The Best Benefits for Attracting and Retaining Workers

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 bigger difference when it comes to worker engagement and productivity.

Respondents to the 2020 Employee Benefits Survey were asked to rate their organizations on worker attraction and retention measures. The following examines the most substantial differences among corporate and single employer respondents that reported high attraction and retention levels compared with those that reported low levels.

Health Care Benefits

Unsurprisingly, high-performing organizations were more likely to have lower deductibles and premiums for their health care coverage.

  • Organizations with high attraction and retention measures were more likely to have no in-network deductibles for single health care coverage (7% compared to 3%).
  • Similarly, high-performing organizations were more likely to cite a 0% worker premium share for single (14% versus 8%) and family coverage (7% compared to 3%).
  • In terms of health care offerings, organizations with high attraction and retention measures were more than twice as likely to offer various types of bariatric surgery (41% versus 19%).

Retirement Benefits

Other features that differentiate organizations with high attraction and retention measures are retirement plan offerings and financial/retirement planning benefits.

  • High-performing organizations are more likely to offer a defined benefit (DB) pension plan (21% compared to 9%).
  • Organizations with high attraction and retention figures were more likely to offer financial planning/counseling services (45% versus 32%) in their organizations.
  • High performers are also more likely to target their retirement/financial communications surrounding major life events (30% compared to 15%) and to different generations in the workforce (35% versus 19%).

Paid Leave

There were substantial differences between paid leave offerings for high- and low-performing organizations.

  • High-performing organizations are more likely to offer paid leave for volunteering/community service (40% compared to 14%) as well as paid adoption leave (29% versus 14%).
  • These organizations are also more likely to offer paid maternity (40% versus 21%) and paternity leave (37% compared to 17%) above and beyond legal requirements.

Work/Life Benefits

These differences continue across several work/life benefit categories.

  • Organizations with high attraction and retention figures are more likely to offer dependent-care flexible spending accounts (72% versus 54%).
  • In terms of scheduling flexibility, these organizations are more likely to offer flexible work hours/compressed workweeks (52% compared to 28%).

Wellness Benefits

Wellness programs are designed to promote safety and good health among workers as well as increase worker morale. They also help reduce the costs associated with accident and illness, which can lead to absenteeism, lower productivity and higher health care expenses.

  • Organizations citing high attraction and retention levels are more likely to offer risk assessments/screenings (55% versus 38%).
  • Similarly, these organizations are more likely to offer on-site fitness centers and/or subsidized fitness initiatives (40% compared to 27%).

Miscellaneous

A final differentiating feature between these groups is the prevalence of various “miscellaneous” benefits.

  • Responding organizations with highly rated attraction and retention methods were more likely to offer service award programs (62% versus 43%), employee product discounts (39% compared to 21%) and matching charitable gift programs (25% versus 9%).
  • High-performing organizations are substantially more likely to offer relocation benefits to workers accepting an assignment in a new location (24% compared to 9%).
  • In reviewing survivor benefits, organizations with highly rated attraction and retention levels are more likely to offer a payout of accrued retirement benefits (31% versus 16%) to a surviving beneficiary.
  • Organizations with high attraction and retention figures are more likely to offer identity-theft insurance (28% compared to 14%) and legal services plans (30% versus 19%) on a voluntary (employee-pay-all) basis.
  • Finally, high-performing organizations are more likely to offer discounted tickets to sporting, recreational or cultural events (42% compared to 26%).

In this tight labor market, improving your benefit offerings could set your organization apart for attracting and retaining workers.

Justin Held, CEBS
Senior Research Analyst at the International Foundation 

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