Ditch the Ping-Pong Table: Benefits Employees Actually Want3 min read

March 4, 2019 Talent Acquisition

Trendy benefits may seem like must-haves, but are they attracting and retaining employees? Take a look at the benefits employees really want.

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While ping-pong tables, free lunches and insurance for your dog may capture your company a few headlines, do these benefits truly help attract and retain top talent?

Increasingly, the answer is no. Recent research compiled the most popular benefits. Perhaps surprisingly, the perks employees really want are also among the most traditional.

Here’s a look at some of the benefits employees want and why they matter to your organization:

Paid family leave

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States ranks last in offering paid family leave when compared to the rest of the developed world. In fact, for maternity leave, paid parental leave and home care leave, U.S. citizens are guaranteed zero weeks.

In stark contrast, the United Kingdom offers 39 weeks of paid maternity leave, Sweden offers 42.9 weeks of paid home care leave and Finland offers 161 total weeks of paid leave. Around the world, it’s a tacit acknowledgement built into the fabric of society that affords families the opportunity to bond and care for its most cherished members.

As the top-requested benefit by those surveyed, it’s crucial for U.S. employers to offer a generous family leave policy to ensure new mothers and fathers get the time they need to care for a new child, or address another pressing family issue.

Flexible / remote work options

There was once a time where telephones were chained to desks, important files stayed in one cabinet and meetings could only take place when everyone was available and present in the same room.

We are no longer living in this time. Laptops and smartphones have liberated employees throughout all industries, making it possible finish work or fire off an email from a coffee shop, the train station or the beach. 

Millennial and Gen Z employees have identified flexible and remote work options as one of their most desired employee benefits. These benefits go hand-in-hand: flexible schedules and work-from-home arrangements can enable workers to remain productive throughout their busy day. Letting an employee work from home in the morning or shift their tasks to the evening often means parents can help get their children to school or carry out other important tasks that can eat up an entire weekend. Some research even points to circadian rhythms as indicators of whether a person is more productive in the morning or evening, enabling employees to work to their biological best.

Sabbatical leave

The notion of taking an extended sabbatical isn’t only for college professors looking to take off a semester to write a book. For 42% of workers, it’s becoming a very popular idea. Rather than saving up years of vacation and sick days to spend time away from the office, a sabbatical affords employees the chance to truly disconnect and recharge. After five years of employment at Facebook, for example, employees are given the opportunity to take a hassle-free 30-day sabbatical.

A benefit like this communicates a powerful message to your employees: it recognizes an employee’s contributions while acknowledging a need to rest, recharge and avoid burn out. Offering sabbaticals also shows an appreciation for an employee’s long-term commitment to your organization, valuing an employee’s contributions so much that it’s worth letting them walk away for a month.

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