Why Employee Benefits Matter
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The key to attracting top talent goes beyond trendy perks.

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Big businesses are using a variety of trendy perks to attract new employees. Think gym discounts, massage breaks, yoga classes and in-office coffee bars. As the owner of a small to mid-sized business, these are some of the benefits you may be competing against for top talent. The good news: While such perks are fun, studies show that these aren’t the top benefits that workers are looking for.

Savvy small-business owners know it’s more important to focus on the benefits that your employees really want. To stay competitive, 62% of employers have changed their benefit offerings in the past year.1 Provide the right set of benefits and you can help build employee loyalty, reduce turnover, and help create a happy, productive work atmosphere that ultimately may provide your company with the best benefit of all: a more successful business.

Why is providing benefits of substance so important?

  • It gives your business an edge in hiring.
    Today’s job market is especially competitive, and a survey by Gallup shows that candidates often weigh many factors before deciding which job to take. People are more likely to accept a job offer from companies that seem invested in their well-being, with an attractive benefits package playing a key factor in that decision.2
  • It helps you keep your best talent on staff.
    A good benefits package is a win/win, helping your employees in meaningful ways, and in turn, helping you retain your current employees so you can reach your business goals. In one study, 60% of employees said benefits were extremely or very important when considering whether to stay with their current employer.3
  • It improves employee morale, satisfaction, and productivity.
    Workers who feel supported by their employer are more likely to be motivated and effective. For the employee, some benefits, such as health care coverage and insurance, help reduce financial worries that might otherwise impact job performance.  

Other benefits, such as flexible work schedules and mental health services, can help employees reduce stress and improve work-life balance, leading to employees who are more satisfied. And happier employees are more productive.4



What are the right benefits for your business?

Employees value a variety of benefits, including:

  • Health insurance
    This is widely considered the most important benefit an employer can offer. Some companies offer coverage for medical, dental, vision, and supplemental disability. More than 70% of employees say they value and want dental and vision benefits in addition to health.5 
  • Work/life balance
    While not a specific benefit, work/life balance has come to represent a series of workforce policies and benefits that help define a company’s work culture. This includes key factors, such as the ability to work remotely, flexible work schedules, and the company’s vacation and leave policies.
  • Life insurance
    About two-thirds of employees rely on their workplace life insurance to meet their life insurance needs, according to the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA).5 This is one reason that nearly half of all employees consider a life insurance plan a top workplace benefit.1
  • Retirement plans
    Employees welcome retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, which allow them to save for their future with pre-tax dollars every paycheck.1
  • Mental health assistance
    Each year, one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).6 Yet, most don’t get the help they need. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that more than 85% of employees who get treatment for depression report improved work performance.7

As a small to mid-sized business owner, you don’t necessarily need to provide ping-pong tables and other gimmicky benefits. Instead, pay attention to your employees’ real-life needs and you can compete with larger companies and create the kind of positive work environment that leads to success.


1 Forbes, Best Employee Benefits In 2023 – Forbes Advisor, 2/6/23, accessed July 2023
2 Gallup, The Top 6 Things Employees Want in Their Next Job, 2/21/23, accessed July 2023
 SHRM, Benefits Jump as a Reason to Join or Stay with an Employer
4 Social Market Foundation, Happiness and productivity: Understanding the happy-productive worker, 10/2015, accessed July 2023
5 LIMRA, Facts About Life 2021 Workplace Benefits, 9/21, accessed July 2023
6 NAMI, Mental Health By the Numbers, April 2023, accessed July 2023
7 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Mental Health in the Workplace, A Call to Action Proceedings From the Mental Health in the Workplace—Public Health Summit, April 2018, accessed July 2023

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