Monetary returns alone may no longer keep employees working at their peak. An attractive package that provides for a more wholesome career is the key to recruiting and retaining good staff.

According to Glassdoor’s 2015 Employment Confidence Survey, about 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise. The findings report that benefits and perks are a major factor for 60% of people when it comes to accepting job offers.

While multinational companies like Google and Twitter may offer attractive perks like yoga classes, haircuts, biweekly chair massages, on-site acupuncture and lunches prepared by professional chefs, many employers may not afford these extras or may not see them as necessary.

However, the findings from a new survey by Fractl report that after health insurance, employees value benefits such as flexible hours, more paid vacation time, and work-from-home options. These are considerably inexpensive to employers. In addition, the survey shows that certain benefits are more enticing than higher-paying offers with fewer perks.

In the Fractl study, 2,000 U.S. workers, ranging in age from 18 to 81, were asked to rank a list of 17 benefits, indicating the options in helping them choose between a high-income job and a lower-paying one with a more attractive benefits package.

Interestingly, at the top of the list was better health, vision and dental insurance, with 88% of respondents saying that they would give this benefit “some consideration” (34%) or “heavy consideration” (54%) when choosing a job.

The next most favoured perks were those that offer flexibility and improve work-life balance. This is particularly so for parents who value flexible hours and work-life balance above salary and health insurance in a career.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they would seriously consider a job offering flexible hours, while 80% would give consideration to a job that lets them work from home. Evidently, both flexible hours and work-from-home arrangements are affordable perks for companies that could make a difference to the business and work morale among staff.

More vacation time appealed to 80% of respondents. Paid vacation time has been looked upon as a liability for most companies as some workers are bad at using up their vacation time. Offering an unlimited time-off policy may be a better alternative. Over two-thirds of the respondents would consider a lower-paying job with unlimited vacation. For example, HR consulting firm Mammoth considers its unlimited time-off policy a success as it communicates to employees that they can be trusted to manage their workload regardless of the number of days they take off.

While some employers may see unlimited time off as ripping off productivity levels, a survey from The Creative Group found that only 9% of executives think productivity would decrease significantly if employees used more vacation time. In some cases, under an unlimited time-off policy, employees take the same amount of vacation time.

The least important benefits were in-office freebies like food and coffee, as well as team-bonding activities and retreats. These perks were not strong enough to influence a candidate’s decision on a job offer.

The survey also found interesting gender differences regarding certain benefits. Women were more likely to favour family benefits like paid parental leave and free day care services. Parental leave is of high value to female employees with 25% saying they would give parental leave heavy consideration when choosing a job (only 14% of men said the same). Men were more likely than women to opt for team-bonding events, retreats, and free food. Fitness perks appeal to both men and women, with the latter favouring free fitness and yoga classes. Men prefer an on-site gym and free gym memberships.

Perhaps, employees today are beginning to make a shift from monetary benefits to a more wholesome package that enables them to achieve work-life balance. Providing the right spread of benefits that are inexpensive and yet desirable would give companies an edge in business and more importantly, in recruiting and retaining good talents. Ultimately, when employers provide space for individuals to grow, these people will, in turn, grow the company.





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