SHRM 2017 Employee Benefits Study: How does your benefits package stack up?

Stocked fridges, laundry service, unlimited vacation, free beer Fridays, pet-friendly offices. The list of employee benefits never seems to end. And as organizations get more creative and generous, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up in the benefits arms race.

Fortunately, you don’t have to ask thousands of organizations about their benefits offerings to find out how you stack up because the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) already did. Earlier this year, they asked U.S. employers about more than 300 employee benefits and compared the results to results from the past five years. Checking out the findings might inspire improvements to your organization’s benefits offerings that will help you stay competitive and keep employees happy.

“Nearly one-third of organizations increased their overall benefits offerings in the last 12 months…The top reason for increasing benefits was to remain competitive in the talent marketplace.” —SHRM 2017 Employee Benefits Study

Benefits help employees stay happy, healthy, and well-rested. But your organization likely can’t add benefits endlessly. Before you worry that this will put you at a recruiting disadvantage, audit what you already offer.

By emphasizing the gold nuggets buried in your benefits program, it’s possible to improve employees’ perception of your benefits without adding anything. For instance, many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), but they don’t necessarily communicate clearly what an EAP is and what it can do. Maybe you offer flexible hours or telecommuting, but because the terms are vague new employees don’t feel comfortable using that flexibility for the first 18 months they work for you. By communicating the details of underutilized or overlooked benefits more effectively, you’ll help employees get more value out of the benefits you already offer.

Improve the way you communicate about employee benefits!

Last year, benefits represented 32 percent of total compensation (wages and salaries plus benefits). —SHRM 2017 Employee Benefits Study

If you haven’t illustrated to employees how much their benefits are really worth, they might not understand their total compensation—32 percent of which, on average, is represented by benefits. Finding better ways to demonstrate the cash value of benefits could make employees feel like they received a 32 percent raise.

One great way to illustrate this value is through the Benefits tab in your BambooHR account. It’s an easy way to show employees the dollar amount or percentage your organization is paying for each of their benefits. Learn more about benefits tracking with BambooHR here.

The hottest new benefit? Standing desks. “This new benefit grew more than threefold from 13% in 2013 to 44% in 2017, adding 11 percentage points in the last year.” —SHRM 2017 Employee Benefits Study

SHRM found many benefit trends surrounding all-around wellness. Turns out, seemingly small perks like standing desks can make a big difference on both employee health and happiness. BambooHR’s office is actually part of the trend, as most of the desks in our new office space are standing desks.

If the standing desk revolution doesn’t inspire you or fit your office, that’s alright. There are many creative benefit options and ways to support employee wellness. Your task is to figure out what employees at your organization will value and find creative (and cost-effective) ways to fit those needs. Taking the time to find the right benefit will enhance your culture and competitiveness.

These are only a few of SHRM’s many benefits findings. To see all the results and methodology of SHRM’s 2017 Employee Benefits study, check out their full report.