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3 Benefits Your Employees Really Want

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Employees huddled around a desk collaborating on a project.

With unemployment continuing to hover below four percent, the competition to attract and retain quality talent is higher than ever. Salary and company culture go a long way toward hiring and retaining quality talent, but employee benefits count for more than you might think, especially in a tight job market.

If you own or manage a small-to-medium sized business, it’s easy to be dissuaded by stories about startups and tech companies with office beer gardens and on-site arcades. These perks sound cool, but these are not the benefits that sustain long-term employee retention.

The benefits that do the most for employee engagement are easier to deliver than you might think. Here are a few things to consider as you make your plans for 2019:

Time Off

This is a big one, especially around the holidays. If you want to recruit employees from outside your immediate area, their families will likely live in different parts of the state or country.

Giving a few extra days off between Christmas and New Year’s Day makes longer trips to see family much more feasible. The same applies to Thanksgiving and Easter/Passover in the spring.

Many employees use these days as vacation anyway so you can gain a lot of goodwill without losing much productivity in the process. If your team members do not need to use vacation days around the holidays, they can save that time for vacations at other points during the year.

Flexible Schedules

The days of working at the office from 9:00 to 5:00 every day are quickly fading away. Employees, especially younger generations, expect that they will be able to work where they want and when they want.

Or maybe there’s room to be more accommodating to people in your organization who have children. Daycare schedules do not always line up with office schedules so giving a little flexibility at the beginning and the end of the day can go a long way toward helping family schedules run more smoothly.

Making these does not require any extra investment, only a bit of an open mind when it comes to when and how work is completed. Consider adding flex time and remote work options to your benefits and making sure that meetings are scheduled at times that work best for everyone’s schedules.

Educational Support

An advanced degree is becoming more and more common these days, especially in professional positions. With student debt at an all-time high, your team members might not be able to pay for another degree without a little help.

Providing educational support requires more financial investment than the other items on this list, but is well worth it in the end. Knowing that you value education and lifelong learning will help boost employee retention and give your organization a positive reputation among job seekers.


If money is an obstacle, consider creating a scholarship fund that will support one or two employees. You can use it as a starting point and grow the funding base from there.

When In Doubt …

Time off, flexible working arrangements, and educational support are just a few of the benefits that can help you can recruit and retain quality employees. There is no one-size-fits-all solution that will work for every organization.

The best way to find out what your employees want is to ask them! Taking the time to seek to input on perks and benefits will go a long way toward creating a company culture that demonstrates how important people are to the organization.

What are some benefits or perks that you find work best to offer your employees?