The Top Benefits Employees Really Want–and Why Employers Should Listen

The Top Benefits Employees Really Want–and Why Employers Should Listen

As open enrollment approaches, and businesses start to pre-plan for 2024, employee benefits are top of mind for HR leaders and employees alike. Yet the types of benefits employers offer–and how employees perceive these benefits–can have a profound impact on critical business initiatives such as: recruitment and retention and overall business productivity. 

Employers cannot underestimate the importance of offering benefits that support the needs of their employees. Yet it’s not always easy for employers to know what benefits their employees most value and need. Care recently conducted two Benefits Impact Surveys, one on employers who offer Care benefits, and one on the employees who use them, to better understand: 

  • Top benefits employers believe are most important to their employees;
  • Which benefits employees actually value the most; and 
  • How benefits impact employees and a company’s bottomline

Top Benefits Employers Think Employees Value the Most 

Employers surveyed said they believe employees most value the following five benefits–and here’s the percentage of the employers who are currently offering these benefits: 

  1. Health Insurance (98%)
  2. Retirement Planning (85%)
  3. Paid Time Off (82%)
  4. Parental / Family Leave (60%)
  5. Mental Health Support (34%)

Top Benefits Employees Actually Value the Most 

In comparison, Care also asked employees at those same companies to share what  benefits they feel are most important to them and here is what they ranked as the top five.

  1. Health insurance (90%)
  2. Paid time off (84%)
  3. Retirement planning (66%)
  4. Family care benefits (59%)
  5. Parental/family leave (53%)

Interestingly, both employers and employees agree that health insurance, paid time off and retirement planning are among the most highly valued benefits. But more than half of employees (59%) ranked family care benefits as one of their top needs, yet the majority of employers  did not have this on their top priority list. 

Why Family Care Benefits are Valued by Employees

With 73% of all employees having caregiving responsibilities, it makes sense that employees are seeking support with care needs. Plus, today’s caregiving landscape is not making it easy on working parents or caregivers. According to the 2023 Cost of Care report, child care is now unaffordable for the majority of U.S. families. To make matters worse, care is hard to find for most families. 

In the wake of the pandemic, caregiver shortages peaked, and now with the “Child Care Cliff” on the horizon, 70,000 child care centers are projected to close, potentially eliminating 3.2 million child care spots,  Clearly, working families need caregiving benefits now more than ever–or many will be forced to reduce their hours or quit their jobs to care for their families. This, of course, will lead to costly losses for employers. 

Employer-sponsored caregiving benefits help working parents and caregivers find care so they can get to work. Programs such as those offered by Care for Business include a marketplace to help employees find background-checked child and senior caregivers, and subsidized Backup Care programs to help employees fill gaps in routines.  Other top caregiving benefits offered by employers in 2023, include flexible and remote work arrangements, paid parental leave, lactation support, pet care benefits, wellness and mental health benefits, and employee discounts. 

Fortunately for employees, family care benefits are now starting to be on the radar of today’s HR leaders. According to the 2023 Future of Benefits Report, 95% of employers are recalibrating their benefits packages this year–and nearly half (46%) are prioritizing child care and senior care benefits as a way to improve productivity and retention. 

The Impact of Family Care Benefits on Employees and Employers

The Benefits Impact Survey confirmed that when employees have access to benefits that help them find care for their families, employers benefit from reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and improved recruitment and retention. 

  • 87% of employees miss work when their regular care is not available but with Care benefits, employers see a 30% decrease in employee absences
  • Employees with Care benefits report a 56% boost in their productivity and employees report a 34% increase in productivity 
  • 70% of employees indicate they are more likely to stay at their company if they offer Care benefits–and employers report a 29% increase in their recruitment and a 21% decrease in employee turnover.

Employers can also calculate the potential return on their investment by calculating their annual savings from lost productivity and saved recruiting costs. 

 So if you are an HR leader looking to change your benefits strategies next year, now is the time to consider the needs of your employees, and the importance of offering family care benefits to support your employees–and your company’s bottomline. 

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