Office perks: What employees really want

| July 2, 2014

Last week, the Society for Human Resource Management released its annual Employee Benefits Survey. The survey provides comprehensive information about the types of benefits U.S. employers offer employees. The major takeaway from this year’s results: Employers are spending more to keep their employees in good health, even if they have to sacrifice other benefits.

According to the survey:

“The past five years have seen increases in the percentage of organizations offering health and lifestyle coaching, preventive programs specifically targeting employees with chronic health conditions, rewards or bonuses for completing certain health and wellness programs, health care premium discounts for getting an annual health risk assessment, health care premium discounts for not using tobacco products, and health care premium discounts for participating in a wellness program.”

So, employers are looking out for their employees’ health, not only for their benefit, but for the company’s too. In an effort to control rising health care costs, employers are putting their money into what they predict will show a return. Evren Esen, the director of survey programs for SHRM, added “It may take three to five years before they see a difference.”

Offering competitive benefits packages can be a huge draw to potential recruits. Health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, FSAs, a 401 (k)/retirement plan, disability insurance, vacation time, and maternity leave are no longer an extra plus, but expected. More and more employers have added paternity leave, family medical leave, flextime, and sabbaticals to their benefits package.


Yoga can be a part of a comprehensive employee wellness plan. From Phillipa Hickman

What perks do employees crave?

Health and wellness programs can have priceless value to employees and their families, but what are the day-to-day perks that can keep employees loyal to their employers? According to a study, the top ten workplace perks that employees said would make their jobs more satisfying were:

  1. Half-day Fridays
  2. On-site fitness center
  3. Casual dress code
  4. Daily free lunch
  5. Massages
  6. Napping pods in the office
  7. Transportation to and from work
  8. Snack cart
  9. Private restroom
  10. On-site daycare

Who doesn’t appreciate free snacks at work? From Ed Spano

Dream bigger!

Some companies offer perks beyond what any employee could hope for during their job search. While the rest of us can hardly expect these luxuries (some even mentioned in the study above) to become the workplace norm, we can still dream:

  • Zappos offers “laughter yoga” classes. I have no idea what that is but it certainly sounds fun.
  • S.C. Johnson employees have access to concierge services that will run errands and finish chores, including picking up dry cleaning and returning library books.
  • No surprise here: MillerCoors employees get free beer!
  • Since 2004, Integrated Archive Systems (IAS) employees have been eligible for a $10,000 subsidy to purchase a hybrid vehicle. The program is currently being utilized by more than half of IAS employees.
  • No wonder Fortune magazine has previously ranked Genentech its #1 workplace! All employees have access to dog-sitting services, fresh espresso, haircuts, weekly carwashes, and discounts to museums and Disneyland.

Which benefits and perks are most desirable to you? Can a generous benefits package with perks influence your choice to stay at a job you either don’t enjoy, or one that you feel underpays you?

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Category: New Products, Office courtesy

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