When it comes to the compensation and benefits world, it’s hard to keep up. And as the needs of your employees change, their expectations of how they will be compensated do too. That’s forcing companies like yours and others all over America to look for creative ways to keep their people satisfied, engaged and around. Competitive compensation and fringe benefits do just that.
You have to ask yourself, Are the benefits basics really what my employees are looking for? Is it enough to keep them from jumping ship? You have to offer your employees what they want—or they’ll find it somewhere else.
So, what do they want? A third of employees who don’t often change jobs—the people you want on your team because they’ll stick around—said they would switch jobs for better benefits.1 And 56% of workers said benefits are very important to their overall job satisfaction.2 In fact, 82% of those who said they are very satisfied with their benefits were also very satisfied with their jobs as a whole.3
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Sure, the basics, like health insurance and retirement plans, are nice. But when compensation is the reason that more than half of all workers are thinking about leaving their jobs, you’ve got to beef up your benefits if you want to keep them around.4
It’s very clear: Employees want better benefits. And bringing the right fringe benefits to the table is a great way to keep them satisfied, engaged and working for you.
What Are Fringe Benefits?
Basically, fringe benefits are any form of compensation that supplements a salary or wage. These benefits are typically taxable, except for a few specific instances.5
When you’ve got the right mix of fringe benefits in your offerings, it tells your team that you value them in more ways than a paycheck alone can say. And companies who have to compete to snag the best talent need to offer the best benefits to stay in the game. If they don’t come to the table with high-quality benefits, they’ll find it nearly impossible to recruit—much less keep—high-quality candidates.
So, if a paycheck is the reward for the work that is done, then fringe benefits are your way to show you care about the actual people doing the work—that you want them around for the long haul.
What Are Common Types of Fringe Benefits?
Some of the most common fringe benefits companies offer are types of insurance. Health, term life, disability, and identity theft protection insurance tell your employees that you care about them and their families as human beings. These foundational benefits are absolutely necessary if you’re aiming to have a competitive compensation package.
Retirement Plan Contributions
Offering a retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) with a company match is a concrete way to tell your team that you care about their futures and want to invest in them. Also, be sure to provide plenty of education about your retirement plans. Not understanding their plan is a common pain point for a lot of people—and a reason why many don’t take full advantage of these benefits. Think about it—even though 90% of employers offer some form of retirement benefit, only 64% of employees participate in them.6 Education is key.
Education Assistance and Repayment
A lot of companies have started providing education assistance (like 529 college savings programs), footing the bill for work-related conferences, and offering flexible schedules for students working full time.7 Student loan repayment plans with a company match via 401(k) are also picking up steam among employers and gaining popularity among employees. There are also some less-common benefits in this category, like scholarships, certification paths and tuition assistance.
Health and Wellness
Health and wellness fringe benefits aim to help employees practice healthy physical, mental and even financial habits. Companies usually offer these benefits in an attempt to reduce health care costs, boost productivity, and improve morale around the office. The benefits can be apps, programs, challenges and rewards, or reimbursements for gym memberships or mental health counseling.
Meals and Discounts
Everyone loves a free lunch! Some of the most competitive company-benefits packages out there include subsidized meals, snacks and drinks. And having healthy meal and snack options, or even an in-house barista, helps your employees feel at home while they’re at work. An in-office cafeteria, catered meals, happy hours or even company-sponsored dinner events are other common types of food-friendly benefits.
Another way to add to your fringe benefit offerings is to talk to local businesses and set up discounts for your employees (like a discount at a local movie theater or mechanic). This goes a long way for your employees, and it helps build community ties for your businesses.
No matter the size of your company, you probably have employees with young kids. A childcare assistance benefit could mean a lot to your team and help eliminate stress. This benefit could include covering daycare costs in part or in full, or maybe even providing childcare in your office.
What Fringe Benefits Do for Employees
Fringe benefits are meant to help relieve the pain points for your team. So before you start offering these benefits, you should first figure out what’s weighing your workers down.
What stressors do employees bring to work with them?
- 39% report that stressful personal situations and relationships affect them at work.
- 34% worry about the rising cost of health care.
- 24% wrestle with the stress of expenses related to caring for dependents.
- 22% say they struggle with personal or family debt (not including student loan debt).
- 19% stress about paying back student loans.
- 18% fear they don’t have enough saved for retirement.
- 16% say they’re stressed about being unsure of how to invest.8
By providing fringe benefits in these areas, you can help your team get rid of stress from their lives—and that happiness and stability will make them want to stick around and keep working for you!
What Offering Fringe Benefits Does for Your Business
So, here’s the deal. Employees are looking for better benefits. More than half of them are thinking about leaving their jobs because they’re not happy with their compensation, specifically benefits. So, if your benefits only meet the status quo, your people are likely part of this statistic. It doesn’t feel good knowing that half your employees have their LinkedIn status set to “open to job opportunities” for all those recruiters to see, does it?
There are a lot of things that affect retention, and your fringe benefits are some of the most important tools you have to keeping your employees around.
But the bonus to your business doesn’t end there. You communicate company values and build culture through the way you treat your employees. That means your company’s fringe benefits are essential to how they view their jobs, which influences company culture. And you can’t build a healthy culture if your people have one foot out the door. While a large part of that starts with who you hire, you move the needle for your business when you pair all the culture talk with benefits that back it up.
How to Do Right by Your Employees
Look, we get it. Not all businesses can cover all these benefits bases. But that shouldn’t stop you from being generous and adding value for your team! Offering them a benefit that truly makes a difference for them, like a financial wellness program, shows them that you care about them as people, not just as workers. And that builds culture.
With SmartDollar, your team can learn how to manage their money with commonsense principles using the 7 Baby Steps. Plus, they’ll have access to lessons from the top names in money about budgeting, saving, paying off debt and more. This is their chance to find real, lasting life-change with their money—and it’s your chance to be the secret weapon they need to experience it.
Want to learn more about what financial wellness can do for your company?