10 Top Perks and Benefits That Win Employees Over

By Robert Half on October 28, 2019 at 8:02am

Over-the-top perks and benefits aren’t uncommon in some areas of the country, such as Toronto or Vancouver. While some generous companies subsidize lunch options, others comp them altogether.

Now figure in some of the more unique corporate perks, like pet-sitting services and free dry-cleaning delivery, and employees may never again have to open their wallets at work.

Like it or not, we spend the majority of our waking workweeks at the office. Many firms understand this and try to make the time away from our personal lives as comfortable as possible. After all, happy employees mean higher productivity, greater creativity and less turnover.

One way to perk up your team? Invest in their overall contentment with appealing perks and benefits. A recent Robert Half survey showed there’s a disconnect between the perks and the benefits workers want and what companies actually offer. The perks employees most want are flexible work schedules (88 per cent), a compressed workweek (66 per cent) and the ability to telecommute (55 per cent). While many companies offer flexible work schedules (62 per cent), our survey found fewer than one in five offer shorter workweeks or remote work options.  

When it comes to money, there’s less of a disconnect between companies and employees: The main type of financial rewards companies offer is annual or biannual bonuses (44 per cent), which was also the most desired among professionals (77 per cent) when considering a job offer. 

Whether you provide free food and coffee or the standard fare, here are the 10 top corporate perks and benefits — and why companies are wise to consider offering them.

Defining perks and benefits

They are sometimes used interchangeably, but for our purposes, here’s how we’ll define the two types of company extras:

Benefits — as in employee benefits — are a form of non-wage compensation. If not offered by the employer, employees would likely have to fund them on their own.

Perks — as in perquisites or corporate perks — are nice-to-have additions to an employee’s salary and benefits package. We define perks as above-and-beyond offerings that may sway an employee to value one employer over another. Think “icing on the cake.”

5 benefits top employers offer

  1. Healthcare. After salary, this benefits staple is of the utmost importance to many job candidates and typically includes medical, dental, vision and/or life insurance coverage for employees and their families. In our survey, health insurance was one of the two most wanted employee benefits, along with paid time off.
  2. Paid time off. Whether it’s for vacation, illness or bereavement, PTO — personal time off — is highly valued by employees and a great way to combat burnout. Two weeks is standard for new hires, but three or more weeks of PTO can be hard to pass up for many candidates.
  3. Retirement savings plans. An RRSP plan can be an excellent way to motivate employees to save for retirement. Offering to match contributions up to a certain amount is a big plus in the eyes of workers and can encourage them to stick with your firm.
  4. Maternity/paternity leave. Employees want to feel like they can pursue career goals following the birth or adoption of a child. Hence, many companies offer paid time off for new parents.
  5. Professional development. Now more than ever, employees want opportunities for professional development, to master new skills and to grow into other roles. (This is especially important to millennials who are particularly concerned about career path options.) Funding training and continuing education can be incredibly beneficial to both employee and employer.

Get the Robert Half Salary Guides now! Starting salary ranges, insight into the latest benefits and perks, hiring trends — the guides have it all. 

5 persuasive perks to enhance recruitment and retention

  1. Work from anywhere. We’re all familiar with the work-from-home option, but how about the ability to work from anywhere, even when you’re in the office? More and more companies are loosening up and allowing employees to choose the location and space that is most conducive to getting the job done. As highlighted above, telecommuting and flexible work schedules were the most desired perks among employees we surveyed.
  2. Workplace wellness programs. Your employees are the most valuable resources you have, so invest in their health and wellness. Whether it’s through a paid gym membership program, on-site yoga classes or health screenings (or all of the above), these perks keep on giving, considering how wellness affects productivity and creativity.
  3. Free food (and good coffee). Some companies, like Google and Pixar, go all out, offering every meal, snack and treat for free. This appetizing perk can save employees a lot of time and money. (Plus, it’s great for spontaneous eaters/poor meal planners.)
  4. Concierge services. Employees value work-life balance. And errands and chores are boring even when you have the time to do them. Win over employees (and recruits) by providing access to a concierge service that assists with daily tasks like dry cleaning pickup or basic auto servicing.
  5. Transportation or parking reimbursement. If employees have to travel long distances, pay tolls and parking, cross bridges, traverse tunnels or brave public transportation, offering to foot part or all of the bill can be a big plus.

While great perks and benefits will no doubt help your efforts to recruit and retain good people, remember that job candidates want to work with companies whose values align with their own. Build and promote your attractive company culture and establish a reputation for fostering a supportive working environment. 



    What workers want What companies offer
  Flexible work schedules 88% 62%
  Compressed workweek 66% 17%
  Telecommuting 55% 14%
  On-site amenities (e.g. gym, childcare) 38% 23%
  Paid time off for volunteer activities 31% 21%
  Employee social events 21% 44%


    What workers want What companies offer
  Annual or biannual bonuses 77% 44%
  Profit-sharing plan 49% 33%
  Sign-on bonuses 49% 19%
  Retention bonuses 41% 12%
  Spot bonuses 32% 22%
  Stock options 29% 9%
  Deferred compensation plan 23% 12%


    What workers want What companies offer
  Health insurance 69% 88%
  Paid time off (vacations, sick days, paid holidays) 67% 80%
  Retirement savings plan 48% 52%
  Dental insurance 37% 71%
  Vision insurance 16% 60%
  Pretax programs (e.g., commuter benefits, spending accounts, HSAs) 15% 22%
  Life insurance and AD&D insurance 13% 53%
  Leave of absence 11% 44%
  Disability insurance (short-term and/or long-term) 10% 58%
  Employee assistance program 8% 39%
  Tuition assistance or reimbursement 6% 14%

Robert Half surveys of more than 1,500 workers and 600 HR managers in North America.

Multiple responses were permitted.

© 2018 Robert Half International Inc.

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