Paid sick leave tops the list
HR and payroll software provider CIPHR recently polled 1001 people about which benefits, perks, and incentives are the most important for employees. According to the new research, 67% of employees said that paid sick leave matters most to them. Next on the list were flexible working hours at 57% and pension contribution matching at 46%.
Also important was mental health and wellbeing support, at 40%. This comes as no surprise after the pandemic and the ever-rising cost of living.
The order of importance depends largely on the individual being surveyed. For example, pension contribution matching is higher on the priority list than flexible working hours for those over 45 (59% vs. 45%). However, the opposite applies to respondents under 45 (57% vs. 42%).
Gender also played a role, where female respondents valued childcare assistance over a market value salary (27% vs. 21%). On the other hand, more men placed more importance on a performance bonus over a market-value salary (45% vs. 34%).
The top 15 benefits and perks were as follows:
- Paid sick leave (67%)
- Flexible working hours (57%)
- Pension contribution matching (46%)
- Mental health and wellbeing support (40%)
- Performance bonus (39%)
- Four-day work week on full-time pay (37%)
- Extra holiday allowance (32%)
- Employee discounts scheme (30%)
- Flexible working location (27%)
- Market-value salary (26%)
- Childcare assistance (23%)
- Health insurance or cash-back plans (21%)
- Extra paid day off for birthdays (21%)
- Extended paid parental leave (20%)
- Death benefits (18%)
- Unlimited paid leave (18%)
In a separate survey of 332 UK-based businesses, CIPHR found that employers only rated six of the 24 benefits in the same order as employees.
The top 10 benefits that employers think matter most to employees are:
- Mental health and wellbeing support
- Flexible working hours
- Paid sick leave
- Flexible working location
- Performance bonus
- Four-day work week on full-time pay
- Extra holiday allowance
- Health insurance or cash-back plans
- Childcare assistance
- Pension contribution matching
- Market-value salary
Matt Russell, Chief Commercial Officer at CIPHR, commented: “It is surprising to see such a disconnect between the benefits that employees value and what employers think – especially given how important good rewards and benefits packages are to attracting and retaining top talent and for supporting a great employee experience.”
“There is no one model or benefits scheme that works for every organisation. Employers need to spend time listening to their own employees to understand their needs and priorities and what benefits they want and value. For example, things like employee discounts, childcare assistance, and health or dental insurance, can go a long way to helping employees through the current cost-of-living crisis. And, what was once more important, pre-2020, has now been superseded by other benefits that reflect the growing shift to remote working and the desire for more flexibility at work.
“It won’t always be possible to deliver on every specific benefits request but organisations that can act on employee feedback, wherever possible, and provide agile and flexible benefits schemes are more likely to have a happier and engaged workforce.”
The significant differences between what employees actually value and what employers think their employees will value, indicate that organisations may be missing valuable opportunities to improve employee experience and engagement.