In today’s market, attracting and retaining top talent comes down to a few key factors. An employment confidence survey from 2015 found that approximately 60% of people say that employee benefits and other perks are a primary factor in taking or declining a job offer. The survey also noted that 80% of employees said they would take additional benefits before asking for a raise.
When digging deeper into the benefits people want, Harvard Business Review found that the heaviest consideration for benefits was health, dental, and vision insurance. Employees also ranked benefits such as flexible hours, vacation time, and work-from-home benefits as highly valued benefits. Not quite as popular? Benefits such as gym memberships, free employee outings, and team bonding events ranked fairly low on the list. To dig a little deeper into what employees want, these are some of the key benefits desired.
There are various types of medical insurance, but the primary ones employees want are medical insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance. Other perks such as flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts are nice to have but not as important. Medical insurance is pretty much a no-brainer. It’s one of the four major types of benefits that most employers offer. Including doctor visits, surgeries, and prescriptions, employers typically cover a portion of premiums.
Dental insurance and vision insurance are also highly desirable benefits. Dental insurance typically covers the cost of annual dental exams and cleanings, x-rays and may cover part of dental procedures such as fillings and other dental needs. Vision insurance is designed to help cover the cost of eye exams and prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Paid Vacation Time and Flexible Hours
Employees need time to recover from working hard, so paid time off is an important benefit. In fact, some companies may even decide to offer unlimited vacation time. More vacation time was found to be an appealing perk for 80% of the respondents in a survey by Harvard Business Review. This may be a difficult perk to offer employees, though. While most companies provide vacation time that’s paid to their employees, actually having the employees take that time isn’t as easily done. Annually, Americans leave 224 billion dollars in unused vacation time. This may create problems for employers who have to pay out this time when employees leave. Employers who offer unlimited time may not result in lower productivity and ensure the company won’t have to pay for unused time.
Even more attractive than being able to take a vacation, though, is being able to manage your own schedule. The survey found that 86% of respondents would consider a job that offered flexible hours, with just a slightly lower percentage wanting to work from home. Both of these arrangements can be great for companies who wish to have a great benefits package but can’t afford expensive perks. Today, more people are working from home than ever before. Perks like these typically don’t cost the company and may even lead to cost savings.
Employees today, especially younger ones, may want to grow their careers by learning new skills. Benefits such as student loans and tuition assistance rank fairly highly on the list of desired benefits. Just a little less than 50% of respondents said they would take a lower-paying job if provided these benefits. Companies should know that while this seems like it could be expensive, it actually offers a tax break as employers can provide up to $5,250 for every employee every year for tuition tax-free.
Benefits that don’t directly impact a person’s lifestyle or finances weren’t seen as being very desirable. Freebies such as coffee or snacks provided and team-building activities were not valued and probably not worth considering for most companies. Employees may like them, but they probably won’t be a deciding factor.
Building a Benefits Package
Companies that want to recruit and retain top talent should keep the most desirable benefits in mind. Knowing what employees want will help provide desirable benefits while avoiding paying for potentially expensive and low-valued options.