Employers Cannot Afford Inadequate Perks Says Study

By HR Daily Advisor Editorial Staff Jul 9, 2018 Used with permission

A recent survey conducted by Ranstad US explored what workers think about and want from benefits in the workplace. The results showed a staggering majority (94%) want assurances that their benefits will have a real impact on their quality of life. That includes benefits that address student loan debt, work/life balance, and flexibility in general.

But before employers attempt a benefits overhaul, they should perhaps focus on better education and communication about their existing benefits. Just under half (48%) of employees report knowing all the perks their employers offer, and only 40 percent say their employers help them understand the benefits that are available.

Benefits Packages Can Be Deal Breakers

Benefits can be an even stronger incentive than salary when considering a job offer, and an unattractive benefits package may drive candidates away.

  • Sixty-six percent of workers agree that a strong benefits and perks package is the largest determining factor when considering job offers, and 61 percent would be willing to accept a lower salary if a company offered a great benefits package.
  • Forty-two percent of employees say they are considering leaving their current jobs because their benefits packages are inadequate.
  • Fifty-five percent have left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks elsewhere.

Not Just Benefits: Perks Too

When evaluating benefits, quality health insurance reigns supreme. But when it comes to perks, the survey findings indicate that workers want to maximize their time spent at work and appreciate conveniences that help them get the most out of their days.

  • When considering a potential employers’ benefits (defined in the study as “standard forms of compensation paid by employers to employees over and above salary”), workers prioritize health insurance (75%), followed by retirement funds and/or pensions (21%).
  • Highly rated perks (defined in the study as “workplace-related extras”), that workers want to see more of in the workplace are:
    • early Friday releases (33%)
    • flexibility and remote working (26%)
    • onsite lifestyle amenities, like gyms and dry cleaning (23%)
    • unlimited vacation time (22%)
    • in-office meal options, like communal snacks or food courts (18%)
    • onsite childcare (15%)

One Size Does Not Fit All

Age, income level and gender all play a role in the benefits that employees prioritize:

  • Forty-one percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said their current employers do not offer student loan repayment benefits, but wish they did.
  • Workers aged 50+ named health insurance as the top benefit they wish their employers offered.
  • Nearly a third (28%) of respondents who earn more than $150,000 annually say bonuses are one of the most important perks when considering new employment.
  • More women than men want better parental leave policies (women: 22% vs. men: 14%) and onsite childcare (women: 15% vs. men: 6%).
  • More men than women would like to see their employers offer life insurance (women: 15% vs. men: 23%).

While it may not be possible to offer every benefit or perk, there are plenty of low-cost ways for employers to accommodate or enhance their employees’ lifestyles. A great way for leaders to find out what would be appreciated within their own organization is by asking current employees. To be successful, the employer must be prepared to follow through on — or at least address — all of the feedback.

“With the rise of the agile workforce and flexible work arrangements, the lines between ‘home’ and ‘work’ are increasingly blurred,” said Jim Link, chief human resources officer at Randstad North America. “But what’s telling is that, although employees clearly express a desire for more freedom over where and how they work, when they are in the office, they take that time very seriously. That’s why onsite amenities that make the workplace as comfortable and convenient as possible are still so attractive.”

Survey Methodology

Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Research Now on behalf of Randstad US. The survey was fielded from April 9-13, 2018. It included 756 respondents over the age of 18 (with 80% of respondents aged 25-64) and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region. Ninety-one percent were employed as permanent employees at the time of the survey, and the remaining nine percent were contractors or freelancers.