What Benefits Employees Value Most in 2021
11.01.2021 | The pandemic shook up the global workplace, making remote work the new normal. This shift expanded the job market for candidates, as jobs are not necessarily dependent on location. Despite the pandemic, 1 in 5 workers voluntarily changed employers in 2020, according to a global survey by IBM Institute of Business Value, a business research organization.
Having a deeper pool of candidates makes competition for top talent even tougher. Many employers are updating their incentive packages to align with this new era.
What benefits do employees want?
Flexible work schedules, the latest technology and a strong diversity and inclusion policy are among employees’ main priorities in today’s workplace.
Flexible work schedule
Employees value flexibility. According to a 2020 survey by Citrix, 88% of employees indicated that they would look for a company offering flexible working hours and location when seeking a new position.
Further, a lack of flexibility in work schedule and location was the most common reason people changed jobs last year, with 32% of respondents citing that as an issue, the IBM survey found.
Employers should keep in mind that employers work differently, and working remotely may be more challenging for some employees. For example, an employee could be juggling distractions, such as children or pets. Employers can be open to adjusting schedules to accommodate workers, such as allowing an employee to work more evening than daytime hours. Workers typically are more productive when given flexibility.
The Citrix survey also found that 88% of employees say they look for companies with the latest collaborative technology when seeking a new position. Technology makes it easier for employees to be productive and work together. It also can provide employees a path to regularly connect with senior management.
Further, communication tools promote career agility, keeping employees up to date with how business is conducted.
Learning and development
Employees seek training and education to maintain and improve their skills and talent. Reskilling gives employees new skills to perform a different job and upskilling provides new skills for employees to use on their current job. Eighty-seven percent of employees responding to the Citrix survey indicated that knowing a clear path of how their job will progress is important in the recruitment process.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Workers want to work in a place that emphasizes diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). They want to feel safe and supported and that different viewpoints are valued. A 2021 survey by CNBC found that 78% of workers say that it is important to them to work at a company that prioritizes diversity and inclusion.
Workplace happiness is tied in with a company’s DEI efforts. Companies that do not prioritize DEI have a lower employee satisfaction score, according to the CNBC survey. Employees who are satisfied in the workplace are more likely to remain with the company.
Employee wellness programs are a key part of an employee benefits package. Physical, mental and financial help are increasingly important to employees. Health insurance, retirement plans and paid and unpaid leave are among the most important benefits cited by employees.
However, a more holistic, personalized approach to employee wellness also is becoming more important for employees. This can include:
- Mental health services, such as access to a 24/7 helpline
- Telehealth services for remote patient-clinician care and advice
- Stress management training
- Guidance and support for nutrition, fitness, sleep and mental health
Providing these services can make employees happier and more effective at work.
As the workplace evolves following the pandemic, employers must offer incentives that employees value. Attractive benefits packages and employee programs will keep companies competitive in the bid to attract and retain top talent.