New research shows that employers are overpaying when it comes to talent attraction. Worse yet, this trend isn't just hurting companies' bottom lines; it's also killing their employee morale.

The data comes from Gartner's 1Q19 Global Talent Monitor, which found that 25 percent of workers in the United States were actively looking for another job during the quarter and that U.S. companies looking to lure new talent are offering average compensation increases of about 15 percent. But there's a gap at play: U.S. employees only expect salary bumps of about 10 percent when switching employers, Gartner reports.

Furthermore, that gap could spell big problems for companies' existing talent. "Once tenured employees discover discrepancies between their salaries and those of new colleagues, they may be more inclined to look for another position elsewhere," Brian Kropp, group vice president in the Gartner HR practice, said in a press release.

To attract new talent while retaining existing talent, Gartner recommends developing a strong employee value proposition (EVP) that includes competitive compensation as well as other sought-after differentiators.

Here at Werk, we've already discussed how much workers and job-seekers—particularly ones new to the workforce—are demanding workplace flexibility. Aside from salary, flexibility is the most important factor of workplace happiness, ranking above benefits, career progression, and additional holidays. Werk's research provides other hard evidence: 96 percent of workers in America need some type of flexibility, but only 42 percent have access to the flex type they need, and only 19 percent have access to a range of flex types.

We've also emphasized how critical it is that employers promote their flexibility policies as part of their EVP, particularly because flex ranks in the top three job factors for millennial and Gen Z workers. And flex is indeed a differentiator: A recent study of common phrases and terms of job listings showed that the word "flexibility" didn't make it into the top 50, while "Nerf guns" and "ping pong" did.

Flex doesn't just make a world of difference in talent attraction, though; it also has a positive impact on talent retention. Our research showed that employees are twice as likely to report being dissatisfied at work when they don't have access to flexibility, and one out of every two employees said they would switch to a more flexible alternative. All the more reason for employers to make their culture more flexible instead of just throwing money at their talent problems.