10 Top Perks and Benefits That Win Employees Over

By Robert Half on December 5, 2019 at 5:15pm

Like it or not, many of your employees spend around half of their waking workweek at the office. And for some, it can even be a majority.

Savvy, retention-minded employers understand the strain this can cause and try to make their workers’ time away from their personal lives as pleasant as possible. After all, a happy team means higher productivity, greater creativity and less turnover.

What’s one way to keep your employees engaged — and with your organization? Invest in their overall job satisfaction by keeping current with the most common company-provided perks and benefits.

Research for the 2020 Robert Half Salary Guides revealed the perks and benefits that businesses most frequently offer, and while some are fairly standard, others that were once the primary domain of progressive, Silicon Valley startups are gaining mainstream popularity.

If there are any perks and benefits in these lists that you don’t provide, adding them is likely to give your workforce a morale boost — and help keep them working for you instead of heading to the competition.

The 5 most common benefits

The terms perks and benefits are sometimes used interchangeably, but for our purposes, benefits are generally a form of noncash compensation that cover basic needs. If not offered by the employer, employees would likely have to fund them on their own.

  1. Health insurance. After salary, this staple benefit is of the utmost importance to many job candidates and typically includes medical coverage for employees and their families. In our survey, this benefit came in at No. 1, with 81% of employers offering it to their staff.
  2. Paid time off. Whether it’s for vacation, illness or bereavement, personal time off (PTO) is highly valued by employees and a great way to combat burnout. Two weeks is standard for new hires, but three or more weeks of PTO can be hard for many candidates to pass up.
  3. Dental insurance. What’s most important isn’t always most exciting, as evidenced by dental insurance being the third most common benefit offered by employers in our survey. Seventy-one percent of the employers surveyed offer it, no doubt putting a smile on their employees’ faces.
  4. Retirement savings plans. A tax-advantaged 401(k) plan can be an excellent way to motivate employees to save for retirement. Offering to match contributions up to a certain amount is a big plus in the eyes of workers and can encourage them to stick with your firm.
  5. Vision insurance. Another practical matter rounds out the top five benefits offerings in our survey, at 63%. Vision insurance is especially important to employees who use some type of corrective lenses, and for workers with spouses or children who need an annual eye exam.

The 5 most common perks

Perks — as in perquisites or corporate perks — are nice-to-have additions to an employee’s salary and benefits package. We define perks as above-and-beyond offerings that may sway an employee to value one employer over another. Think of them as icing on the cake.

  1. Flexible schedule and telecommuting. More and more companies allow employees to choose their own schedule, within reason. This typically means a compressed workweek (e.g., four 10-hour days) or flextime, where employees can choose to work, say, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. rather than an 8-5 schedule. The ability to telecommute — and avoid sitting in traffic — one or two days a week is also big with workers. In our survey, 50% of employers said they offer at least one of these options.
  2. Paid parental leave. Employees want to know they can still earn a wage and pursue career goals while caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. Companies that offer paid time off for new parents will likely gain points with top performers who may plan to become a parent — again or for the first time — in the future.
  3. Employee discounts. We’re not talking 5% off at the local coffee chain (though that’s not bad, in addition). But employees tend to love getting company-exclusive discounts on big-ticket purchases, from cars and homes to smartphones and home security systems.
  4. Free food (and good coffee). Some companies go all out, offering every meal, snack and treat for free. You don’t necessarily need to go that far, but catered lunches once a week and quality coffee freely available in every break room can certainly help keep morale (and caffeine levels) high.
  5. PTO for volunteering. Also known as VTO (volunteer time off), this perk gives employees inclined to donate their time to help others the opportunity to do so without dipping into their PTO. As an added bonus for businesses, this offering reflects highly on your corporate culture, which can help you retain and recruit employees and job seekers who want to work with companies whose values align with their own.

The rise of wellness

Once commonly viewed as extravagant company perks, wellness programs have gained steam among workers in recent years. And given that your employees are the most valuable resources you have, it makes sense to invest in their overall well-being.

Our research showed that 73% of employers have mental wellness offerings of some sort, such as stress management. And half of them cover the full cost.

Financial and physical wellness are also on the radar. Sixty-five percent of employers we polled said they offer financial wellness resources, such as retirement planning or credit counseling. Sixty-three percent said they provide gym access, incentives for engaging in healthy behavior or other physical wellness options, with 40% of companies paying for it outright.

As professionals more frequently look beyond salary as the primary measure of who they want to work for, a strong benefits and perks package is crucial for keeping your best people around — and recruiting more top talent to join your team. Stay on top of the most common employment perks and benefits to reduce your risk of losing your best people.

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