Every forty years there’s a new benefits evolution, with what matters most to employees changing as culture and lifestyles change.
For instance, in the 40s, the call was for employer-backed health insurance. Then, in the 80s, the desire for the tax-advantaged 401K began to take center stage. Now, forty years later, the benefits landscape is on the cusp of a completely new evolution.
Today’s workforce is comprised of multiple generations who all want different things. As a result of this multigenerational, multicultural and incredibly diverse workforce, the call for custom, diverse benefits has become the newest evolution.
Understanding the Custom Benefits Movement
This custom benefits movement suggests that every person deserves to have benefits that actually support their life now.
80% of employees would choose more benefits over a salary increase. However, when people say they would choose more benefits over salary, they aren’t talking about benefits they can only use if they’re sick or injured. They’re looking for immediate gratification with benefits that genuinely improve their quality of life. People want benefits that enhance their life experience.
Both morally and pragmatically, this move makes sense for employers. Why invest in a benefit that only 10% of the employees can use when there’s the option to offer them benefits that support all members of your team?
Customization is what today’s employees want the most, and Fringe’s lifestyle benefits platform allows companies to do just that.
However, many companies still want to know what individual benefits are most important to employees. After all, the perfect benefits package is a mixture of traditional and lifestyle benefits.
Here are seven of the top traditional benefits and seven of the top lifestyle benefits employees want to see offered in their custom benefits package.
7 Top Conventional Benefits
These traditional benefits are some of the most commonly offered benefits that cover more basic needs. These benefits are sometimes referred to as “necessary benefits” because if an employer doesn’t provide them for their employees, they will need to purchase them on their own.
1. Health Insurance
Health insurance is the most common benefit offered by companies, and it’s one that’s essential to many employees. There are very few affordable private insurance options, so employer-sponsored coverage offers peace of mind to employees that they and their families will be taken care of in the case of illness or injury.
2. Life Insurance
No one enjoys addressing their own mortality; however, this benefit is a practical benefit for future-planning, family-focused employees who want the solace of knowing their loved ones are protected and cared for no matter what the future holds.
3. Dental Insurance
Dental care isn’t cheap, so many people appreciate having dental insurance as an employer benefit. In fact, 70% of employees say that if a company doesn’t offer dental coverage, they will not take the job.
4. Paid Time Off
Paid time off is an incredibly valuable benefit for employees and an essential means for companies to combat burnout. Whether it’s used for vacation, personal time, bereavement leave or sick leave, PTO is a way for companies to show their people they care about a healthy work-life balance. Between ten days and two weeks is a relatively standard PTO offering, so people feel especially valued when their companies offer more than that.
5. Retirement Savings
Like many other conventional benefits, retirement savings and planning offer peace of mind. There are several different retirement offerings ranging from tax-advantaged 401(k) plans to pensions.
6. Stock Options
Stock options or equity help give employees a sense of ownership and stake in the company’s success. It’s a terrific benefit option that leads to more engaged employees that benefit when the company wins. Stock options help create a shared purpose between leaders and employees to develop a collaborative culture where everyone works and wins together.
Monetary bonuses are still one of the top traditional benefits. While they aren’t a necessary benefit per se, they are a way to increase employee’s financial well-being. Whether they’re performance-based, annual or incremental, there’s no denying that people appreciate extra financial bonuses as a benefit. Research shows they increase engagement and job satisfaction, too.
7 Top Fringe Benefits
These benefits tend to be the real difference-makers for people. Fringe benefits are sometimes also referred to as “ancillary benefits” or “lifestyle benefits.” These benefits go beyond must-have necessities and generally improve an employee’s mental, emotional, financial or physical well-being in an impactful way.
These are the top benefits that can improve a person’s life experience in a meaningful way.
1. Flexible Work Options
Flexible work arrangements are a huge draw, especially for younger workers and people with children at home. Flexible work options include everything from flexible working hours to the ability to work from home. This flexibility on “when” and “where” people can work increases engagement and happiness.
As more people are working remotely these days, many more employees are really thinking about how flexibility and remote work affects their overall life enjoyment. Many are finding flexible work arrangements to be much more emotionally fulfilling than the previous set-ups, making this lifestyle benefit an extremely popular one.
2. Paid Parental Leave
Many career-motivated people feel like they must choose between a rich family life or a rewarding career. As a result, many talented employees decide to wait to have children and often sacrifice fertility to do so. In response, many companies offer paid parental leave (for both mothers and fathers) to send a clear signal that their people don’t have to choose between family and work, which can be an invaluable benefit for those who want both.
The most innovative companies offer fertility treatment coverage, extended parental leave and complimentary egg freezing to further illustrate to their employees that they aren’t expected to sacrifice family.
3. Employee Discounts
Employee discounts run the gamut. Sometimes they’re literal discounts on the company’s products or services. Other times, they’re discounts the employees get from outside partner companies as a perk of working for their company. Either way, people value discounts on items and services that improve their quality of life.
4. Office Additions
Office additions are all about making the office a more enjoyable place to be. Office additions can include snacks, meals, ping pong tables, on-site gyms, comfortable workspaces, on-site personal care and more. People spend a substantial amount of their lives devoted to their jobs, and office additions help make that time more gratifying.
(It’s important to note that office additions are harder to offer in a custom plan, and they’re rarely right for every employee. For instance, Baby Boomers might not enjoy a ping pong table and remote employees may feel left out or less valued than in-office employees. Office additions are often touted as the gold standard in benefits. However, unless they’re customized or a company has a less diverse team, they don’t usually cater to the entire office or provide value to everyone.)
5. Event Tickets
Event tickets are one method employers use to add joy to their employees’ life outside of work. It’s a way to encourage employees to experience the fun in life. Event tickets can be for sporting events, concerts and plays. Sometimes companies also purchase tickets for local attractions or will comp travel expenses as well.
6. Professional and Personal Development
Professional and personal development benefits are gaining steam as a fringe benefit. These benefits include tuition reimbursement, workshops and seminars, and mentorship programs, all of which allow employees to develop themselves as people and professionals with their employer’s help.
7. Caretaker Benefits
Both parents work in most households in the U.S. As a result, childcare is a must-have for many employees. Childcare costs are expensive, though, so many companies now offer childcare stipends or on-site childcare to their employees.
However, caretaking doesn’t just relate to children, as many professionals now take care of their aging parents as well. Many employers are working to ease this burden with more flexible family leave time and extra financial and professional support.
Personalizing Employee Benefits
Comprehensive benefits offerings improve recruitment, retention, motivation, employee happiness and company culture. They’re also a surefire avenue to improve the health and well-being of the people who keep companies moving.
However, it’s impossible to find benefits that fit every person’s needs, which is why customized benefits are making a statement in the benefits industry. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the number one benefit trend of the new decade is personalized benefits packages.
Today’s workforce is diverse and multigenerational, and their needs vary dramatically depending on their stage in life. The most important benefit for one employee is not necessarily the most important benefit for another.
Customized benefits programs allow people to choose the benefits that add the most value to their lives. If you’re interested in offering personalized benefits to your employees, contact our team to schedule a free demo today!