What Benefits Do Employees Value Most?

April 29, 2021 |read icon 5 min read

Employees value benefits more than ever, a new study finds. Nearly three-fourths of employees surveyed believe benefits programs are an essential part of their compensation. About 72% also said their benefits package is the reason they stay at their job. Many employers offer a range of insurance options and perks, but what benefits do employees value most? Here are five essential benefits.

1. Financial well-being

During the past year, many employees had unexpected expenses. Some people lost jobs or were furloughed. Others had medical costs that insurance didn’t cover. Many employees also have student loan debts, which average about $35,000 per person.

Employees recognize the importance of financial well-being. Financial experts advise people to have three to six months’ worth of living costs saved for emergency medical expenses. The Federal Reserve Board researchers found that 41% of Americans have $1,000 or less in savings to handle unexpected health costs. So, they may have to use credit cards to cover expenses over this amount.

The benefits employees want to safeguard their financial security include student loan repayment assistance and 401(k) retirement savings plans. These benefits also include a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, financial counseling and budgeting resources.

2. Comprehensive health coverage

Employer-sponsored health benefits are key factors for employee recruitment, but especially worker retention. The Society for Human Resource Management reports that for 56% of American adults, the quality of their employer-sponsored health benefits impacts their decision to stay at their job. About 46% of adults surveyed said that the health insurance package was either the deciding factor or positive influence in accepting their current job.

Medical insurance is considered by employees as the most valuable workplace benefit to help cover catastrophic health needs. They also believe dental and vision coverage is essential and want those plans included in their benefits packages. Employers who don’t offer these insurance choices to all employees can help workers get individual dental and vision coverage online from an insurance carrier. These plans are affordable and provide same-day services for preventive exams and several other procedures. There may be a waiting period for higher-cost procedures.

3. Paid time off

During the pandemic, employees appreciated flexible work schedules and paid time off to help balance family and job responsibilities. Many employees care for children and aging parents and need extra time off to juggle appointments and school activities. Employees also want the option to take time off during the day to volunteer in their community.

4. Office and computer resources

Remote work continues as a popular option for employees. During the pandemic, about 70% of employees worked remotely. Gallup research shows that many employees want to continue to work from home, up from 37% in July 2020 to 44% in January 2021.

Employees are asking for an allowance to help them with purchases of equipment and services to improve their work environment to perform their jobs. These items include ergonomic office furniture, updated computer and software, internet service and office supplies. Providing this benefit to cover office expenses shows remote workers they are valued and their dedication to the business is appreciated.

5. Wellness programs

Even though many employees work remotely, they appreciate wellness benefits that help them maintain and improve their health. They want access to virtual programs to help them lose their COVID-19 weight, manage stress, and participate in team-oriented fitness options.

About 60% of American workers are concerned about the condition of their mental health following the pandemic. In addition to paid time office and work-life balance, employees want access to an Employee Assistant Program (EAP). Workers appreciate talking anonymously with a professional about their problems and exploring solutions to resolve their issues and concerns.

During the pandemic, employees had to deal with many changes. They worried about how these changes would affect their jobs and livelihood, and still do. Employers can empower workers and provide reassurance to help them cope. Review ideas for helping employees deal with change.

Employees today want to work for employers who understand their needs and provide the benefits and rewards they value. As 2021 hiring trends change, providing the benefits employees value is an essential business strategy. Learn more about benefits employees want.

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