The Most Wanted Employee Benefits

Recent Survey Reveals the Most Coveted Employee Benefits

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Employees are looking for more than just a paycheck these days when considering staying with a current employer or looking for something better. It appears that employee benefits are weighing heavily on this decision. A new, more informed breed of employees wants compensation that helps them stay healthy and care for dependents like never before. 

Recent Study Reveals Employee Benefit Requests and Trends

For employers hoping to attract the best new college grads or the top tier candidates on the market, you will want to pay particular attention to this article because we will discuss the top 10 most wanted employee benefits based on current research. 

According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Colonial Life joint study conducted recently, these are the employee benefits that a vast majority of career seekers are demanding from hiring companies in 2014 and beyond. Their findings are not surprising, given the drive towards a more balanced work life as a foremost value in the workplace now. Here's a run-down of the top employee benefits requested.

#1 Health Care and Personal Welfare

The above survey found that companies have increasingly offered employees vision, contraceptive, mental health, bariatric and laser vision surgery over the past five years. Over the same period, companies are decreasing in the amount of retired health care coverage and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) offered to former employees. This means more employees are seeking employee benefits to cover their busier-than-ever lifestyles.  

#2 Preventive Health and Wellness Benefits 

Companies have begun to decrease their health care expenses by offering more in the way of preventive health and wellness programs for employees. These programs include health care premium discounts for not using tobacco products, for receiving an annual health risk assessment, and discounts for taking part in a wellness program. Companies have also begun offering bonuses or non-cash incentives to those who meet their wellness goals. 

#3 Retirement and Savings Planning 

Employees of all ages are looking for retirement savings and planning benefits from their employers more so now than ever before. Employees are becoming more responsible for their savings and as a result employers are pulling back on the amount of defined contribution savings plans, hardship withdrawals, and plan loans over the past five years. This is essentially putting retirement planning and personal savings back on the map as a core value in the workplace. 

#4  Leave Benefits

An incredibly important benefit that employees are seeking these days is that of the leave benefit. From 2010 to 2014, there has been an 11 percent increase in the number of companies offering employees paid time off benefit plans, according to the SHRM and Colonial Life survey. Despite this, the number of companies offering paid personal time off payment has dropped somewhat. It will be interesting to see how this affects workplace productivity and if the option to work from home is making an impact on the number of days taken off for personal needs.


#5  Flexible Schedules

Employees want to have a lot more flexibility in their work schedule. Unlike previous generations of workers, younger employees do not want work to rule their lives. Instead, they still want to have a social and family life outside of work. Flexible schedule benefits that are most in demand include flex days, work-at-home options and flexible shifts. This helps more people get the most out of their workdays while maintaining adequate work-life balance. 

#6  Career Development

The study reveals that workplace-sponsored career development is becoming a benefit that is somewhat decreasing at companies, due to lack of demand from employees. Even though some companies are worried about a lack of skilled workers, not all are showing the same concern. Some employees still want to be offered career development benefits, which include taking classes on the company’s dime and being paid to attend training courses. It has been suggested that open courses and eLearning have given some employees the chance to learn just what they need to be successful on the job.


#7 Business Travel Perks

Travel is still an important aspect of the work world today, which is why employees look for business travel benefits when applying for new opportunities. Employees want discounts and they want to be reimbursed for booking hotel rooms, taxi rides, airfare and much more while away from the office. Job applicants look for companies willing to pay for their travel during interviews or for training. This also includes having access to company-paid cell phones while on the road.

#8  Relocation Benefits

This benefit category decreased from 2010 to 2014, as found by the survey conducted by SHRM and Colonial Life. The percentage of employers offering spouse relocation assistance and temporary relocation benefits dropped somewhat. Not many employees are willing to switch their residence for a new job, or even to remain with a company that has decided to move its headquarters or offices to a new location. Relocation benefits are highly prized by employees who are willing to make a residence change as a result of a job offer.

#9 Compensation Bonuses

Companies have exhibited a sizable decrease in compensation benefits offered employees from 2010 to 2014. These benefits include 529 savings plans, incentive bonus plans for executives, dependent care flexible spending accounts and undergraduate educational assistance. Any cash benefits that a company can offer, outside of a salary, are an attractive tool that can be used in recruitment of top-level candidates. 

#10 Employee-Focused Community Programs

Companies may be offering employees fewer community programs these days, but they are still highly coveted amongst a younger, and more social workforce. These are community programs that often include company-sponsored sports teams, executive club membership, travel planning services, postal/shipping services, onsite dry cleaning, daycare, social clubs, and other options that help employees settle into to their communities. 

It will be interesting to see what the next few years will bring in terms of the types of employee benefits that grow in demand and what will go by the wayside. The above survey sheds light on certain changes in the values and needs of the newest generation of talent. 

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