We know that benefits can be a powerful tool for attracting top talent in a competitive job market. But a solid benefits package can do much more than just that; it can be a driving force in what either keeps employees happy, or what causes them to leave. No matter how fantastic a job might be, no matter how great the salary, poor benefits offerings can still cause a valued employee to leave. Why? The answer can be summed up in two short phrases: work-life balance and happiness.
The relationship between benefits, work-life balance, and happiness
The 2013 Aflac WorkForces report showed that 68% of workers who were satisfied with their benefits offerings were also satisfied with their jobs in general, compared to just 5% who reported that they were satisfied with their jobs in general, but not satisfied with their benefits.
The relationship between benefits and happiness can be explained by a few different things, namely work-life balance. This term is being mentioned a lot in recent years, as the connected nature of our lives has blurred the lines between home and work further and further. Employees want to feel like they can freely live their lives outside of work, having the time and flexibility to raise families, pursue non career-related ventures, and participate in leisure activities.
Without this balance, employees become stressed, burnt out, and eventually leave their positions in search of something with a more positive impact on their lives. This unfortunate situation can be prevented altogether with the right benefits package.
How better benefits improve work-life balance
Innovative, comprehensive benefits packages improve work-life balance, which leads to happier employees. Notably, employees tend to be happier when they have balance in these key areas:
- Family. Employees who are parents or caretakers don’t want to feel like they have to choose between being a good caretaker and being a good employee. They want to be able to disconnect from work at a reasonable hour and take time off to attend important events and care for sick children.
- Personal interests. Whether it be continued education, professional development, or an interesting hobby, being able to pursue interests outside of their job duties is important for employees to live a fulfilling life.
- Stress management/wellness. It’s important that employees are taking care of their physical and mental health, both inside and out of the workplace.
Benefits that cater to these needs can help create the work-life balance that employees need.
How this helps employers too
Employees are not the only ones who will see the benefits of improved work-life balance. Employers will benefit from having employees who are free from stress and have a positive attitude toward their workplace. These employees have lower absenteeism, higher productivity, and increased sense of loyalty. Together, this creates a recipe for success for employers.
Some benefits to consider
While each employer needs to consider the age, location, gender, and socioeconomic needs of their employees, there are some common benefits to consider that will improve work-life balance. These include:
Early Friday releases. Employees may increase productivity during the week if they know they get to leave a few hours earlier on Friday. Therefore, this doesn’t negatively impact bottom line. If your organization is hesitant about implementing this, consider trialing it during the summer.
Flexible work schedule and remote work options. The Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Survey showed that 62% of organizations allowed some degree of telecommuting and 57% offered flextime, which allows employees to work hours of their choosing. This gives employees a better feeling of control over their work environment and allows them to do things outside of work without sacrificing productivity.
Unlimited vacation time. Unlimited PTO is more than just a recruitment tactic. When employees do not have to stress about limited PTO days, they can be more productive when they are in the office, yet take the time to rest and rejuvenate when they need to.
The best way to find the benefits that will keep your employees happy and increase work-life balance is simply to ask them. Haver periodic conversations about employee needs, and what you can do to implement their feedback. Making the effort alone can make a big difference!