What do employees value more—a higher salary or outstanding benefits?

According to several business leaders, the perks of one’s job are often worth more than financial compensation. More and more, companies are coming up with unique employee benefits that will attract and retain top talent. It all begs the question: what employee perks and benefits do employees want most?

The perks of benefits

Compensation is the major selling point of any job. Pay is a significant discussion point between employers and candidates during the job offer negotiation stage, and of course everyone wants to be paid what they’re worth.

Salary is negotiable—a benefits package, on the other hand, is more or less equal throughout a company. It turns out that both potential and current team members care a lot more about their benefits than expected. While dental or vision coverage is a given, more employers realize the value of an employee perks programs in talent acquisition or retention, and thus, they’re becoming a standard in companies. In the war for talent, it’s unexpected employee perks that set companies apart.

Perks at work

The most in-demand businesses people are dying to work for offer appealing perks to their people. Clif Bar provides its team with personal trainers and concierge services for haircuts and organic produce deliveries. Staff.com holds a video game day for all of its remote employees. Over at FlexJobs, team members receive stipends for technology needs, house-cleaning services, and energy-efficient light bulbs. At Zappos, benefits like a nap room, library, and free cafeteria—plus comprehensive medical plan—are a big draw for their team members. As a result, the company receives so many applications every year that they had to create a special Insider Program just to manage them.

Here at Rise, we are long believers in the value of untraditional employee benefits. Our benefits package goes above and beyond the standard health and dental offerings, including paid birthdays off, subsidized transit and wellness passes, and three weeks vacation.

When you offer both useful and unorthodox employee perks, you show your team members that you recognize they have concerns and priorities outside of the job itself—and that those things are important to support too. 

Flexibility and workplace wellness

Flexible work options just might be the most valuable (and cost-effective) benefit you can offer your team. “Professionals are interested in maintaining a work-life balance,” Millie Lee of Robert Half explains, “so programs such as telecommuting or flexible scheduling will have high appeal.” In fact, a recent survey from FlexJobs revealed that many people would take a substantial cut in pay in exchange for the ability to telecommute.

Also coming in at the top of the list of employee perks and benefits are workplace wellness programs. Again, wellness is separate from the tradition health benefits a typical employer may offer. A gym pass subsidy, extra time to hit the office gym, or friendly workplace wellness challenges throughout the office are only a few examples of wellness perks employees value greatly. Big or small, a visible focus on the health and wellness of one’s employees shows a deeper level of concern for employees, and these initiatives go a long way to improving employee happiness and satisfaction.

Over to you

Cash isn’t necessarily the be all and end all for employees as employers might think. Team members want to feel appreciated, and there is a myriad of ways to do that—whether it’s through promoting nutrition and fitness programs in the office or letting your people telecommute. The perks that work are the ones that support your people in becoming the best they can be at work and outside of it too.

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