A survey by Glassdoor looked at 50 fringe benefits offers by employers and found some surprising, as well as not so surprising, results. The big takeaway is that benefits are very meaningful to employees; more than half (57%) of responders listed benefits and perks as their top consideration in accepting a position.
Most favored benefits
It’s no surprise which five benefits are most prized by employees:
- Health coverage
- Paid time off (e.g., vacation days)
- Performance bonuses
- Paid sick days
- 401(k) and other retirement plans
New types of benefits
There are some types of benefits that are now being offered by large (or at least larger) employers:
- Extended maternity/paternity leave. Netflix offers one year paid leave.
- Student loan repayment. It’s estimated that 3% of private sector companies offer this perk.
- Paid time off for volunteering. Salesforce pays for six days a year and a donation of $1,000.
- Learning opportunities. Twillo gives employees a Kindle and a $30/month book allowance; Twitter offers improv classes.
Small employers and benefits offerings
Let’s get real: small businesses can’t offer a year’s paid maternity/paternity leave. They don’t pay for six-month sabbaticals. They don’t cater meals on the premises as Twitter does, unless they happen to be food establishments. But there are important lessons for small businesses in the Glassdoor surveys:
- The majority of employees (79%) want additional benefits over a pay raise. Small businesses can comply with this desire by employees and offer new or expanded benefits.
- Small businesses can offer all of the top 5 benefits prized by employees. The extent of these benefits may be more limited in smaller companies, but available nonetheless.
- While long-term paid maternity leave may be out of the question, flex time, part-time work, or work-from-home options for new parents may be doable. According to one survey, 55% of employees cited the flexibility to balance work and life issues as a very important aspect of their job satisfaction.
Small business owners should keep in mind what employees prize most so they can tailor benefits packages to attract and retain valued employees. Do you offer any unique benefits? Please share them with me!