What are employee benefits, and which ones are the most impactful to offer to my employees?
Employee benefits are any form of non-wage compensation that employers offer on top of a salary. While benefits packages were historically pretty bare bones, today’s competitive workforce makes it critical for companies to provide more comprehensive offerings to attract and retain talent. In fact, compensation and benefits were ranked as the #1 factor job seekers search for by 55% of the candidates surveyed in Hired’s recent 2018 Global Brand Health Report.
Not all benefits are created equal - some may sound nice on paper but aren’t actually meaningful in practice. That’s why we looked at existing research and came up with a list of the top eight most impactful benefits we recommend offering your employees:
Health insurance is one of the most popular work benefits, with 67% of employees reporting that their employers offered health insurance in 2017. And for good reason: health insurance is the best predictor when it comes to overall employee satisfaction with benefits packages and has been found to boost employee productivity.
This is because medical, vision, and dental services offer a way for employees to seek out both preventive care and receive treatments when they run into health problems. Without the support of employer-sponsored insurance plans, healthcare can be inaccessible and unaffordable for individuals and families. That’s why Liazon’s Employee Survey Report found that 75% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer because of their health benefits plan.
Paid time off has also become a popular benefit offering in today’s workforce, and one that only continues to gain popularity: a research study by LinkedIn found that, when asked what additional perk they would like to have at work, 47% of respondents wanted more time off around the holidays. This benefit is impactful because it gives employees the peace of mind to be away from the office, to rest, recharge, and reconnect with their loved ones.
Time off for new parents is an invaluable employee benefit because it relieves some of the burden that comes with this huge life transition, and it gives employees the time and space they need to bond with their newest family member. That’s likely why we’re seeing more companies offering paid parental leave, with the percentage of employers offering paid maternity leave increasing from 26% in 2016 to 35% in 2018 and paid paternity leave increasing from 21% to 29% in the same years. In addition to parental leave, we’re seeing other family-focused benefits on the rise, such as fertility care offerings, adoption support, and childcare options.
Cash bonuses used to be the go-to method for employee recognition. However, as the modern workforce becomes increasingly focused on building meaningful relationships with their employees, we’re seeing cash bonuses being replaced by non monetary rewards instead.
For instance, instead of giving employees a $50 Starbucks gift card to celebrate their hard work, employers can let them choose an experiential reward - whether it’s taking a long overdue family trip to an amusement park or seeing a live show on Broadway. This form of employee recognition is more memorable, personal, and shareable, not to mention it’s also proven to improve employee engagement and retention rates.
In addition to paid time off, a flexible work environment is one of the top work benefits employees seek. Flexible work includes everything from allowing different work hours to offering remote workplace options. This benefit demonstrates that employers respect the fact that everyone has different priorities in their lives. While some people may be able to work 9 to 5 without a problem, others have children they need to drop off and pick up from school or passions they may want to pursue outside of work. Others work better in home office environments or at a coffee shop. Additionally, flexible work environments establish trust between the employer and employee.
More and more companies are investing in the career growth of their employees. That’s why benefits that further professional development opportunities are important to consider. For instance, at Blueboard, one of our company values is to “Set Ourselves Up for Success.” This means putting the right resources, training, and tools in place for our employees to be successful. Which is why we offer a use-it-or-lose-it learning and development budget of $1,000 per employee per year to use on activities like online trainings, conferences, books, workshops, or leadership coaching.
While many of these benefits are focused on the ‘now,’ one of the employment benefits that will help employees in the future is financial planning. This will help employees figure out the best way to use or save the income they’re earning and set them up for success down the road. You can offer a variety of resources, such as training on how to manage debt, prepare for retirement, or save for big milestones like purchasing a home. For venture-backed companies, financial education around stock options and grants, navigating IPOs, is also valuable for employees.
Last but not least, health and wellness benefits are a huge draw for today’s employees, with many employees feeling stressed or burnt out as the modern workplace demands more of our energy and time. These benefits can include gym membership reimbursements, employer-sponsored fitness classes, meditation, or a general budget for any health and wellness activities employees want to pursue. The same LinkedIn research study found that 49% of respondents want to see increased health and wellness benefits at their companies, demonstrating that employees are turning more to their employers for their mental and physical health needs.
Ultimately, crafting a strong benefits package is all about understanding what’s important to your employees. Looking past the “fluff” and focusing on offering benefits that will positively impact your employee’s lives and make it clear that you - as their employer - are invested in their wellbeing and success.
If you’re curious to learn more about offering experiential employee rewards as a benefit at your company, we’d love to connect. Feel free to reach out via the Request Demo button at top to learn more ^^, or give us a shout in the Live Chat window at the bottom right corner!