As growth slows and inflation eats into profits, companies take action. Aside from obvious measures like layoffs and hiring freezes, some companies are also cutting employee benefits. For example, according to SHRM’s 2022 Employee Benefits Survey, the percentage of companies offering paid maternity leave (other than those required by law) fell from 53% in 2020 to 35%. But is that the best strategy? With record numbers of people quitting and telecommuting becoming more prevalent, workers have more choices than ever before. Because of this, companies must offer competitive benefits to attract and retain the best candidates.
Recently, global human resources and payroll company Remote surveyed 10,000 full-time employees in the US and Europe to better understand which employee benefits they value most. Here’s a look at the top ten:
1. Flexible working hours
Unsurprisingly, flexible working hours are the number one desire of teleworkers. In fact, according to a Future Forum survey, 95% of respondents value flexible working hours more than telecommuting. And in a report by Adobe, 84% of company employees would like at least some flexibility, versus just 16% who said they prefer a fixed schedule.
2. Company-sponsored retirement plan or annuity
Retirement plans help attract and retain employees. Another attractive perk is the offer of retirement planning assistance from financial experts. In Morgan Stanley at Work’s second annual State of the Workplace Financial Benefits study, 93% of employees consider retirement support a priority when choosing a job. With inflation and economic uncertainty, it’s no surprise that workers are more aware of their financial health.
3. Get an early start on Friday
The concept of allowing employees to leave early on Friday is not new. In fact, this benefit is often extended during the summer (known as “Summer Fridays”), with more than half of North American companies offering it, according to Gartner. These perks allow companies to gain a competitive edge when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.
4. Four-day work week
A 2022 Qualtrics survey found that 92% of respondents prefer a four-day week. Additionally, 72% said they would prefer a four-day workweek, even if it meant working longer hours on the days they worked. Even more interesting, the UK’s largest multinational experiment with a four-day workweek is almost complete. According to Claire Daniels, CEO of Trio Media, one of the 70 companies participating in the pilot, “The four-day weekly test has been extremely successful for us so far,” she said. “Productivity has remained high, with an increase in well-being for the team, along with a 44% better financial performance for our company.”
5. Family Health Insurance
With an open enrollment season underway in the US, health insurance is a top priority. Not only can family health insurance be a valuable recruiting tool, but it can also increase employee retention and improve employee satisfaction.
6. Private health insurance
Private health insurance is insurance provided by a private company and not by the government. While many countries have universal healthcare systems, private health insurance can still provide benefits in terms of reduced waiting times or access to specialized facilities.
7. Reimbursement of Medical Expenses
Health care reimbursements, sometimes referred to as health care accounts, are group health insurance plans that reimburse employees tax-free for eligible medical expenses up to a fixed annual dollar amount. Unused funds can be carried over for use in subsequent years.
8. Paid mental health self-care days or time off
The pandemic has put mental health and burnout in the spotlight. As a result, nearly 23% of workers say their employer has introduced new mental health services, according to a recent Harris Poll. And over a third of employees say their companies have always offered some type of mental health support.
9. Miscarriage Leave
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 10% to 20% of known pregnancies result in miscarriage. Although relatively common, no national law in the United States provides specific protections for people dealing with this traumatic physical and emotional experience. Rather than refer to these laws as a “perk” or “perk,” miscarriage leave should be considered a must for women in the workforce.
10. Private dental insurance
Dental benefits are not only good for the employee but also for the employer. Without regular dental care, the likelihood of developing significant health problems increases significantly. As a result, employees are more likely to miss work, resulting in lost productivity. In fact, one report revealed that in the United States, an average of 320 million hours of work or school are lost each year on dental work, of which 92 million are for emergencies.
An obvious course of action in an economic downturn is to cut costs. But while cutting employee benefits can bring short-term financial benefits, it can lead to negative long-term outcomes such as lower morale, an unmotivated workforce, and higher turnover. Is this really a smart move given that the global talent shortage could surpass 85 million people by 2030, resulting in a trillion-dollar loss of economic opportunity for companies? Probably not.