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14 of the Most Important Benefits to Employees

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP


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.

7. Bonuses

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!

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