The professional working landscape in Puerto Rico has changed a lot over the last decade, but especially after Hurricane Maria.
After the hurricane, many companies went out of business or were forced to downsize to reduce costs. Some even made salary and benefits cuts for their employees. As a result, thousands of talented and educated professionals have left the island for the mainland United States in search of better work opportunities and quality of life. This is a big problem for Puerto Rico; the worst thing that can happen to a country is losing its intellectual capital.
A Competitive Environment
As Puerto Rico recovers and starts to rebuild its economy, local companies need to be smarter and innovative to recruit and retain the best available talent.
The Act 20/22 tax decrees have brought more than 2,000 investors and entrepreneurs to the island. The majority of them are creating new companies based in Puerto Rico or moving operations here from the mainland. This new wave of entrepreneurs are arriving with a different mindset; they are recruiting the best available talent by taking an innovative approach to employee benefits and compensation, offering an array of attractive benefits and perks.
Local companies and entrepreneurs face the challenge of not only a shrinking pool of talent to recruit from but also increasing competition against the the Act 20/22 companies that offer higher salaries and a holistic benefit package.
Recruiting and Retaining The Best
Here are some of the ways you can stand out as an employer in the competitive professional environment:
1. Develop a work culture and environment where employees can find a sense of purpose.
Gone are the days when employees go to work just to make a salary. This is especially true for the millennial generation; they need to find a sense of purpose in their workplace. Clearly establishing the purpose and core values of your company will drive the desired behavior of your employees, and this is more critical than ever, and it should be a key element of your strategy.
Culture is defined by purpose, values and behaviors. In the past, companies defined their mission and vision, but that is no longer enough. You must clearly state the reason why your company exists. This is your purpose. Next it is important to define your core values and a clear definition of the behaviors you want to promote within your organization. When your employees truly believe in your purpose, identify with your values and start to embrace the desired behaviors, the company will become more competitive and your turnover will be reduced. People will become more committed and attracted towards the company.
2. Offer a compensation package with above-and-beyond benefits.
It is important to offer a holistic compensation package that includes benefits that your employees will love. In the world we live in today, it is no longer enough to offer a base salary, pay for 50% of the employee health insurance plan and parking spot.
Leading companies in the US are going above and beyond the traditional compensation package. Employers like Facebook and Google embrace important aspects like health and wellness at work and offer attractive benefits like allowances to finance gym memberships, concierge medicine and telemedicine with doctors, lounges for relaxation with video games and ping-pong tables, yoga and meditation classes, free healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, on-site nutritionist, chiropractor and dental care, work from home programs that allow for flexibility in working remotely...the list goes on.
These types of holistic offerings create a positive and inspiring environment at work, leading to happier and healthier employees.
3. Keep your team healthy, productive, and highly motivated.
The US and Puerto Rico are in the midst of a healthcare crisis. People are developing chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and others at an earlier age. In addition, Hurricane Maria created uncertainty which has resulted in an increase of conditions like anxiety, depression and other stress-related disorders. Access to Doctors in Puerto Rico is more challenging everyday with long waiting times and lack of preventative care.
There is a direct relationship between health and productivity. For this reason, it is important to develop a culture around wellness that make it easy for employees to access healthcare professionals that can help them optimize their health, avoid disease, and stay productive in the workplace.
Imagining a Brighter Future
The reality is, it takes a fresh approach to Human Resources strategy if you want to hire, retain and delight the best possible talent in your company. Be smart, be creative and rethink your strategy by understanding the current dynamic landscape, creating a compelling package of benefits, clearly defining your purpose and going the extra mile when it comes to health and wellness.