The Secret Benefits Sauce for Engaged, Productive Employees

While traditional benefits such as retirement plans and health insurance are an important part of most employers’ benefit packages, the perceived value of supplementary offerings such as leave, and work-life benefits make may a notable difference when it comes to worker engagement and productivity.

Respondents to the 2020 Employee Benefits Survey were asked to rate their organizations on worker engagement and productivity levels. The following examines the most substantial differences in retirement, health, and supplemental benefits such as paid leave and wellness programs, among corporate and single employer respondents who reported that their engagement and productivity levels were high, compared with those were low.

Health Care Benefits

  • Respondents with high levels of worker engagement and productivity were more likely to cover unmarried domestic partners of the same (50% versus 34%) and opposite (48% versus to 34%) sex in their health care plans than those with low engagement and productivity measures.

Retirement Benefits

Organizations with high engagement and productivity measures were more likely to offer a wide variety of financial and retirement planning benefits.

  • Respondents excelling at these measures were much more likely to offer educational initiatives to enhance worker understanding of retirement/financial issues (61% versus 38%).
  • Similarly, they were more likely to offer financial planning/counseling services to their plan participants (46% compared to 24%).
  • Excelling organizations were more likely to target their communication on these topics surrounding different life events (29% versus 14%), as well as to different generations in the workforce (34% compared to 18%).

Paid Leave Benefits

Large differences also exist between these organization types over several paid leave benefit offerings.

  • Respondents that cited high levels of engagement and productivity are more likely to offer paid leave for volunteering/community service (38% versus 18%).
  • These organizations are also more likely to offer paid maternity (38% compared to 23%) and paternity (36% versus 20%) leave above and beyond legal requirements.

Work/Life Benefits

These differences continue across a number of work-life benefit categories.

  • High-performing organizations were more likely to offer at least one work/life benefit (83% versus 61%).
  • Large discrepancies also exist among these organizations in terms of offering resource and referral services for child or elder care (33% compared to 20%).
  • Half of responding organizations (50%) with high worker engagement and productivity measures offer flexible work hours/compressed workweeks, compared with just 29% of those with low measures.

Wellness Benefits

There are substantial differences between “‘high engagement and productivity organizations’” and those with lower engagement and productivity in offering a number of wellness benefits.

  • High-performing organizations are more likely to offer flu shot programs (72% compared to 55%).
  • Similarly, these organizations are more likely to offer health risk assessments/screenings (54% versus 36%).
  • Responding organizations with high engagement and productivity measures are about three times as likely to offer meditation/mindfulness training (27% compared to 9%).
  • These respondents are also much more likely to offer on-site fitness centers and/or subsidized fitness (41% versus 13%), as well as on-site massages (21% compared to 9%).
  • “‘High engagement and productivity’” organizations are more likely to host walking/exercise programs (33% versus 18%) and offer wearable devices (13% compared to 5%).

Services

Perhaps the largest discrepancies exist in employer-provided services.

  • Organizations with high engagement and productivity measures are more likely to offer on-site and/or takeout meals (23% versus 7%), dry cleaning/laundry services (15% compared to 2%) and employee product discounts (38% versus 23%).
  • Similarly, these organizations are more likely to offer employee purchase programs for items such as computers and office supplies (18% versus 9%).
  • About one in four (24%) high-performing organizations offer matching charitable gift programs compared to just 14% of those not rated as high-performing.
  • Respondents that cited high levels of engagement and productivity were more than twice as likely to offer on-site postal services (12% compared to 5%).
  • Responding organizations with high engagement and productivity measures are substantially more likely to offer relocation benefits to workers accepting an assignment in a new location (24% versus 4%).
  • Finally, a substantial discrepancy exists between the number of employers offering 529 plans (13% of organizations that reported high engagement and productivity compared to 4% of organizations with lower engagement and productivity). These plans allow workers to accumulate funds in an investment account for designated beneficiaries.

The bottom line? If you’re looking for more engaged, productive employees, start with your benefits package. It may just be the recipe for organizational success you’ve been searching for.


Justin Held, CEBS
Senior Research Analyst at the International Foundation 

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