The best employee benefits are the ones employees value the most. Here’s a list of a dozen benefits that will boost employee satisfaction.
The benefits that each company offers are unique. And over the years, the benefits that employees value the most have changed. The employee benefits that we are seeing now look far different from those we saw in the 1990s and 2000s. And the most coveted benefits will likely continue to evolve as we move forward.
Here’s a way to determine the best employee benefits for your specific company culture. Take a look at what other large and small business owners are doing. Unfortunately, there isn’t one entity or survey that offers exacting metrics for benefits. However, there are ways to look at smaller surveys and to coalesce insights, so that’s what we’ve done.
We combed through Forbes Advisor along with several other surveys and articles to research this topic. Based on everything we’ve seen, here are 12 of the most popular employee benefits package perks employees seek.
1. Physical health wellness benefits and programs
Many companies are supporting the physical health of their employees and are establishing wellness programs to promote healthy employees. However, this benefit has been looking a bit different in recent years. It goes beyond just paid vacation time. Employers are covering things like gym memberships. Many are now offering stipends for in-home gyms as a part of their companies’ wellness programs. Your company’s wellness program can promote strong work-life balance.
2. Mental health programs
Great job benefits almost always include strong mental health support. It won’t likely surprise anyone in a post-pandemic world that roughly half of employers are investing in mental health benefits. Some offer expanded health benefits that now include mental health services. Some offer access to mental health apps. Employers are adding mental health services to their benefits packages. Consider the stress and strain that the pandemic brought to workers. In many ways, mental health investments pay for themselves — in the form of happy and healthy employees.
3. Employee engagement efforts
Many teams are distributed these days, so getting the gang together to laugh and make memories isn’t as easy as it used to be. This doesn’t mean that businesses should stop trying to bring camaraderie and bonding into the workplace. While perhaps not as powerful as in-person events, Zoom socials (like happy hours or game nights) can be effective ways for distant employees to establish bonds.
Employee engagement can also take the form of employee recognition programs, employee-led education programs, or volunteer or civic opportunities. The key is to find meaningful ways to keep your employees happy and engaged. Remind them that they are the critical elements to your business’s success!
4. Childcare assistance
Daycare is often a big challenge for working parents. It can be tough to find safe in-home options that don’t break the bank. Figuring out the childcare center puzzle, and getting on a wait list, can be a hurdle for working parents. That’s why many companies are offering childcare-related benefits as a job perk these days.
Some employers offer stipends to cover the costs of a nanny share. Some offer on-site childcare or better-paid parental leave. Get creative about the ways that your benefits suite can support the parents on your team.
5. Flexible scheduling
If you don’t have the budget to cover childcare costs, flexible scheduling is the next best offer. Allow later start times, earlier leaving times, flexible hours, and the option of working from home. The more flexible you can be with a workday, the better.
And it’s not just working parents who can benefit. Everyone has a life outside of work. The easier it is to lead it, the better the employee’s work life can be.
6. Option to continue working remotely
Going forward, companies are likely to continue to hire remote workers. It helps with flexible scheduling. It also makes the most of the investments you’ve made in remote work over the last several years. That investment can earn your company a better ROI. It’s a win-win. You’re encouraging a healthy work-life balance for your team members, in person or as remote employees.
7. Pet insurance
Employees expect quality health insurance for themselves. But there’s no getting around it—lots of your employees own pets. Fluffy and Fido are mainstays in their lives as a major part of their families.
But just like any other family member, pets can get sick. Without pet health insurance, medical expenses can quickly stretch into the four- or even five-figure range. Consider how much more affordable pet insurance is than human healthcare coverage. This can be an appealing perk that will mean a lot to the pet parents in your workforce.
8. Flexible PTO
Just like flexibility around scheduling, flexibility in terms of paid time off has also become a popular benefit. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays, and not everyone will require the same number of paid sick days as others.
That’s why flexible PTO can be a big win. It gives everyone a set number of days or hours or paid time off to spend as they choose, whether to chaperone their child’s field trip or to simply take vacation time. Employees can also choose to be off on traditional holidays or on their birthdays. Or they can just take a mental health day when they need it.
Plus, it makes sense. Who better to decide what kind of time off they need than the employees themselves?
9. Financial wellness programs
Many people’s financial situations are quite tenuous. Financial literacy can be hard to come by on one’s own. But sharing that kind of knowledge can be one of the easiest and best job benefits to offer.
You’re likely already working with accountants, financial advisors, and financial institutions, right? Why not look into what perks they can offer your employees?
Say you’re a company that offers stock options and other more complex types of compensation. You might want to consider financial wellness benefits. Ensure that your employees have the resources they need to take steps toward financial health.
10. Professional and personal development opportunities
For years, surveys have consistently indicated that employees want personal and professional development opportunities. These are terrific employee perks to integrate into your benefits package. Lunch and learn programs, workshops, online learning, and tuition reimbursement are some of the benefits that your employees will appreciate. Professional development programs are a solid tool to creating stronger employees, as well.
11. Tangible (money) benefit options
Many employees like intangible and creative perks, but others still have a preference for benefits that are financial in nature. Benefits can include pay raises, performance bonuses, or better retirement savings options. Larger contributions to health savings accounts, employee discounts, and help with student loan debt are also welcome. Essentially, anything that helps ease an employee’s financial burden is a welcome addition to an employee benefits package.
12. Personalized benefits options
Attempting to meet the needs of all employees through one standard benefit offering can be nearly impossible. This is why some employers are turning to personalized benefits instead. There are different ways to approach this.
You can give employees a set stipend for them to allocate as they wish. Or you can give them options like choosing childcare benefits or pet insurance perks. They can develop their own great benefits package. As intangible benefits, consider ways to improve employee morale or their quality of life. Hold employee recognition lunches, offer healthy snacks, or renovate work areas. Improve lighting, or cater meals on Fridays. Offerings like these pay dividends in employee satisfaction and strengthen your employee’s sense of your company values.
In this way, you can maximize your company benefits. You’ll work with each employee to give them what they consider to be the best benefits. Naturally, this takes more time (and often some creativity), but the payoffs can be huge in terms of employee happiness.
Finding the Best Employee Benefits
Companies like yours would be wise to follow current trends in benefits. When you implement some of these benefits, you can provide better employee satisfaction, boost employee morale, and lower employee turnover. If you think about it, there are many different ways to reward employees. And happy employees make productive employees!