high stakes perks and benefits.

  • career advice
  • July 05, 2018

In a robust economy with no shortage of opportunity for top talent, perks and benefits can be the secret ingredient that makes the difference between whether a candidate decides to stay with a company or leave. Yet Randstad's nationwide survey found that less than half of employees are currently satisfied with the benefits their companies offer. Let's look at some of the key takeaways from that survey to help employees and employers get better aligned on the perks and benefits that actually matter.

for peak recruitment and retention, perks matter

Make no mistake about it: Offering the right perks and benefits is absolutely critical for both employee recruitment and retention. According to Randstad's survey:

  • Forty-two percent of employees are considering leaving their current jobs because their employee benefits packages are inadequate. 
  • Fifty-five percent have left jobs in the past because they were offered better benefits or perks elsewhere. 

Clearly, the stakes are high. What is perhaps more surprising, though, is that Randstad's survey also revealed that benefits can be more important than salary alone for candidates considering a new job offer. This means employees compare health plans, benefits packages and other employee perks to determine who has the best employee benefits.

Indeed, 66 percent of employees said that strong benefits packages and perks are the largest determining factors when accepting a job offer, and 61 percent said they would be willing to accept a lower salary if it meant working for a company that had a great benefits package.

smart policies matter more than material offerings

Not surprisingly, a more flexible workplace tends to be a more employee-friendly workplace, too. But one unexpected finding of our survey is that providing material benefits to employees — for instance, building an onsite gym, or making sure that the kitchen is always stocked with treats — don't carry the same weight in the minds of employees as straightforward policy changes that are, all things considered, easier and less expensive for companies to implement.

For instance, consider the fact that employees ranked the following three perks most highly:

  • early Friday releases (33%) 
  • flexibility and remote working (26%) 
  • onsite amenities such as gyms and dry cleaning (23%)

It's good to note that another policy-related benefit — unlimited vacation time — finished a close fourth (22%). Employers should be aware that fully stocked food pantries or in-office food courts may not be enough to attract and hire top talent.

tie benefits to quality of life

Nearly all employees (94%) in Randstad's survey said they would like to see their employers update their perks and benefits in ways that actually impact quality of life, for instance, by offering time-saving, relevant onsite amenities or helping employees pay off student debt.

The bad news, then, is how many employers seem to be failing in this department. Roughly a third (31%) of employees indicated that benefits and perks offered by their employers enhance their physical and mental well-being. And more than a third (35%) of employees disagree that their companies’ benefits packages support personal obligations tied to family life, paying off student loans and work flexibility.

Ouch.

generational differences in perks and benefits

Companies that wish to attract and win over the best and the brightest young minds need to offer perks and benefits that align with the goals of millennial and Gen Z talent — and at the moment, not many are doing it.

What are those goals, exactly? More than anything else, these younger employees want help paying for education.

In Randstad's survey, 41 percent of survey respondents aged 18 to 24 said that, while their organizations don’t offer benefits related to student loan reimbursement or helping them pay off student loans, they wished that they did. A further 35 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they wanted tuition assistance programs — programs in which employers partially or fully subsidize the cost of employees' degrees — that their employers weren't offering.

Of course, companies should also bear in mind that different generations want different perks and benefits — for instance, employers over the age of 50 named health insurance as the most important benefit — and tailor their offerings accordingly. What Randstad's survey makes clear beyond a doubt, however, is that, to attract and retain valuable talent of any age, many companies have their work cut out.