There has been some key research done in recent years around what are the best employee benefits and which benefits staff want the most.
Employee benefits are becoming more and more important all the time and so it’s becoming more and more important to get your employee benefits provision right.
This article will help you gain a vital insight into which benefits and perks your employees are likely to best respond to based on some of the key research done around employee benefits in recent years
Employee benefits are key to recruiting and retaining top talent
Before delving into research around specific benefits, here are 3 key statistics that show how important employee benefits are in employee recruitment and retention.
- 75% of employees reported they’re more likely to stay with their employer because of their benefit program (Willis Towers Watson)
- 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise (Harvard Business Review)
- 69% of employees report that they might choose one job over another if it offered better benefits (One Medical).
It can be difficult to directly attribute the success of your employee benefits to achieving your HR objectives and hitting your KPI’s.
Your retention rates have improved, and you’ve nailed recruitment for example, but how can you prove that your employee benefits made a key difference?
This is where statistics like these are crucial in making a case for employee benefits.
So, what are the best employee benefits according to employees?
Research on the best employee benefits for each generation
A study quoted by Metro that surveyed 2,000 employees found which are the best employee benefits according to different generations.
At different stages in their lives employees have different aspirations and priorities which is reflected in these findings.
This is an important thing to consider when reviewing or designing your employee benefits provision.
We’ve summarised the findings of the study into the infographic below.
Interestingly, Dental Care benefits are a top priority for 18- to 24-year-olds from a list of 25 different benefits mentioned.
Those under the age of 18, or those under 19 but still in full-time education are entitled to free dental care which may explain why dental care is a valued benefit for the younger age group.
Work-life balance and financial wellbeing are key themes
The other key themes of this study include a focus on flexible working and enhanced pension contributions, suggesting that work-life balance and financial wellbeing are key priorities for employees.
An employee benefit like the Holiday Trading scheme, where employees can buy extra annual leave from their employer, could be a great way to give employees more control over their work-life balance.
You could offer enhanced pension contributions, but think about what is the real reason and motivation for an employee in wanting enhanced pension contributions in the first place?
Financial security is the key motivation here. Employee benefits like Financial Planning, where employees have access to expert financial advice, and Workplace ISA’s, where employees can boost their savings, can help staff plan and save for the future.
Finances and health and wellbeing are key priorities for employees
By contrast to the research quoted by Metro, a study by Willis Towers Watson found that health and wellbeing was overwhelmingly a top priority when it came to employee benefits.
Their study of 2,000 employees found:
- 62% stated that a contributory pension scheme is one of their top five most valued benefits
- 43% included health insurance as one of their most highly valued employee benefits
- 40% stated the importance of life insurance as a benefit
- 35% referenced critical illness cover
- 32% stated health cash plans were a top priority
Financial wellbeing was clearly important for employees again in this study, particularly long-term financial security, but 4 of the top 5 benefits stated by employees were health and wellbeing related.
Giving employees peace of mind over their health and finances with employee benefits clearly has a lot of value.
When choosing your employee benefits, it’s worth keeping this in mind.
Employee benefits such as these may not be accessed often like employee discounts might be for example, but ‘peace of mind’ benefits are the backbone of any employee benefits provision and are key to attracting and retaining top talent.
Work-life balance benefits remains a key theme
One of the more comprehensive employee benefits studies conducted in recent years was a study done by Aviva of 2,000 employees and 500 businesses.
In a summary of their findings, they published the 10 employee benefits that employees wanted most based on the research.
There were a few key themes that could be picked out that show similarities with other research in employee benefits.
The importance of work-life balance benefits
The most popular benefit with employees was 22-35 days of paid annual leave, with flexible working hours third and unlimited leave or the option to buy annual leave the eighth most popular benefit.
Again, more options to improve work-life balance appears a key priority for employees when it comes to employee benefits.
Flexible hours, extra day’s annual leave for additional years of service and the Holiday Trading scheme could all be great employee benefits to introduce based on this research.
Health and peace of mind for employees
Critical Illness Cover (fourth), Health and/or Life Insurance (seventh), and Eyecare and Dental (tenth) all feature as some of the most popular employee benefits according to employees.
Reassurance and peace of mind over their health is shown as a key priority in much of the research around employee benefits.
This is particularly true in the case of Eyecare Vouchers as we spend more time in front of screens as a result of remote working.
Long-term financial security
The second most popular benefit in Aviva’s study was the company pension scheme.
The need for long-term financial security is a key theme across much of the research around employee benefits.
Again, it’s important to consider not just the benefit itself but why the employee benefit is so sought after.
Meeting the true needs of employees should be a key goal for any employee benefits provision.
How to use these findings to build the best employee benefits provision
While each study may have different methods, differing demographics and participants from different businesses, the research does help provide an overall picture of what are the best employee benefits according to employees.
Our advice is to pick out the key themes rather than the individual benefits.
Consider the employee benefits that each of these studies have found to be most popular, however, also consider how each benefit helps meet specific needs of employees.
What are those specific needs? And how could other, newer employee benefits employees may not have heard of be introduced to meet those needs too?
Identifying the needs of your own employees through surveys and combining primary research with secondary research such as the findings mentioned in this article is key to building a picture of what the best employee benefits provision could look like for your business.
Doing so will help attract and retain a talented team of employees that will help you achieve your HR objectives and hit your KPI’s.