Are Companies Offering The Benefits Employees Want?

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Besides salary, benefits offered by employers are among the top factors job seekers consider when choosing a company to work for. In fact, a recent Glassdoor study conducted by Harris Poll found that nearly 57 percent of people cited benefits and perks as a top consideration prior to accepting a job offer.

As found in a survey conducted by Fractl, “better health, dental, and vision insurance” was most valued by job seekers, with 88% of respondents giving the benefit either “some” or “heavy” consideration. 

To reduce the tendency of surveys to skew toward health benefits, we omitted the option from our own employee benefits surveys on Movin’ On Up, the Express Employment Professionals blog for job seekers, and Refresh Leadership, our blog dedicated to business owners. The goal was to discover not only what benefits (other than health) employees want, but also whether companies are offering those benefits.

We found that having a flexible work schedule was the number one priority for employees with nearly 18% of the vote, while generous/unlimited vacation time and opportunities to work from home/remotely followed in second and third, with approximately 13% and 12%, respectively.

Other options receiving at least 5% of the vote include:

  • Access to Training/Certification Classes: 10.18%
  • Casual Dress Code: 9.76%
  • Profit Sharing/Stock Options: 8.23%
  • College Tuition Reimbursement: 6.56%
  • Opportunities to Travel: 5.02%

Employees want to be recognized as more than robot workers. They want the flexibility to attend events for their children or care for their sick parents. Flexible schedules, plenty of vacation time and the ability to work from home allow them to accomplish those responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the data on the employer side differed substantially. The top benefit employers say they provide was a casual dress code with 16% of the vote, followed by access to training/certification classes with 14% and a flexible work schedule with 9%.

Other results receiving at least 4% of the vote include:

  • College tuition reimbursement: 8%
  • Professional organization memberships: 8%
  • Community service/volunteer opportunities: 7%
  • Profit sharing/stock options: 7%
  • Opportunities to work from home/remotely: 6%
  • Cafeteria programs: 6%
  • Company gym/membership discount at a local gym: 5%
  • Generous/unlimited vacation time: 4%
  • Opportunities to travel: 4%

Interestingly, 18% of job seekers most value a flexible work situation, but only 9% of employers are offering that option. Twelve percent of employees want the ability to work from home but only 6% of companies allow for that. Thirteen percent of employees want unlimited vacation time, and just 4% of companies meet that need.

While it’s understandable that companies would prioritize benefits they can afford (such as a casual dress code and training), it might be worth considering other options. For instance, although working from home every day may not be an option for every business, allowing employees to work from home during special circumstances (illness, taking care of a sick child or parent, etc.) can go a long way in building employee job satisfaction. The ability to step away from the desk for an hour or so to attend a doctor’s appointment can similarly allow an employee to better focus on their work.

Alyssa Chumbley is vice president of Express Employment Professionals.

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