Employee Benefits – What reigns supreme?

An employee compensation plan in todays workforce includes both wages and benefits offered to employees. Typically, all companies include those benefits into an overall evaluation of a job that is being extended to a candidate, such as an offer letter. It’s not always a high wage that lures employees to one employer over another – it’s usually the added benefits that come along with wages. So, in 2017 – what are the most desired benefits?

According to Harvard Business Review, better health, dental, and vision insurance tops the list. As someone who has been in the HR industry for 17 years now (yes, that makes me feel old), this request for better insurance has always topped the list. It’s not necessarily the lower deductible option that’s requested – it’s the different options to fit different lifestyles. A higher deductible health plan might be requested if the coverage (let’s say a 90/10 plan) is better. Or an HSA plan where they can vest their earnings later if they’d don’t use them.

The runner up to insurance doesn’t surprise me either – employees are looking for a better work/life balance. Options like working from home, telecommuting, more PTO and vacation time off, flexible working schedules, and even unlimited vacation schedules. It’s no longer about punching in an 8 hour day, but today’s work environment is more concerned about getting the job done  – regardless of the day or time in which the job is completed. Employees are being given more responsibility and trust and understand that expectations are given with that responsibility.

Other employee perks that the HBR article mentioned (and some of my own) are:

  • Student Loan Assistance
  • Tuition Assistance or Education Reimbursement
  • 401k
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Wellness Benefits (gym memberships, yoga onsite, nutrition help)
  • On-Site Meals
  • Free Snacks/Water/Beverages
  • Team Building Events, Company Outings
  • Industry Training, Career Investment
  • Clothing Allowance
  • Daycare Help (onsite or reimbursement)
  • Flex Spending/Cafeteria Plan
  • Paid Life Insurance
  • Vehicle Reimbursement and/or Paid Transportation (bus pass, train pass)
  • Game Room, Relaxation Room
  • Company Charity Events (time off to donate time to charity)
  • Relaxed Dress Code
  • Profit Sharing, Employee Bonus

Some of these benefits offer “outside of the box” affordable perks without costing a huge expense to the company. Added perks and benefits not only retain employees that might be offered a higher paying job elsewhere, but they can help land potential candidates that are highly recruited. Don’t be afraid to think differently on what you can offer employees, knowing that wages aren’t always what employees consider when job hunting. If you need help revamping your benefit offerings, or want some consultation on how to increase your HR power, give us a free call. We can discuss how to better attract and retain employees.