While mass layoffs – especially in the tech industry – may dominate the headlines, there is still a labor shortage. Recent figures show that there are only 5.7 million unemployed and more than 10 million job vacancies. So if you’re struggling to attract and retain talent, you’re not alone. One way to differentiate yourself as a preferred employer is to offer employees the benefits your employees want – and more.
In fact, employee benefits can extend beyond wages. According to one study, four out of five employees prefer benefits or perks to a raise.
Benefits that are important to one employee may not be important to another. However, there are some popular benefits that have stood the test of time – and some are gaining ground in 2023.
Employee benefits to offer in 2023
Employee benefits such as health care and paid vacation are the backbone of many large and small workplaces. But what benefits do employees want most?
Please note that benefits preferences may depend on the employee’s age and personal circumstances (e.g. whether they have children). Consider offering a wide range of benefits to meet the diverse needs of your team.
Without further ado, here are seven employee benefits you can add to your employee benefits package.
1. Mandatory employee benefits
OK, so offering mandatory employee benefits may not set you apart. But it will keep your business compliant with federal and state regulations.
There are several mandatory employee benefits you may need to offer, depending on the size and location of your business.
Listed below are just some of the mandatory in-work benefits you may need to provide:
- Healthcare under the Affordable Care Act: Do employers have to offer health insurance? Existing large employers (aka businesses with 50 or more full-time employees) are penalized if they don’t provide health insurance.
- Act on Family and Medical Leaves: Employers with 50 or more employees must provide 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave each year for valid reasons (e.g. parental leave).
- Paid Family Leave: Several states, including California and Oregon, require employers to provide paid time off so employees can bond with a new baby, care for a seriously ill family member, and more.
- Paid sick leave: Several states, such as Arizona and Colorado, have enacted paid sick leave laws that require employers to grant employees time off for qualifying reasons.
- State pension schemes: Think offering retirement plans is a choice? Does not apply to businesses in certain states such as California and Connecticut. State retirement plans require employers to enroll employees in a state-sponsored program or offer an alternative qualification plan.
Familiarize yourself with federal requirements and policies in your state. Some upcoming mandates, such as the Colorado State Pension Program, have 2023 deadlines that employers must adhere to.
2. Affordable and expansive healthcare
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in March 2022, 70% of private sector workers had access to health benefits.
is yours? And if your employees already have access to health benefits, how good are they?
One way to make your workplace and job descriptions stand out is to improve your healthcare plans.
When it comes to healthcare options, here are some things to consider:
- Affordable health care premiums with low deductibles
- Telemedicine options
- Behavioral/mental health care
You can also consider adding wellness programs to help your team avoid illness and improve their health.
3. Retirement plans
Pension plans have long been part of many – but not all – employer benefit packages. And recently, the government has drawn attention to the importance of saving for retirement.
Thanks to the SECURE Act 2.0, retirement benefits are gaining ground. The SECURE Act 2.0 aims to improve employees’ retirement savings by encouraging employers to offer plans.
Eligible employers can now take advantage of increased 401(k) tax credits that cover administration costs and premiums. There will also be a student loan repayment match in 2024 (i.e. employers can make appropriate pension contributions for qualifying student loan payments made by employees).
4. Family benefits
Family matters. Therefore, popular employee benefits include time off and financial support for family events and situations.
Family benefits you can offer include:
- Paid Family Leave
- Adoption help
- Infertility treatment insurance
- Leave due to pregnancy loss
- Assistance in caring for dependents (e.g. childcare and elderly care provided by the employer)
5. Additional paid time off
Burnout—a state of exhaustion, detachment, and declining productivity—is rampant. In the US, more than two in five workers say they are burnt out, in part due to increased stress and a lack of flexible work.
Apply the same stats to your workplace and you’ll find that 40% of your team can also suffer from burnout. You may not be able to handle the stress for them, but you can offer benefits that can help…
… Starting with a little extra paid time off. Paid time off (PTO) gives employees time off from work while earning their normal wages. Employees can take paid time off for personal or holiday reasons.
According to the BLS, full-time employees receive an average of 10 days of paid vacation after a year of service. Do you want to distinguish your company? Consider providing more paid time off than average. You can also choose to increase an employee’s available paid time off based on how long they’ve worked for your company.
6. Flexible and hybrid workflow
Work-life balance matters to employees. One way to achieve a work-life balance is to offer flexible work arrangements and hybrid work.
Flexible working conditions: Flexible work arrangements give employees control over their schedules, including when they start and finish work, how many hours they work per day, and how many days they work. This type of benefit allows employees to bypass doctor visits, family commitments, and other responsibilities during a typical 9-5 workday. Flexible work arrangements can also make it easier for employees to work across time zones.
Hybrid work: COVID-19 has changed the game when it comes to remote working. Currently, remote work is a benefit that 68% of Americans want. And while remote work is not available to everyone, hybrid forms of work may be available. Under a hybrid schedule, an employee may work several days in the office and several days at home.
7. Educational Aid
Are you looking for an employee benefit that is attractive to employees and to your company’s bottom line? Consider education or study, help.
Educational assistance is where the employer pays some or all of the employee’s education expenses. This type of benefits increases employee loyalty and retention. Not to mention, the increased skill set of your employees can also improve business operations.
Employer-provided educational assistance includes expenses such as tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. And you can exclude up to $5,250 from an employee’s taxable income.
You can also make tax-free student loan repayments (up to the IRS limit) for your employees thanks to the CARES Act. As of March 2022, only 4% of private sector workers had access to these types of benefits.
Not sure what your team wants? Just ask!
Ultimately, the best source of what your employees want is your team. So if you want to know how to make your job description stand out, ask employees what benefits they expect most.
Conduct an internal employee benefits survey. Employees can take part in this type of satisfaction survey and give their opinion on current and future benefits.
Surveys should be short and simple. Your surveys may consist of one or more of the following types of questions:
- Likert scale: Respondents select an answer, usually on a 5-point scale, to show how much they agree with the statement (e.g. Very satisfied, satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied)
- Example: Using a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being very satisfied and 1 being very dissatisfied, how would you rate the following benefits? (E.g. paid vacation, health insurance, etc.)
- Ranking Questions: Respondents exchange answers based on their preferences
- Example: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating, rate how important each benefit is.
- Multiple choice: Respondents select one or more options from a list
- Example: Are you currently enrolled in our health plan?
- free text: Respondents enter their own answers
- Example: Are there any benefits you would like to see on offer that are not currently available?
After employees complete the surveys, analyze the results. You may need to make changes to your benefits, such as modifying existing benefits or adding new ones.