Although pay compensation remains the top employee benefit, more organizations are adding a variety of new benefit options to attract top employees
Employee benefits such as pay, health insurance, dental coverage, vision plans and retirement plans are all very important to employees, but the most coveted extra benefits are the ones that will allow employees time away from the workplace. The most desired extra perks that employees like to see available are the ones that will give them flexible work options which include perks such as paid family leave,flexible/remote work options and professional development. Employees also like to see benefits that help them with home and family issues such as childcare, health and wellness.
Work Benefits That Are Most Popular with Employees:
Pay compensation remains the top reason that employees go to work however, the wide range of other employee perks and benefits that are available to employees is on the increase and employees are keen to make the most of them.
The Affordable Care Act of 2018 dictates that organizations with over 50 full time employees must offer health insurance for at least 95% of their full time employees. Failure to do this will mean the employer will be forced to pay a penalty to the IRS. Providing some sort of medical coverage is beneficial to the employer and employee as good health leads to good productivity and an improvement in employee morale.
Paid vacation time is not required by law but most employers will allow employees to accumulate a set number of paid vacation days over the course of the year. The amount of days the employee is entitled to, ranges between 10 and 19 days on average. In some organizations the number of paid vacation days increase with the amount of time an employee has been working with the company.
Paid Family Time Off
There are a number of reasons why an employee would need an extended period of time away from their job. Events such as child birth, serious illness of a family member, adoption or fostering a child are all times when an employee will need to be away from work. Family leave allows the employer to offer the employee paid, partially paid or unpaid time to care for their families knowing they will still have a job to return to.
Many employees are looking for employers that will help offset the cost of childcare and provide childcare at the workplace. This can be done by helping employees with costs of childcare or providing onsite childcare at a reduced rate. Taking this burden away from the employee is beneficial to the employer as it will help organizations attract and retain talent, improve productivity and encourage employee engagement.
On Site Doctor
Some organizations have started to provide their employees with onsite doctors or doctors who make frequent house calls to the office. This allows employees quick access to their professional services, saving both the employees and the employer time and money. Employees can take a short time out of the office to visit the doctor at their workplace, rather than having to take half or even the whole day off work. An added benefit is that workers are often healthier because they see the doctor more often when the medical service is provided on-site.
Free Legal Services
Some organizations provide legal services as part of their employee benefits package, this is one of the fastest growing voluntary perks that employers can offer and even some smaller companies are starting to add this to their employee packages too. Legal benefit services can help the employee with legal matters such as creating a will, traffic violations, family law issues, buying a home and divorce. Most organizations use an out-of-house attorney as using an in-house service may contribute to a conflict of interest that may make employees feel uncomfortable.
Flexible or Remote Work Options
Allowing employees flexible or remote work options is important to most employees, especially those with younger children. Knowing that they have the flexibility to work from home when children are sick or have a child specific appointment is a great employee benefit. Employees can also use the flexible days listed above when they have appointments of their own.
Some employers will encourage employees to attend courses to continue their professional development during work time or even onsite. This is another valuable benefit for both the employer and the employee, by keeping the employees up to date in their professional fields employers will also benefit. The downside of this is that employees get a new certification and then can leave or demand more money.
Having an onsite gym or reduced gym membership allows employees to use their lunch time, or time before work, to work out and relieve stress while keeping themselves healthy. Regularly attending a gym can help improve sleep, lower stress and help employees maintain a healthy lifestyle, so offering gym memberships can help both employees and employers.
Nap rooms and sleep pods are becoming more popular as organizations review the types of employee benefits that they offer. Many large organizations such as Google and Cisco have dedicated nap rooms with cosy nap pods that employees can use to take a short nap in. The employees can get refreshed with a quick 30 minute snooze, so that they can continue to work afterwards at a higher level of productivity. Studies indicate that employees work longer when they take nap breaks.
Some organizations offer their employees onsite cafeterias where they can get reduced price, or sometimes even free meals. Having onsite food available can reduce the amount of time that employees will spend away from their desk as they will no longer need to leave the site to get food or snacks. The onsite cafeteria can also provide employees a space away from their desk to take a packed lunch or to just get a change of scenery. Giving them a short break away from their desk so that they can return to work refreshed appears to be a popular demand from employees.
Bringing Pets to Work
Having pets around has been shown to reduce stress at work. It helps people to stop and take a break from whatever they are doing. Many studies have shown that pets have a calming effect and can help relieve both stress and reduce high blood pressure. Having pets in the workplace can also be a social support for some employees who would otherwise find it difficult to interact with coworkers, namely anyone on the autism spectrum or with anxiety. With all the benefits aside, before actually allowing pets into the office employers need to be aware of any allergies that the other employees may be suffering from, as allowing pets into the office could be detrimental to some employees' health.