By: Justin Held, CEBS

Which offered benefit is the most appreciated or loved? Which benefit is the most successful with regard to engaging, attracting and retaining talent? Which benefit offering is the most unique?

The International Foundation’s soon-to-be-released 2014 Employee Benefits Survey, the fourth offering in its benefit benchmarking series​, analyzed these questions. In addition to providing detailed and comprehensive benchmarking data, which will be included in the full report release, the survey provided respondents with the opportunity to anecdotally discuss their offerings. These open-ended statements were compiled and analyzed to gain further perspective into the value of benefit offerings from International Foundation members. Here’s a sneak peek at these insights. 

Most Appreciated/Loved Employee Benefit

Respondents provided a number of insights into their most appreciated or loved employee benefits. These responses essentially fell into four broad categories, ranked below by prevalence:

  • Health Care Benefits (major medical for employees, spouses and dependents, dental benefits, prescription drug benefits, vision care, acupuncture, near/on-site health clinics, flexible (Section 125) benefit offerings, comprehensive wellness initiatives)
  • Retirement Benefits (defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, 401(k) matching benefits, retirement planning offerings)
  • Paid-Time-Off Benefits (vacation, holidays, personal days, paid and unpaid leave, sabbaticals)
  • Flexible Work Schedules (telecommuting, summer hours, compressed workweeks)

In addition to these four broad employee benefit categories, respondents cited other offerings as their most appreciated. These included free tuition/tuition assistance, free or subsidized meals, access to company stores, on-site credit unions, casual dress codes, profit-sharing/stock purchase plans for single employers, sponsored social events and a quality company culture.

Most Successful Benefit With Regard to Engaging, Attracting and Retaining Workers

Our analysis went on to compile the most successful benefits with regard to engaging, attracting and retaining workers. The responses to this question were very similar to the previous: Health care benefits were the most successful in this regard, followed by retirement benefits, paid-time-off benefits and, finally, flexible work schedules.

Respondents also cited a number of unique benefit offerings that were the most successful in meeting their organization’s needs. These included a monthly employee newsletter, which provides effective communication for plan changes, job stability/security, employee referral bonuses, specific offerings that incentivize longer worker tenure, performance bonuses, a strong emphasis on family/work balance and positive and respectful work environments.

Most Unique Employee Benefit Offering

Finally, survey respondents were asked to communicate their most unique benefit offerings. Some of the most unique offerings cited in the study include:

  • ​Employee recess
  • Free turkey gift certificate at Thanksgiving
  • Grocery shopping services
  • Hybrid vehicle purchase subsidy
  • Nap rooms
  • On-site dog park
  • Paid days for volunteering
  • Paid time off for employee’s birthday
  • Pets at work
  • Unlimited vacation days

Over time, organizations and their benefit departments have proven very creative in their offerings, often choosing benefits that reflect workplace culture. Which benefit is most appreciated by your workers? Which is most successful in achieving organizational goals? Which is your most unique offering? Share in the comments below! ​

Stay tuned for the 2014 Employee Benefits Survey as well as additional special reports highlighting select data from the full survey results. Reference the full collection of International Foundation rese​arch studies​ for data on a range of benefits topics.


Justin Held, CEBS

Educational Program Specialist/Research Analyst at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service: Research Surveys

Benefits related topics that interests him most: Health care economics, the Affordable Care Act, apprenticeship training

Favorite Foundation Conference Event: Lowell Catlett’s economic updates

Personal Insight: Justin loves everything baseball, visiting and checking off ballparks as he travels. He can shake any bad mood caused by a Brewers’ loss by going for a good long run.

Recommended Posts