New Gallup Poll Says These Are the Top Employee Perks and Benefits

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Attracting and retaining great talent is always a challenge, perhaps now more than ever. Forty percent of U.S. workers said they would look for a new job this year, according to a study by Dale Carnegie and MSW Research; and Gallup puts that number even higher, at 51 percent.

One of the ways businesses are trying to retain current employees and attract new ones is by offering everything from long-term benefits like matching 401(k) plans to in-the-now perks like cold brew coffee on tap.

A recent Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that certain benefits and perks are so important to employees that they are willing to leave their jobs for new positions that offer the kind of options they’re seeking — mainly great flexibility and financial rewards.

The same report indicates that most organizations do offer some level of benefits that these employees are looking for — health insurance, paid vacation, 401(k)s — but employees are still willing to leave. That could mean the quality of those offerings are lacking, or it could be there are benefits and perks that an employee wants and the company doesn’t offer.

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Here’s a look at the benefits and perks that Gallup polled workers on:

Flexible work location: When it comes to where they do their jobs, survey respondents were adamant that they want a say in the matter. Thirty-five percent of employees polled said they would change jobs for a flexible work location and the ability to work offsite full time, and another 37 percent said they wanted to be able to choose to work remotely at least part time. Very few respondents said their companies made these options available.

Profit sharing: Forty percent of respondents said they would change jobs to take advantage of profit sharing. Only half that amount already had access to it.

Retirement plan with a pension: Employees are looking to the future when deciding where to go (or if they should stay). Fifty-one percent of respondents said they would change jobs for a position that offered a pension. Interestingly, 43 percent of people said their company already has this benefit.

Monetary bonuses: A top concern among employees is, of course, compensation. Fifty-four percent of employees said they would take a job that offered bonuses on top of their pay or salary. Forty-seven percent say their company already offers this.

Flextime: Employees aren’t just interested in where they’re working, they’re also focused on when they’re working. That’s why 51 percent of respondents said they would leave their job for a position that offered flexible hours to fit their schedule. Forty-four percent said their companies already offer this.

Where does this leave employers?

This doesn’t mean you need to go out and start developing all of these perks for your employees. In some cases, it may not make sense or pencil out.

You should evaluate your business objectives, budget, and the interests of your staff before changing your benefits. For example, maybe it’s not feasible for your business to allow employees to work offsite all the time, but perhaps working remotely occasionally is an option you could consider.

Then consider the benefits you do provide. Are employees taking advantage of them? If not, ask why.

Maybe your staff isn’t aware of their options. If so, plan a refresher presentation or send out email reminding everyone what they’re entitled to.

Maybe your offerings don’t align with your company’s culture. If you offer the flexibility to work remotely but employees feel out of the loop or even penalized if they’re not physically in the office, it’s time to reevaluate more than just your benefits.

Then think long term. If you have a newer company with young employees, most of them might not be married or have children yet, or are at least not rapidly approaching retirement. As your company matures, so will the needs of your staff.

And if you wish to retain these employees as they progress through their careers and lives, you have to anticipate their needs and adjust your offerings to take into account issues like parental leave, flexible hours, and retirement benefits. Then create a plan for adding benefits or perks as your company matures.

When in doubt, ask. When trying to determine what matters to your employees, go to the source. Take a survey to find out which benefits are most and least important to them and what they wish you offered. That way, not only will you find out what matters most to your employees, but you’ll show them that you care enough to ask.

Are you a new employer or do you need to provide benefits like health insurance and retirement accounts for the first time? Check out our guide to offering employees benefits and 401k guide for small business owners.

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