The top perks and benefits employees prefer over pay raises

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Benefits and work perks can be a key deciding factor for potential employees who are choosing their next workplace. Unique incentives can help attract strong talent, maintain employee morale, and improve overall satisfaction with the organization.

Recently, Staples.com surveyed 1,549 employees across the U.S. about their preferences for work perks. Respondents weighed in on how various employee perks affected their motivation,, their preferences for more perks against a higher salary, and which perks are least likely to keep them with their current employer.

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More than half of the employees surveyed said better incentives and perks improve employee morale, while 49.8% of respondents say a salary increase is the better motivator. Indeed, 62.3% of the employees surveyed said they would accept a lower salary in exchange for better workplace perks, while 37.7% said they prefer the higher pay.

The Staples survey identified four categories of perks:

Perks that do little to motivate, perks that are nice to have, perks that are must-haves and perks that are so motivating that they would convince the employee to stay if they were considering moving on from the workplace.

Perks and incentives most likely to convince exiting employees to stay
Regular remote work: 17%

Employee discounts: 11.9%

Flexible hours: 9.2%

Paid insurance premiums: 9%

Streaming subscriptions: 7.8%

Financial assistance with professional certifications: 7.6%
Perks and incentives employees consider “must haves”
Flexible hours: 40.2%

Paid insurance premiums: 33.6%

Paid family leave: 29.2%

Regular remote work: 26.4%

Financial assistance with professional certifications: 26.3%
Perks and incentives employees consider “nice to have” but not essential
Employee discounts: 42.7%

Free coffee and snacks: 42.3%

Streaming subscriptions: 42.2%

Gym membership reimbursement: 35.1%

Onsite fitness classes: 30.3%

Company car, laptop, or phone: 30.2%
Perks and incentives that motivate employees the least
Free e-readers and e-books: 37.1%

Time off to volunteer: 26.3%

Onsite daycare: 25.9%

Daycare reimbursement: 25.3%

Onsite fitness classes: 21.7

Student loan paydowns: 20.7%
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