Top 10 most popular employee benefits
With slowing growth and inflation reducing their profits, companies are taking action. Along with obvious measures such as layoffs and hiring freezes, some organizations are also cutting employee benefits. For example, according to SHRM’s 2022 Employee Benefits Survey, companies offering paid maternity leave (outside of what is legally required) decreased to 35% from 53% in 2020. But is- this the best strategy? With record levels of resignations and remote working becoming more prevalent, workers have more options than ever. That’s why companies need to offer competitive benefits to attract and retain the best candidates.
Recently, global HR and payroll company, Remote, surveyed 10,000 full-time workers in the US and Europe to better understand which benefits are most valued. Here’s a look at the top ten:
1. Flexible working hours
Unsurprisingly, flexible working hours are the top demand from remote workers. In fact, according to a Future Forum survey, 95% of respondents care more about flexible hours than remote work. And in an Adobe report, 84% of corporate employees would like at least some flexibility, compared to just 16% who said they would prefer a fixed schedule.
2. Company-sponsored pension or retirement plan
Pension plans help attract and retain workers. Another attractive perk is offering retirement planning assistance from financial professionals. In Morgan Stanley at Work’s second annual State of Financial Benefits Study, 93% of employees consider assistance with retirement planning a priority when choosing where to work. Given inflation and economic uncertainty, it’s no surprise that workers are more aware of their financial health.
3. Leave early on Friday
The concept of allowing employees to leave early on Fridays is not new. In fact, this benefit is often extended into the summer (known as “summer Fridays”), with more than half of North American organizations offering it, according to Gartner. These benefits allow organizations to gain a competitive edge when attracting and retaining top talent.
4. Four-day work week
A 2022 Qualtrics survey found that 92% of respondents favored a four-day work week. Additionally, 72% said they would prefer a four-day week even if it meant working longer hours on the days they worked. More interestingly, the largest multinational experiment with the four-day working week is almost complete in the UK. According to Claire Daniels, CEO of Trio Media, one of 70 companies participating in the pilot, “The four-day week-long trial has so far been extremely successful for us,” she said. “Productivity remained high, with an increase in team well-being, as well as 44% better financial performance for our business.”
5. Family health insurance
With open enrollment season underway in the United States, health insurance is a priority. Not only can family health insurance be a valuable recruiting tool, it can also increase retention and increase employee satisfaction.
6. Private health insurance
Private health insurance is coverage provided by a private company rather than the government. Although many countries have implemented universal healthcare systems, private health insurance may still have benefits in terms of reduced waiting times or access to special facilities.
7. Reimbursement of health costs
Sometimes called healthcare reimbursement accounts, healthcare reimbursements are group health insurance plans from which workers are reimbursed tax-free for eligible medical expenses up to a fixed annual amount. Unused funds can be carried forward for use in subsequent years.
8. Paid Personal Care Days or Mental Health Leave
The pandemic has brought mental health and burnout to the forefront. As a result, nearly 23% of workers say their employer has introduced new mental health services, according to a recent Harris Poll. And more than a third of employees say their company has always offered some form of mental health support.
9. Miscarriage leave
Miscarriage occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although relatively common, no national law in the United States imposes specific protections for people facing this traumatic physical and emotional experience. Rather than describing these laws as a “perk” or a “benefit,” miscarriage leave should be seen as a must-have for women in the workforce.
10. Private dental insurance
Not only are dental benefits good for the employee, but they also benefit the employer. Without regular dental care, the likelihood of developing significant health problems increases dramatically. As a result, employees are more likely to miss work, which leads to lost productivity. In fact, a report found that an average of 320 million work or school hours are lost annually to dental care in the United States, 92 million of which are for emergencies.
An obvious course of action during an economic downturn is to cut costs. But while cutting employee benefits can generate short-term financial gains, it can lead to long-term negative results, such as lower morale, a disengaged workforce, and higher turnover. Is this really a smart decision when it is estimated that by 2030, the global talent shortage could exceed 85 million people, resulting in the loss of billions of dollars of economic opportunity for companies? Probably not.