Top 10 Employee Benefits 2018

Last updated: 2020-07-104 min read time
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What makes your employees happy at work?

In our recent employee happiness index, we found that good managers (88%), workplace culture & colleagues (85%) and a strong work/life balance (84%) are the top 3 factors in choosing a workplace today. So too are employee benefits.

Our findings reveal that, on average, employees who are most happy with their workplace benefits are up to a fifth more engaged than those who are least happy. Our data also suggests that it’s not just quality but also quantity that can make a big difference. Employees who receive more than twenty benefits are, on average, 17% more engaged than those who receive fewer than ten.

What are the most popular employee benefits in 2018?

In our groundbreaking Employee Happiness Index 2018, we surveyed over 20,000 employees and HR leaders to find out the top 10 employee benefits for today’s employees. And we didn’t just ask about popular benefits, but we wanted to know which benefits employees say are most important to them, and which ones they say are their most appreciated benefits.

And there’s a difference. Employees perceive benefits in terms of importance and appreciation – and attach different kinds of value to each. In other words, the benefits which the head says we need, and the benefits which the heart says we could probably live without – but would be fun to have.

We measured employee satisfaction and engagement across a whole range of popular benefits, including:

  • Health & wellness benefits (gym, fitness, massage etc.)
  • Pension benefits
  • Employee insurances
  • Employee healthcare
  • Flexible working and vacation benefits
  • Employee personal finance benefits (financial counseling, advice, services etc.)
  • Employee financial incentives (bonus, commission etc.)
  • Work/life balance benefits (home cleaning, food delivery, childcare etc.)
  • Career, training and skills development
  • Employee clubs, associations and events
  • Workplace food and drink benefits (lunch subsidy, coffee, fruit etc.)
  • Employee mobility benefits (commuting, bikes, company cars etc.)

The results were not so straightforward, but varied quite significantly across age, industry and other demographical factors. Want to find out the most popular benefits for each workplace generation (generation Z, millennial, generation X and babyboomers)? Get a detailed breakdown for free today by downloading the Employee Happiness Index 2018.

Ready to find out the top benefits across all age groups? Continue below!

Top 10 most important employee benefits in 2018

Working hours- and vacation benefits are ranked by all employees as their most important benefit – except for today’s graduates and young professionals who ranked health and wellness benefits as more important. Surprisingly, the same 5 benefits feature in the top five across all generations (however vary in terms of priority).

10. Mobility benefits

9. Food and drink benefits

8. Insurances

7. Financial incentives

6. Work/life balance benefits


Top 10 most appreciated employee benefits in 2018

Health and wellness benefits are ranked as the most appreciated benefit for all employee groups – apart from (you guessed it…) the workplace’s youngest employees who instead opted for food and drink benefits and staff clubs.

And that’s not the only way in which Generation Z employees differ. While the same benefits feature in the top five across all other generations (albeit with varying priority), today’s graduates and young professionals were the only workplace group to include work/life balance benefits in their top five. Surprisingly, career and development benefits don’t feature in the top 5 for generation Z employees – suggesting that these benefits have completed the transition from “nice to have” (appreciated) to “needed” (important).

10. Insurances

9. Healthcare benefit

8. Mobility benefits

7. Financial incentives

6. Work/life balance benefits


Want to see the top 5 most popular benefits? Download the Employee Happiness Index 2018 for free today and find out:

  • How a benefits strategy can define your next steps as a business
  • The best way to communicate with today’s employees
  • Which benefits increase performance
  • The reasons why your competitors offer benefits