10 Top Perks and Benefits That Win Employees Over

By Robert Half on December 7, 2020 at 3:00pm

Like it or not, many of your employees spend around half of their waking hours during the week working. 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’ experience as rewarding 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.

In addition, what you offer beyond salary can go a long way in aiding recruitment efforts. The right complement of extras can make the difference between your top candidates joining your team or a competitor’s.

Research for the 2021 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 Silicon Valley startups have gained 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 a Robert Half survey of more than 500 HR managers in North America, this benefit came in at No. 1, with 68% of employers offering it to their staff. And with the pandemic upending so many lives in 2020, it’s only going to become more important to people.
  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.
  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. Life insurance — Another practical matter rounds out the top five benefits offerings cited in our survey. Life insurance and accidental death & dismemberment insurance (AD&D) are important to employees looking to plan ahead and feel some reassurance in protecting their families.

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 work schedules — 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. This year, more companies started promoting windowed work, which means breaking down the workday into various chunks of time in order to better manage professional and personal obligations.
  2. Remote work options — Due to COVID-19, working remotely has become the norm for a lot of companies, and employees reported they want this trend to continue beyond the pandemic.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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 can reflect highly on your corporate culture, which can help you retain employees and recruit job seekers who want to work with companies whose values align with their own.

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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