Benefits, Perks, and Employee Satisfaction

HR professionals sometimes blur the line on what is considered a benefit and what is a perk.  Also, some HR professionals expect perks and benefits to lead to employee satisfaction on its own.  In this article, we will discuss some of the differences and provide a brief guide on how to use perks to boost employee satisfaction. 

Benefits

Benefits are items employers offer employees that employees need.  Benefits are items like health insurance, life insurance, paid leave, family leave, 401K, or retirement plans. Benefits are items that holistically help employees live without financial worries.  Offering benefits also adds to overall employee satisfaction, it demonstrates that companies appreciate their employees.  However, many companies provide benefits without being a great benefit for their employees. 

Many employers offer benefits that are sub-par or contribute extraordinarily little into them.  The average healthcare contributions made by employers are 82% for single coverage and 70% for family coverage.  While offering healthcare benefits come with a cost, it is beneficial to offer better benefits and increase contribution for both single and family coverage.  Smaller firms and companies contribute even less, they contribute as little as 16% if they offer insurance at all.  Employee benefits will directly affect overall employee satisfaction, if an employer contributes extraordinarily little and pass the cost on the employee, this will negatively affect the employee. 

Similarly, some companies offer retirement plans with little contribution to them.  The average employer contribution is 4.7 percent. Many employees need to save for retirement, employees should assist employees with contributing to employee retirement funds.  This will help with improving employee satisfaction and support retaining talent. 

Perks

Perks are often less costly than benefits and easier to implement.  Perks can be items like wellness programs, paid lunches, employee recognition rewards, child-care, flexible work schedules, career development, tuition reimbursement, work-life balance, etc.  Perks are items that help employees live fuller and richer lives, some items also may lead to better productivity and talent development.  Tuition reimbursement will help professionals to develop new skills that can be applied directly to improving a company’s talent base.  Wellness programs will also help companies to increase productivity and lessen absences due to sickness or poor health, etc.  Having employees embrace healthy lifestyles will also have benefits elsewhere.  

Offering perks, help supplement benefits and help increase general employee satisfaction, by taking care of the physical and psychological needs of employees.  However, perks alone will not automatically create employee satisfaction, rather perks and benefits are the foundation to build employee satisfaction.  It is the scaffolding to build and demonstrate that employers care for the health and lives of their employees, combining this with great organizational cultures and communication will lead to an increase in employee satisfaction. 

Employee Satisfaction

Great benefits and perks are only the building blocks to help ensure employee satisfaction.  There are several factors that affect overall satisfaction.  In 2014, BCG produced a study linking multiple factors to employee satisfaction.  BCG surveyed over 200,000 people worldwide asking questions about what employees really cared about when it comes to work.  They found the number one factor for employee satisfaction is an appreciation of an employee’s work.  To foster employee satisfaction, companies need to be committed to improving communication styles and showing appreciation for the efforts of their employees.  

BCG discovered other factors that lead to employee satisfaction.  They were good relationships with co-workers, work-life balance, relationships with managers, company financial stability, career development, job security, attractive salary, interesting work, and finally company values.  It is important to note, the vast majority of what is important is causally related to organizational cultures.  Focusing on developing a better work culture will help foster happier and more productive employees and ultimately businesses. 

beepHR and beepShift equip perks and benefits programs mainly provided from employees’ appreciation for co-workers. These programs increase productivity and employees’ satisfaction.

beepHR, a New HR Evaluation Tool for Everyday Use
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