Employee Benefits – Extra Cost for Employers or Extra Motivation for Workers?

Colleagues sitting around a table and a table football, Employee Benefits: What they really want

Ever since Google became famous for extreme employee benefits, companies from around the globe are going above and beyond to step up their perks. From games and in-house gyms to unlimited vacations, employers and HR managers are trying hard to come up with the best benefits program. But what do employees really want?


Going Overboard

It seems like big companies in Silicon Valley have started a trend that has been going on for almost 2 decades now. In a competition of who can offer the greatest employee incentives, they’ve been going to extremes. Some of their quirky workplace perks include handcrafted three-course gourmet meals, massages, acupuncture, places to nap, health insurance for pets, unlimited vacations, and surfing during the workday. While, on the other hand, many average businesses don’t offer benefits packages.


Cover the Basics

While most workers wouldn’t say no to a free lunch, according to the 2014 Mercer survey, over-the-top perks aren’t the reason people show up to work. Employees provided with the basic essentials – fair pay, work-life balance, being heard and feeling respected – have high job satisfaction and will stick around, regardless of other benefits or lack of them.

Joe Lineberry, a senior vice president at a human resources consulting firm says: “Give employees the benefits they value, and they’ll be more satisfied, miss fewer workdays, be less likely to quit, have a higher commitment to meeting the company’s goals and be more productive.”


Cost Doesn’t Equal Value

How much an employee would value the benefit often doesn’t correlate with the cost a company would spend on it. According to Glassdoor’s 2015 Employment Confidence Survey, the type of benefits employees value most, include:

  • health insurance
  • vacation/paid time off
  • performance bonus
  • flexible schedule/remote work availability

Job benefits that don’t directly impact an individual’s lifestyle and finances were the least covered in the survey, such as in-office freebies like food and coffee. Company-sponsored gatherings like team-bonding activities were low on the list as well. 

To paraphrase the famous saying: Give a man lunch, and you feed him for a day. Give a man a bonus check for achieving goals so he can provide for his family, and you keep him for a lifetime.


Demographics Play a Part

A study done by Fractl reveals gender differences regarding certain incentives. Parents and women, in particular, would appreciate more paid parental leave, better work-life balance, childcare services, life insurance, retirement plan. The young workforce, males, in particular, values free gym memberships, entertainment rooms, team-bonding events, and free food.


Ask and It Shall Be Given

Companies fill job offers with long lists of benefits in the hope to impress top talents and appeal to a larger pool of job seekers. One certain way to find out what benefits workers really want is to simply ask them. As mentioned above, employees like their voice to be heard. Poll an anonymous survey and implement some of their ideas. That way, you know you’re spending your money on things your employees really value. Respecting their opinion will keep the morale high and employee turnover low.


It’s Not About the Money. Well, It Is…

At the end of the day, people are working a job for the money. No benefits package can compensate for a lack of wages. A smart thing to do is to diversify benefit offerings according to individual needs and based on how long the employee has been with the company. This will keep everyone happy and may lower your perks budget. If you are not sure how to come up with the best incentives package for your employees, the HR experts at Blue Lynx are here to help.