July 3, 2018

The 3 benefits that keep your employees happiest

By Ryan Ashton

By Ryan Ashton


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For employers, it’s getting harder to attract and hold on to top talent. Offering employee benefits that resonate with your staff can be a huge competitive advantage when it comes to winning the recruitment race.

The sad truth is that many employers offer the bare minimum when it comes to benefits rather than invest the time and money in keeping good employees engaged—but they do so at their own risk. A 2017 study found that each lost employee costs 33% of the employee’s base salary. With the average U.S worker salary at $45,000, that means $15,000 out of your pocket per employee—and that number is even higher for managers and leaders.

The benefits of employee retention and engagement goes beyond just the financial. Depending on the perk, they can serve as an investment in the organization’s long-term success. By offering the right benefits package, companies could even offer less in terms of an hourly wage and still attract talent—a survey from Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would choose extra benefits over a pay raise.

So which benefits are contributing the most to employee satisfaction?


Today, no benefit is more appreciated than the simple offer of flexibility.

An example, The Gap recently launched an experiment to implement stable and predictable scheduling for retail employees. The findings: employees with consistent scheduling, which allowed them to find a better work-life balance, were more engaged and motivated. The experiment resulted in an additional $3m in revenue (or a boost of about 7%).

A growing number of employers, such as Capital One Financial, Hilton and others, are offering employees similar options to customize their working arrangements by adjusting hours, schedules and even creating the opportunity to work from home. Today’s forward-thinking employers recognize the importance of catering to their employees’ work-life needs, and are primed to reap the benefits.


Employees are looking for job positions where they can hone their skills, take on greater responsibility and grow both personally and professionally.

So what can your business do to support those goals?

One of the biggest benefits driving employee happiness is the perception that the employer is invested in their success.

This can take many different forms: on-site training and development programs, external development opportunities (such as conferences, workshops or skill development programs), and educational contributions (such as tuition reimbursement or certification that aligns with the employee’s development path).

One study found that only 39% of hourly employees reported feeling supported in their career development. To add, many hourly employees have desires to progress in their company but say they are not receiving the guidance needed to advance.

Providing career development as part of a hiring package can help you stand out from other employers. And, as a bonus, you’ll create a pool of promotable employees with higher engagement, increased motivation and a reduced likelihood to take their skills elsewhere. 

A win-win situation.

Financial security

Financial stress can have a dramatically negative effect on your employees’ ability to work. When money problems impact a person’s livelihood, it’s nearly impossible to not leave it at the door. Think about a time when you were having trouble making ends meet—how able were you to focus on the work at hand?

A study conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics showed that nearly half of American workers worry every single week about making their money last until their next payday—for Gen Z and Millennial workers, it’s a majority.

The impact of stress in the workplace, whether internal or external, is clear.

A White House report found that 15% of employees in the US reported being stressed to the point that their work was suffering. Stressed employees are more likely to take sick days or time off, adding up to absenteeism costs of $496 to $1,984 per employee every year.

For employers, this means it’s important to take a more holistic approach, rather than just throwing higher wages at the problem.

A couple approaches to increase financial security:

Empowering employees to invest in their future, through 401(k) matching programs and stock purchasing plans, can increase the feeling of security for the long term.

Increased pay frequency and quicker access to their earned pay. When employees are less stressed about their finances, they’re happier and ultimately more productive at work. By offering this benefit, you’re eliminating stress about making money last ’til payday, and removing the need to turn to friends or family for emergency funds (or worse, predatory payday lenders).

By taking a more modern approach to address your employees’ desires for development, control and financial security, you’ll be able to build a more productive and loyal workforce.

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