at Gallagher, said that ways to effectively drive employee engagement and contain healthcare costs can change over time. He feels it is essential for organizations to stay current on those actions that distinguish the best in a peer group. “Employers need to focus on the best practices that offer the greatest potential to define them as destination employers,” said Ziebell.

Another noticeable healthcare trend uncovered was the ability to avoid increasing employee contributions in 2016. In the mid-market group, only 45% of the best-in-class increased employee contributions, compared to 63% of peers.


Best-in-class mid-markets also were more likely to use a management approach that emphasized business and employee performance. While only 36% of peers were likely to do so, 51% of best-in-class mid-market organizations aligned benefits planning with strategic organizational plans. Those top organizations also were more likely to give timely and constructive feedback to their employees and set clear performance goals.

Staying informed can drive improvements
It’s essential for mid-market organizations not only to stay abreast of trends, but to measure their own analytics for comparison. Knowing what the most successful companies are doing can help guide policies. Chris Bruce, managing director and co-founder of Thomsons Online Benefits, said companies can use data to reconsider their benefits evaluation process. He suggested that companies talk to employees and use solutions that allow HR to track benefits usage and engagement and “better determine what is resonating with employees.”

Jim Quillen, director of business intelligence at Paycom, added that workforce analytics not only can help evaluate people to optimize their work, but also can use it to predict the best actions for business leaders to take. He said that before predicting, organizations must first know what they are looking for.

Quillen said to start with questions that focus on driving employee engagement and performance. “Once your business hones in on the right question, it then can begin the work of validating that the data is complete, doing the actual analysis, recommending a plan of action and defending that plan company-wide,” said Quillen.


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