- Fully paid medical insurance topped the list of perks that workers said they don't have, but want, in a recent survey by industrial supply company Zoro. A four-day workweek and fully paid dental insurance followed.
- About 73% of the 1,003 workers surveyed said they have access to a bank of paid time off; those without such a benefit, however, weren't terribly interested in it — they said they'd want an unlimited plan instead.
- After a PTO bank, the most common benefits to which workers had access were a 401(k), free coffee and partially paid medical insurance. Workers were least likely to have nap breaks, unlimited PTO and a company car.
To attract and retain talent in an employee-driven labor market, employers have tried offering trendier perks, from free beer to nap rooms to pet-friendly premises. But research has shown that, as tantalizing as these perks might be, workers value more practical benefits that improve their lives, such as financial well-being programs and student-loan repayment assistance. A 2018 Randstad U.S. survey found that healthcare coverage was the most important employee benefit, followed by retirement savings programs.
Parsing out which benefits will keep workers on board is a complicated process; attempts at new benefits may be hit or miss, but a data-driven approach can help HR make the case for changes. The promise of more personalized benefits packages, which can take into account geography in addition to other characteristics, might also help improve the relevance of what employers offer.
Another pain point: Research shows workers often don't understand their benefits, especially when it comes to core offerings like healthcare. Workers have countered that while they appreciate benefits for areas like wellness, they aren't necessarily seeing those perks make a positive impact. Improving communication around benefits can help resolve some of the disconnect, but employers also must ensure that workers have the time to research and decide which offerings make the most sense. After all, hasty decisions can be costly for all involved.