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The Impact of Benefits

In addition to medical and dental insurance, pension contributions and annual leave, organizations are offering more attractive ‘soft’ benefits (Hannay & Northam, 2000), such as medical insurance covering the employee’s family, more annual leave based on seniority, a generous housing subsidy or a car loan (Chew, 2005). In addition, the provision of easy- access or on-site childcare facilities and flexible working hours has been shown to increase the retention of female employees in healthcare at all levels, from managers (Abbot, De Cieri & Iverson, 1998) to frontline nurses (Klemm & Scbreiber, 1992), especially for those returning after taking maternity leave (Nowak, Naude & Thomas, 2013).

The impact of non-financial benefits has also been investigated in retaining talent in developing areas, to counter the so-called brain drain (Willis-Shattuck et al., 2008, Taylor et al., 2011). This talent loss is associated with emigration from poor to developed countries, and, in the absence of financial benefits, retention initiatives have focused on housing subsidies, continuing education and hot meals (Gow et al., 2013; Taylor, Hwenda, Larsen & Daulaire, 2011; Willis-Shattuck et al., 2008). Interestingly, similar initiatives are also found in developed countries: healthcare workers are given housing benefits to prevent them from leaving hospitals in expensive locations (e.g., London), and also to prevent them from leaving undesirable locations (Baumann, Yan, Degelder & Malikov, 2006).

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