The Top 5 Benefits Employees Want

Employee benefits can be even more important than salary amount when it comes to attracting employees to (and keeping them at) your company.

If you want a happy, healthy, and productive workforce, it's best to take a look at what your future employees actually want. Below you'll find the five most commonly requested, valued, and desired benefits by employees across the United States.

1. Health Care

A 2012 MetLife study on employee benefits found that 61% of employees who enjoyed their job did so in part because of health benefits. When it comes to health insurance, employees want an employer who cares about their health and well-being, and who shows that care by providing helpful health coverage.

Although the health care system in the US has gone through recent changes, offering employee health plans will always attract employees and keep them interested in your company. Even if health costs rise, you should continue to offer health care so your company benefit package stays valuable and relevant.

2. Retirement and Savings Plans

Whether they have a 401K, pension, or some other form of retirement plan, people want to know that their financial future is secure. Company-offered retirement savings can help employees feel reassured about their futures.

Although the government offers Social Security as part of employee retirement, most Americans want to know that they can rely on their own source of retirement savings. In addition to helping employees feel secure, company retirement plans offer employees valuable tax benefits and show an interest in their employees' future and well-being.

3. Life Insurance

Employees appreciate it when their company takes an interest in things other than their work productivity. By offering term or other types of life insurance, you're sending a message that each employee and their loved ones matter to your company.

Likewise, people work better and are less stressed when they know that their loved ones will be taken care of should tragedy occur. Plus, it's a good idea to offer your employees an easy way to access something they have to purchase anyway.

4. Flexibility

Depending on your company, "flexibility" could refer to several different things, including the ability to telecommute to work, the right to paid vacation days, or even the freedom to take time off work at all. No matter what you call it, employees love knowing that they can take some time off without suffering financially for it.

Whether your employees need time off for vacation, holidays, dental appointments, or illness, they'll view you in a positive light when it's offered guilt-free. In addition, employees who receive time off typically come back refreshed and more motivated to work.

Similarly, telecommuting or working from home is becoming more of the norm in our modern world. In fact, 40% of surveyed employees rated the ability to work from home as their most desired employee benefit. With tax breaks and savings on transportation and childcare, it's well worth offering telecommuting to employees to cultivate both loyalty and job satisfaction.

5. Health and Wellness Programs

Employees care about company culture, and offering a wellness program positively influences any company culture. When you promote a culture of health, your workers will feel cared for and motivated to improve their lives.

What's more, a healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and wellness programs make a difference in employees' health. When people receive daily encouragement to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly, they're better equipped to make healthy lifestyle changes. Offer a gym

membership, exercise classes, and stress management techniques to keep your employees healthy and happy.

Although other benefits such as child care subsidies and dental insurance appeal to some, the above five benefit types appeal to the greatest number of people in the US. When it comes to choosing benefits that please the majority of your company workforce, stick with these solid options.

Factors to Consider When Searching for Professional Benefits Packages

To make your company attractive to prospective talent, you have to create an open, innovative, and enjoyable environment. You have to host fun events like company parties. You have to make your workplace a pleasant space to spend one's day. You also have to offer the best professional benefits package you can afford.

Benefits packages can mean the difference between snagging a prime employee and losing that person to another job opportunity. But how do you know which benefits you have to include and which you can skimp on? The basic rule is that you should offer as many benefits as you can afford without damaging your company's growth, but we've given you more in-depth tips below.

What Kind of Healthcare Plan Should You Choose?

You might think of health insurance as simple-it just covers medical expenses, right? However, different kinds of health insurance provide coverage in different ways. You just have to decide which way (or which two or three ways) works best for your employees. Your options include:

  • High-deductible plans: These plans suit new companies who plan to hire young employees with relatively few health problems. These plans work well with such companies because they feature low monthly premiums paired with a high annual deductible. Since most employees don't have severe health problems, they don't have to worry about that deductible. They just get to enjoy the monthly premium.
  • Preferred provider organizations: Maybe your employees need more flexibility when it comes to hospitals, doctors, and specialists. These plans allow employees to see a much wider range of healthcare professionals than other plans. A PPO even allows employees to see specialists outside the approved network where necessary. This kind of plan does cost the most, though.
  • Health maintenance organizations: Under this plan, your employees choose their physicians from an approved list. Since you restrict your employees' doctor and hospital choices to an approved network, you help your company and your workers save money. Your employees will simply pay a co-pay with each visit, and their insurance takes care of the rest.
  • Point of service plans: If you want to give your employees a balance between PPO and HMO, these plans give you a solution. Your employees still have to choose a network doctor, but that doctor can refer them to specialists on or off the approved list.

Depending on the insurance company you work with, you may have even more options to choose from. Consider your employees' demographics before you make the choice. What age are they? How likely are they to have health problems? Do they have families? These factors will help you make your decision. Your insurance provider can give you advice as well.

Should You Offer Extra Insurance and Savings Options?

Your benefits package doesn't just stop with health insurance. You also need to decide if you want to offer other monetary protections, such as:

  • Dental insurance, as not all health insurance options include dental
  • Life insurance, which helps provide for employees' families in the event of death
  • Health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts, which set benefits money aside for healthcare costs
  • Savings plans, such as a 401k, so employees can save for retirement

Again, the more benefits you offer, the more attractive you look to prospective employees. So consider which options you need to provide to bring in the talent.

How Much Paid Time Off Should You Give Your Employees?

Finally, every benefits package must come with paid time off, or PTO. Ideally, that PTO should include vacation time, sick days, and maternity leave. However, you might decide to wrap all available PTO under one label. Then you have to decide how much PTO you want to offer.

Typically, businesses offer the equivalent of two weeks PTO (fourteen days) for a year. Others offer more, especially if they want to create a flexible and easygoing atmosphere at their place of business. Decide what kind of atmosphere you want to create, and arrange your PTO accordingly.


Once you've had a look at the information above, you can start crafting your ideal benefits package. Make sure you speak to insurance providers so you don't finalize decisions that don't make sense for your needs or budget. 

The Top 5 Benefits Employees Want