Employee Benefits

The 3 Most Attractive Categories of Employee Benefits

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Published On: September 29, 2021

Every year, there seems to be a new, trendy benefits option that crops up in companies across the U.S. However, level-headed employers know that what’s most important to employees goes far beyond the option to bring your dog to work or cans of sparkling water in the break room.


So, what should a top-notch benefits compensation package look like, and how can you use those benefits to recruit and retain top talent? A competitive benefits package shows employees that your company is not only invested in their health and wellness, but also invested in their future with your company. Given the high degree of competition in the current job market, your company’s benefits package can also drastically increase your likelihood of onboarding a high-quality candidate.


During this open enrollment season, there are many important considerations that company leadership and HR leaders must examine. But remember: Not all employees find the same benefits attractive, especially when comparing the needs of a 45-year-old employee with two children to a recent college graduate.


Below are the three most attractive categories of employee benefits.


Category #1: Financial Insurance Benefits


Health Insurance

Health insurance consistently ranks as the #1 benefit that employees desire most. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees now have a heightened awareness of the financial risks associated with a health scare, too.


Paid Sick Leave

This is another attractive employee benefit. As an employer, you want your employees to feel comfortable in their decision to stay home and recover, plus offering paid time off (PTO) can be a boon for your company that can result in:

  • Lower healthcare costs
  • An increase in overall productivity
  • A boost in employee morale
  • Greater company loyalty

Retirement Savings Plan

As an employer, offering your employee’s financial benefits to help them save and prepare for retirement is critical, whether through a company-sponsored 401K, financial wellness training or H.R.-led workshops with financial advisors.


Student Loan Repayment Assistance

Offering student loan repayment assistance is another benefit that can appeal to potential candidates and drive loyalty within your company.


Section 2206 of the CARES Act created a temporary tax-free provision for employer student reimbursement programs. This allows an employer to make up to $5,250 in student loan payments for an employee within a year. Whether that payment is made directly to the employee or to the student loan provider, the money is tax-free. While many employees would love a raise right now, it’s hard to ignore the benefit of offering a student loan payment plan without tax consequences.


Category #2: Quality of Life Benefits


Flexible Work Environment

After experiencing pandemic-induced remote work environments and introducing millions to work-from-home life, many employees now prefer a flexible workplace. Of course, each company must decide what type of company culture they want to encourage, while also heavily weighing the potential impact on productivity, teamwork and the company’s bottom line.


Paid Parental Leave

For many employers, unpaid maternity or paternity leave can be a dealbreaker. The decision not to offer some form of paid leave can lead to resignations, which might lead to more time-consuming and costly problems for certain departments, managers or even create a ripple effect across the company.


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of October 1, 2020, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) makes paid leave available for all federal employees covered under Title 5 following the birth or adoption of a son or daughter. As a result, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provisions were amended to provide up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave to covered federal employees. It’s also important to note that if you quality under FMLA, then you are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid paternal leave. To learn if you are eligible for FMLA, click here.


Volunteer Time Off

Employees want to know that their employer cares about giving back, whether to the local community or at a national level. If your company is not in a place to contribute financially, consider offering employees a few paid days off each year to volunteer for causes that matter to them.


Pet Insurance

Furry friends, regardless of specific breed or size, offer companionship and comfort to their owners. However, they also require care, which can be extensive and costly. According to an article from Nationwide, the benefits of pet insurance include:

  • Helps employees to focus on the task at hand
  • Demonstrates to employees that you care
  • Sets your business apart (only 10% of companies offer this voluntary benefit)

Category #3: Wellness Benefits


Complimentary Coffee & Tea

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference, especially over time. Offering your employees something as simple as coffee each morning is an easy way to save your employees time and money, while encouraging friendly conversation and workplace banter.


Healthy Snacks

If you’re eating well, you’ll likely work even better. Providing snacks to employees in your workspace allows for a number of benefits. According to a blog post from Eden Workplace, these perks include:

  • Encouraging a healthy workplace culture
  • Sustaining and driving employer productivity
  • Promoting company health and wellness

Want to dive deeper? Check out our industry pages and see the top benefits that employers are offering in accounting servicesconstructionhospitalslegal services and restaurants and bars.

Employee Benefits


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Samantha Brisch

Content Marketing Analyst, Mployer Advisor


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