Employer-Sponsored Benefits: What do Employees Value?

By: Lisa Greenwald

In this time of low unemployment, employers struggle with how to attract and retain employees. What attracts employees to companies and what makes them stay? Part of that answer relates to the benefits employers provide. Some employers offer a wide array of benefits from the traditional benefits such as health insurance or retirement plans, to more innovative benefits around student loan repayment or wellness programs to improve health. Yet, the cost of these benefits, on top of wages, is considerable.

If employers are going to provide these benefits, are these the benefits employees pay attention to when looking for a job or decided whether to stay at their current job? In the 2017 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey, a joint survey of the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates, employees are asked exactly that: “When considering whether to stay in your current job or choosing a new job, how important are each of the following types of benefits in your decision?

Of the more than 1,500 employees who participated, health insurance is the most often cited benefit when evaluating a career move, with 83% of employees indicating it is extremely or very important. This is followed by 73% who state retirement plans are extremely or very important and 68% rank dental/vision coverage is extremely/very important.  Other benefits, such as life insurance, disability benefits or long-term care insurance are considered less important when changing jobs or remaining at the current job.

For employers, what does this mean? It means that they must ensure that what they offer is what employees really want. Oftentimes, a new type of benefit will appear on the market and employers wonder if they should provide this new benefit for their employees. Before deciding to add another benefit, it is critical to make sure that employees’ core benefit needs stay intact and to understand what else the employee population wants from their employer.

Careers Greenwald & Associates