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Benefits More Important Than Salary? 80% Think Yes.

/ December 6, 2018 December 6, 2018

A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), found that 80 percent of respondents (2,026 U.S. adults, among whom 1,115 were employed) would choose a job with benefits over an identical job with 30 percent more salary but no benefits. The survey also found that three in ten employed adults (29 percent) are considering switching jobs in the next year. As you think about your 2019 recruiting and retention strategies, it’s clear that your employee benefits plans should be front of mind and leveraged to win the war on talent.

Understanding how to design employee benefit plans that stay within your budget and meet your employees’ needs is critical to your organization’s ability to attract and retain talent. One strategy to better understand employee needs and opinions of the plan is to create an employee benefits survey. Exude provides an employee benefits survey for our clients which asks employees specific questions about their existing plans to see what they do or do not value. We also ask their opinion on benefits related to their total rewards packages including vacation time, parental leave, tuition reimbursement, pet insurance, retirement plans, etc. Understanding what your employees value will help you design a benefits plan that is specific to your employees’ needs.

The AICPA report also suggests that although 88% of employees are confident they understand the benefits available to them, only 28 percent are very confident they are using their benefits to the fullest potential.

“Despite overestimating the value of their benefits as part of their total compensation, it is concerning that Americans are not taking full advantage of them,” said Greg Anton, CPA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Imagine how employees would react if they were not 100 percent confident they could get to all the money in their paycheck. Leaving benefits underutilized should be treated the same way. Americans need to take time to truly understand their benefits and make sure they’re not leaving any money on the table.”

As the second largest expense item on your balance sheet, employers should focus on communicating the full value of your employee benefit plans in 2019. Some strategies Exude recommends include:

• A 365 Communication campaign that provides regular communication about your plans
• Creating a recording of your benefit plans that captures the value and can be shared with spouses
• Capture the questions you get about plans and use that information as part of your communication strategy so employees can reference it throughout the year
• New hire benefit packets that highlight your plan’s features for new employees

Health plans, 401ks remain the most popular benefits

When responders were asked which three employee benefits would best help them reach their financial goals, both health insurance and 401k retirement plans were listed as a top-three benefit by 56 percent of respondents. A little over 30 percent added paid time off or pension plan as a top-three benefit. Other top benefits included flexible working hours (21 percent), and the ability to work remotely (15 percent). In addition, student loan forgiveness (15 percent) and tuition reimbursement (11 percent) were also included as important benefits, along with additional skills training (14 percent). Paid parental leave was listed as a top benefit by 7 percent of respondents.

When designing your employee benefits offerings, keep in mind that different generations have different opinions on what the best workplace benefits are for them. However, using the information in this survey can help you think about your benefit plan offerings in 2019.