Benefits Employees Actually Want: 5 Steps to Take Today

Written by
David Brown
David Brown

Since the passage of the Stabilization Act of 1942 which temporarily limited employers from raising wages to combat inflation amid World War II, health benefits have been at the core of incentivizing potential employees to choose one company over another. Fast forward three-quarters of a century later and the list of possible employee benefits and perks ranges from four-day work weeks and unlimited paid time off to free massages and wellness stipends. 

All of this comes at a price tag but what do employees actually want? In times of economic uncertainty, and especially when crunching the numbers for next year's budget, how will you determine what benefits you'll provide to attract and retain top talent?

We recently hosted a webinar with broker company, Bennie, to talk about just this. We discussed evaluating your current offerings, starting with core benefits, then exploring the more flexible options. We also touched on the importance of consistently ensuring your benefits are equitable, inclusive, and meet the needs of all employees. 

See our full webinar where we share expert tips to prioritize benefits that actually matter on a budget.

Core benefits

Core benefits are the benefits that current employees and job seekers expect. For most companies in the US, they include:

  • Medical, dental, and vision
  • Short and long-term disability
  • Life insurance
  • Retirement matching
  • Paid time off

When it comes to determining the level of coverage to offer, our experts suggest a few options. You may consider traditional plans, HRAs or reimbursement plans, or EAP programs designed to help employees address personal challenges that may be affecting their performance. Working with an employee benefits broker to help weigh available alternatives can be extremely helpful in choosing health, life, and disability insurance. As you're determining options for insurance and retirement matching, you may want to research what your competitors are offering to make sure your benefits are in the ballpark depending on your budget.

It’s also important to continuously ensure that your benefits are equitable for all of your staff by factoring in cost, flexibility, accessibility, and representation. According to a recent MetLife report, 80% of employers say that meeting the needs of employees across all life stages and the diversity spectrum is a key benefits objective.

employer sponsored health insurance

Flexible benefits

Once your core benefits are established, then you can decide on the flexible ones. These are not expected like core benefits but can be more impactful and meaningful in attracting and retaining star employees. Popular flexible benefits offered today include:

There are also options that come at little to no cost to the company—benefits like remote work options, unlimited PTO, or flexible schedules. Offerings like these help your company stand out while saving you money in the long run, by increasing employee engagement, productivity, loyalty, and retention. In fact, a SHRM study found that flexible and remote working options are critical to retention, and 97% of employees desire some form of remote work. Moreover, according to MetLife’s Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends 2022 Study, 63% of employers say retention is a top concern. If you’re not already providing these benefits, they can be a low-cost, high-impact way to increase employee loyalty and attract top talent.

Other popular flexible benefits include offering things that your employees can adapt to their needs or liking. At Bonusly, we offer our employees weekly GrubHub or DoorDash food stipends that allow employees to eat where and when they choose. We also provide wellness and professional development stipends that allow employees to customize these benefits to their personal and career development needs. With employee recognition programs like Bonusly, employees can save up points and redeem them on items that they need or are meaningful to them. Today, companies are investing heavily in employee recognition programs because they practically pay for themselves when it comes to increased retention, engagement, and productivity. 


employee perks


Now that we've covered different types of benefits and options available, what can you do to ensure you're providing the benefits that matter most to your employees?

5 steps to take today to revamp your employee benefits

  1. Determine your core benefits and flexible benefits you can offer at little to no cost.
  2. Survey your employees on what benefits they would like to see, as well as which of their current benefits they enjoy the most. 
  3. Look at the data. See what benefits your employees use the most and improve or enhance those. 
  4. Talk with a benefits broker about options your company has when it comes to your benefits portfolio.
  5. Regularly audit your current offerings and your employees’ needs, to be sure you're staying relevant, competitive, and meeting the needs of all of your employees.


The takeaway

In the end, when determining which benefits to offer your employees, it’s your choice. However, it's important to remember the domino effect these benefits have on your employees and your company. Competitive, inclusive, and meaningful benefits help keep your employees engaged, lead to a better work environment, and help you attract and retain top talent.

See our entire webinar in which Bennie and Bonusly share expert ways to prioritize the benefits you offer on a budget without compromising employee morale or satisfaction.

This webinar recording includes: 

  • Useful methods for evaluating current benefit offerings
  • Tips for ensuring your portfolio of benefits are inclusive and equitable
  • Expert advice for prioritizing benefits on a tight budget

Prioritizing Employee Benefits on a Tight Budget Bennie Webinar


Originally published on September 12, 2022 → Last updated September 15, 2022

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David Brown

David works on the Bonusly marketing team leading employee engagement and HR industry events. David cares deeply about improving the employee experience and believes that organizations around the globe can take a proactive role in making a difference for their teams.


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