Benefits & Comp 5 min

Creating an Employee Benefits Package That Will Attract and Retain Talent

November 15, 2018
Updated April 15, 2020

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 92% of employees say that benefits make up a big part of their overall job satisfaction. It’s a bit shocking, then, to think that about 23% of employees don’t receive any benefits at all from their jobs. While you don’t want to be the employer that doesn’t offer a benefits package, it can be just as important to consider the benefits you’re offering within that package. Not all benefits are created equal! 

Healthcare benefits remain at the top of the list when it comes to what employees really want, but there have been many other inclusions over the years that employers have missed the mark. We’ve all heard that things like free food and drinks and other in-office perks can help to attract fresh talent and retain employees. But, that may not be the case. Employees tend to value more personal benefits that allow them to achieve a greater work-life balance and pay attention to their health and wellbeing.

So, while free food, foosball tables, and fancy lounges might sound appealing, they’re not necessarily the benefits that will attract new talent and keep your current employees happy. Satisfied employees are 31% more productive than those who aren’t. And, since we’ve already established that benefits are an essential part of job satisfaction, you can make the connection as to how important having the right ones is!

Let’s look at some of the powerful perks your business should include in your benefits packaging, not only to attract your next generation of employees but to reduce turnaround and boost productivity in the workplace.

Benefits That Promote Health and Happiness

When you think about a standard benefits package, a health insurance plan probably comes to mind. Employers are required to offer health insurance, or they could face penalties under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But, you may want to consider going above and beyond basic healthcare insurance to focus more on the personal health, wellbeing, and happiness of your employees.

 Instead of focusing on things like food and games — things designed to keep employees in the office — shift your attention to benefits that give employees more time at home to focus on their values, their families, and their physical and mental health.

Flextime and remote work options are becoming hugely popular among employees. Remote work allows employees to:

  • Have a more flexible schedule
  • Work from anywhere
  • Spend more time with their families

 Remote work is also more than just a trend. Thanks to ever-changing advancements in technology, it’s becoming the norm for many workers across the country. Today, about 4.7 million American workers complete their jobs remotely. The kind of flexibility offered by remote working can contribute to an employee’s emotional and mental health, taking away some of the stress and pressure of a typical office environment. So, while some employers might worry that remote work will decrease productivity, one study suggests that employees who work from home are more productive than those who work in a traditional setting.

Promoting mental and physical health in the office is possible, too. Things like wellness contests at work can create “healthy” competition between employees and keep them motivated to stay active. Intramural lunches, walking meetings, and mental health days can also be a part of your package to show your employees how much you value their wellbeing. You can wrap all of these things up nicely by implementing a corporate wellness program that includes things like installing a gym within your business, hosting breathing or meditation classes, and even creating a designated ‘quiet room.’

Perks That Focus on the Family

In addition to their health, employees need to be able to focus on their families. That includes spending more time with them and having benefits that include family members as well.

 Perhaps the biggest draw for new talent and to retain your current employees is to have a robust family leave plan in place.

Obviously, this perk is going to carry more weight with employees who have kids or who are planning on it. But, with almost 4 million babies born in the U.S. each year, businesses need to step up to the plate and offer parental leave plans that allow new parents adequate time to bond with their baby, rest and recuperate, and not have to worry about money in the process. Unfortunately, only 40% of employers currently offer paid parental leave.

Businesses can look to major companies like Netflix and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to see that success can still be found by offering employees adequate parental leave. Both companies give their workers up to 52 weeks of paid maternity leave — that’s right, a full year. Even if your business isn’t able to afford that, having a package in place that takes care of new parents can be a huge benefit when you’re trying to attract new employees who might be younger and thinking about starting a family of their own.

 If your focus is to retain your existing employees, you might want to consider offering benefits that impact their families, too. Some of the family-friendliest perks to offer your employees include:

  • Educational assistance
  • On-site childcare
  • Additional funding to help with children’s extracurricular activities

Some companies across the globe make family perks a top priority. An employer like Edward Jones, for example, offers their employees family retreats and fun activities like tickets to baseball games, encouraging their employees to relax and enjoy their downtime.

Unique Benefits That Step Outside the Box

You’ve probably started to see a pattern here when it comes to the benefits package ideas we’ve already discussed. The reality is, traditional packages just don’t cut it anymore. So, even if you’re not sure where to get started when it comes to putting an attractive package together, you can still brainstorm some creative benefit ideas to offer to your employees at any time. Some unique ideas include:

  • Allowing employee dogs to come in on certain days
  • Massages
  • Reduced hours
  • Surprised trips
  • Chore help at home
  • Paid volunteer work
  • Unique time off

 If you’re not sure which unique benefits would interest your employees the most, why not ask them? Employee satisfaction surveys can give you a better idea of what your workers actually want and how they feel about the overall environment. Getting feedback from your employees can:

  • Help to boost morale
  • Open lines of communication
  • Encourage new and productive ideas for your business

Another way to get creative with your benefits package is to make sure you’re not overlooking the things employees really might want. Not sure what that means? Think of it this way; you’re only seeing your employees for a small amount of time each day. You only know what’s happening in that particular portion of their lives. Don’t overlook what might be happening when they get home.

About 20% of employees are dealing with some kind of significant personal issue at any given time. While they might try to hide it, problems at home can impact work performance and cause additional stress. Offering assistance programs that can focus on mental health or giving employees the support they need during trying times can be important when it comes to keeping the talent you have.

Packages That Focus On the Whole Person

To create an employee benefits package that is truly worthwhile, stop thinking of current and potential employees as just “workers.” Everyone wants acknowledgment for who they are and what they do, in the office and out. By focusing on your employees as people and taking an interest in their work-life balance, you can develop more benefits that genuinely mean something special to your employees.

The right benefits package will help to boost your own business. Happy employees are productive employees. They’ll also be less stressed, which results in better quality work, and more loyal to your business. A study performed in 2014 discovered that happiness in the workplace boosts productivity by 12%. Some companies have started to hire ‘Chief Happiness Officers’ to create fulfilling environments for employees at work.

Henry Stewart, founder and CHO of Happy, has discovered over the years that how his employees are feeling has a direct result on the success of his business.

Not only will focusing on happiness help to increase retention, but it can help with recruiting as well. A robust benefits package will also help you to attain top talent, and allow you to beat out your competitors when it comes to hiring the best employees within your industry.

Having benefits employees want will also help your business to stand out as a company that truly cares. You can be a trendsetter when it comes to offering unique benefits, which will only help you to gain more positive attention. 

So, don’t be afraid to ask your employees what they really want on top of doing your own research about the importance of looking at the bigger picture. As of 2018, 66% of employees in the U.S. believed they didn’t have an excellent work-life balance. As an employer, looking at that statistic and thinking about what you can do to change it for your employees can make a big difference in the appeal of your benefits package.

Guest Blogger