Why employers can’t afford inadequate benefits

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What if employers had killer benefits — like free food and a fancy gym membership — but didn’t know about it?

That’s the finding of a new survey that says almost all employees, 94%, want their employers to ensure the benefits offering have a meaningful impact on their quality of life, such as paying off student debt and offering more flexible work arrangements, according to a survey conducted by HR services firm Randstad North America.

However, before employers attempt a benefits overhaul, they should focus on better education and communication about their existing benefits. Just under half of the survey’s 756 employees profiled report knowing all the perks their employers offer, and only 40% say their employers help them understand the benefits that are available.

Benefits are an even stronger incentive than salary when considering a job offer and an unattractive benefits package may drive candidates away. At least 66% of workers agree that a strong benefits and perks package is the largest determining factor when considering job offers, and 61% are willing to accept a lower salary if a company offered a better benefits package.

Roughly 42% of employees say they are considering leaving their current jobs because their benefits package are inadequate, while 55% have left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks elsewhere.

While considering a potential employer’s benefits, workers prioritize health insurance by 75%, followed by retirement funds or pension by 21%. Highly rated perks that workers want to see more of in the workplace include:

· Early Friday release
· Flexibility and remote working
· Onsite lifestyle amenities, such as gyms and dry cleaning
· In-office meal options, like communal snacks and food courts; and
· Onsite childcare

Age, income level and gender all play a role in the benefits that employees utilize. Forty-one percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 say their current employers do not offer student loan repayment benefits, but wish they did.

Workers aged 50 and older named health insurance as the top benefit they wish their employers offered, and nearly a third of respondents who earn more than $150,000 annually say bonuses are one of the most important perks when considering new employment.

More women than men want better parental leave policies and onsite childcare, while more men than women would like to see their employers offer life insurance.

Jim Link, chief human resources officer at Randstad North America, says with the rise of the agile workforce and flexible work arrangements, the lines between home and work are increasingly blurred.

“Although employees clearly express a desire for more freedom over where and how they work, when they are in the office, they take that time very seriously,” Link says. “That’s why onsite amenities that make the workplace as comfortable and convenient as possible are still so attractive.”

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