At a time when it’s difficult to recruit and retain talented employees, paying attention to job benefits makes good sense, and an annual survey of human resources managers shows what benefits fit the bill.
Healthcare emerged as the leader in importance by employers as the most important type of benefit that any organization can offer its workers, according to a Society of Human Resource Management survey.
Healthcare is followed in importance by retirement and leave benefits, which were ranked jointly at No. 2. Retirement benefits were cited by 55% of respondents in SHRM’s 2020/21 surveys but are back up to being cited by 82% in the 2022 survey.
“Although the importance ratings of many benefits changed drastically during the height of the pandemic, now that businesses have regained a more normal semblance of operations, so too have businesses ranked benefits in a more typical order of importance,” SHRM points out.
However, employers should understand that all benefits are now individually viewed as more important for businesses to offer than they were prior to the Covid 19 pandemic. “The pandemic’s impact on the world of work appears to have resulted in lasting changes of the views around specific benefits offerings,” SHRM notes
Examples include flexible work benefits, which were at 49% in 2019, 83% during the pandemic when many workers were required to work remotely, and have now settled at 70% in 2022.
In addition, 65% of employers believe that professional career development benefits were important now compared to 37% in 2020/2021 and 51% prior to the pandemic.
Family care benefits this year are viewed by 70% of employers as important, down from 76% during the pandemic when this kind of benefit became increasingly important, but they are up from 52% prior to the pandemic.
“Workers now have more options for where and when they will work, and these two factors together create a challenging talent landscape for organizations everywhere,” observes SHRM’s Chief Knowledge Officer Dr. Alex Alonso
“These benefits can play an instrumental role in this competition for talent and, in some cases, may determine success or failure”
In the 2022 survey, 93% of organizations indicated that they offer telemedicine or telehealth as a benefit to their workers, an increase of 20 percentage points since 2019.
Nearly all organizations (98%) offer some type of health coverage, with three-quarters (72%) of organizations saying they offer a fully insured health plan and 26% offering a self-insured plan. Also, one in five employers say they offer mental health days above and beyond regular sick leave.
In 2022, 82% selected retirement and savings as an important benefit. Up 27% from 2020/21, employers ranked retirement and savings benefits as among the most important types of benefits they can offer employees. Employers still strongly believe in the importance of retirement and savings benefits.
Most employers offered some type of retirement savings plan, with 94% offering a traditional 401(k) and 68% offering a Roth 401(k). Many also provided some type of employer match for employee contributions to those retirement plans: 83% to traditional 401(k) plans and 76% who contribute to Roth 401(k) plans.
In addition, 63% of employers said they offer most of their workers the opportunity to adopt a hybrid work model, which involves a combination of working both remotely and in person.
Across all organizations, 62% said they offer employees a subsidy or reimbursement for at-home office or work equipment. On average, these employers provided about $891 to employees to cover costs related to working from home.