Industry News, Payroll, Administrative, Human Capital Management

When it comes to benefits, which is better - Quality or Quantity

September 28, 2020

Is it better to provide your employees with higher quality perks and benefits, or more of them? At first, you may have trouble answering this question - and that's not shocking. Some employees may care more about the number of paid time off or sick days they have, while others might desire better health insurance and other perks like paid paternity leave. So, doesn't it really come down to personal preferences?

Well, yes, which is why there's room for both approaches to the design of benefit plans. There's no reason a company can't offer many high-quality perks and benefits.

"There's no reason a company can't offer many high quality perks and benefits."

There's room for both benefits concepts
When companies offer employees a list of benefits, they should be both high-quality benefits (health and retirement options) and those that enable employees to better balance their work and personal lives (vacation, work from home, and sick days).

In a 2012 Monster survey of over 1,600 participants of varying employment, gender, household income and career level, 32 percent of respondents said the most important or "valued" benefit was the health care plan. However, this was followed very closely by vacation time (25 percent).

What does this mean? We interpret this as a sign that employees want to be offered benefits that take into consideration both quality and quantity.

Admittedly, the study is now 4 years old. Are the results still valid? The answer is a resounding "yes". In a 2015 study conducted by MetLife, 53 percent of employees said they'd recommend companies that offered between 1 and 5 benefits. That number rose to 66 percent when the companies offered 11 or more benefits.

"Throughout the study, the positive impact of the number of benefits an employer offered was clear, likely because the greater number of options provides employees with the opportunity to tailor benefits to their specific needs," said Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits, at MetLife, according to a release.

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At the same time, the quality of benefits (particularly health care) is still extremely important. In a Glassdoor analysis of its global Benefits Review database, it found that the two benefits that impacted an employee's overall satisfaction with its employers were quality health insurance and 401(k) retirement plans. Vacation and paid time off came in at No. 3.

So what do all of these statistics boil down to? People value quality and quantity, but the type of benefits offered also matters. For example, you may offer a terrific public transportation assistance program, but if your employees don't use public transportation, it is a useless benefit. It doesn't make much sense to offer employees a long list of benefits if they're of poor quality or are not in demand.


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