What Do Employees Want?

By John Walch
August 30, 2007

A recent survey of over 1,200 employees indicates that exceptional health benefits are the most desired benefit currently not offered by employers.  In fact, comprehensive health benefits are one of the three top reasons why survey respondents have stayed with their employers.  And among benefits employees do not have, 100% health care coverage is considered more desirable than competitive salary. 

The survey also indicated that 62% of employees are currently actively or passively looking for a new job; 41% do so while at work.  Given that degree of potential employee loss, employers should pay careful attention to what benefits will encourage employees to stay.  In addition to health care coverage, competitive salary and compressed work weeks were top priorities.  401(k) matching contributions and tuition reimbursement programs were also popular with employees.

We have previously mentioned the skyrocketing cost of providing health coverage to employees.  What options are available to an employer who cannot afford increasing coverage?  The best may be to treat employees with respect and make them feel rewarded for their efforts.  The survey reports that 32% of employees who are not satisfied with their current employer would become so if they were treated better.  And 26% of employees said feeling rewarded and inspired was a leading reason they stay with their current employer.  Almost 20% of employees with fewer than 5 years' tenure left because they felt they lacked inspiring work. 

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