Strong benefits packages very beneficial to CEOs

Stephen Murphy employee town hall
Employees are said to be happier and more productive with strong benefits packages.

CEOs may be missing out on attracting and retaining top talent by not offering robust, or at least fair, benefits packages.

Nearly 25% of full-time employees in the U.S. do not receive benefits, such as health insurance, retirement savings plan, or paid vacation, from their employers, according to a survey by Clutch, a B2B research firm.

Health insurance is overwhelmingly the most valued benefit, according to the survey. Over half (55%) of full-time employees who receive benefits say health insurance provided by their employer has the most impact on their job satisfaction. Paid vacation time, overtime pay, and retirement plans are also identified in the survey as important to workers' satisfaction.

“Benefits have a big impact on job satisfaction, which makes employees more productive because they have a higher quality of life,” Elizabeth Ballou, content developer for Clutch, told FierceCEO. “It creates a closer-knit relationship you really can’t get any other way.”

Finding “amazing talent, whether it be seasoned veterans or new college grads, can be incredibly difficult,” said Tasha Liniger, vice president of people at Dialpad.

Employees “are looking for opportunities to grow professionally, be inspired by those around them and learn as much as they can from business leaders they admire and respect,” Liniger said. “Add to that a hypercompetitive technology labor market and record low unemployment and standing apart from the crowd has never been harder. Unique salary and HR packages become a defining force in attracting and retaining top employees.”

The primary goal of an organization “is to attract and retain the best available talent,” said Jenny Pagano, vice president of retirement products and services at Fringe Benefit Group.

With the current low level of unemployment, “employees have more choices in their employment search,” Pagano said. “Offering a robust benefits package can be one way for employers to entice employees to give them a second look.”

And from a retention perspective, “good benefits packages can help reduce employee stress—both financial and health related—which leads to a more productive worker and results in less turnover, which can be costly to the employer,” Pagano said. “Benefits packages structured the right way can be a win-win for both the employer and employee.”

Benefits are a critical part of any company's employee retention plan, said Rebecca Cenni, CEO of Atrium Staffing. “But beyond that, as a company, you have to decide what kind of messaging you want to convey to your staff.”

“Employees give so much of themselves to their organizations, it's just the right thing to do,” Cenni said. “The more you do for your employees, the more they will do for you. In a tight market, a great benefits package can be the thing that gives a company its competitive advantage when attracting candidates, especially the passive ones.”

But the Clutch survey found that one-third (32%) of employees who receive benefits are not satisfied with them. The most common reason for employee dissatisfaction, at 52%, is that workers want more of a benefit they already receive. Another 14% say they want different benefits than the ones their employer offers. The best way for employers to address workers' satisfaction levels is to have routine discussions about benefits and encourage employee feedback, Ballou said.