What Employee Benefits Are Most Important to Employees?

Last updated: 2020-09-294 min read time
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Forward-thinking organizations know how employee benefits can support employee wellbeing, increase employee engagement, and even create employee advocacy. However, to do any of these things, the benefits offered must, of course, resonate with employees.

So, what benefits are most important to employees? As we write in our new report, The Benefits & Engagement Report, the answer to this question is complicated.

To compile our new report, we surveyed approximately 5,000 participants aged 18 and older in the UK, Germany, and Sweden to discover what benefits are most important, what benefits they would consider changing employers, and how they access their benefits today.

Needs and Wants Vary Country to Country

While some benefits are considered important in all three countries we surveyed, each country is also unique.

For example, flexibility and work-life balance rank highly in the UK. Mobility is considered more important in Germany than in Sweden and the UK, while skills development is less so. Healthcare benefits, especially wellbeing benefits, rank higher in Sweden than in the other two countries.

Needs and Wants Change with Age

Not only are there differences between countries, but there are also differences between age groups. In Sweden, mobility benefits, such as cycling, public transport, or car benefits, are more important for those under 40 than over, while work-life balance is most important for employees between 30 and 39.

In Germany, bonus & profit sharing and flexibility are the two benefits considered most important for all ages, while food and drink benefits (e.g., lunch subsidies) are also regarded as important to both 18-29-year-olds and 30-39-year-olds, ranking even higher than healthcare and pension benefits.

In the UK, flexibility (e.g., working hours, the ability to work from home) is the most important benefit for all age groups except those over 60. Bonus & profit sharing is the second most important benefit for all age groups except those over 60, where interestingly it becomes the most important.


Needs and Wants Vary Country by Gender

Even once you have considered geographical location and age, there are also differences to consider when it comes to which benefits men and women consider most important.

Our survey shows that certain benefits, such as insurance, food and drink, and employee discounts, are almost equally important for men and women. However, we see that flexibility, work-life balance, and skills development rank higher among women than men, while mobility and pensions rank higher among men than women. To add further complexity, don't forget that gender preferences also differ from country to country!

Getting It Right, Right Now

Almost everyone's work conditions have changed due to COVID-19, and the support that employee benefits can provide cannot be overstated. Supporting employee wellbeing has never been more critical than today, and employee benefits are one of the most effective ways to offer your employees support.

With multiple generations sharing the workplace, it's crucial that a company's benefits offering has something for everyone and meets each individual's needs. How? One of the ways is through a flexible benefits plan offered by the employer allowing employees to select from a variety of pre-tax offerings to create a customized benefits package that matches their needs. Of course, knowing what benefits are of value to your employees and which to include is key.

To discover the findings from our ground-breaking survey, download The Benefits and Engagement Report today!