Common Employee Benefits and How to Go Beyond Them

Your company likely already offers a robust benefits package, chock-full with all the standard perks of your industry. Now let’s talk about how you can take that package to the next level.

Typical employee benefits packages have long reflected a specific set of standards which aim to provide committed workers with a few advantages that support numerous necessities of modern life. Some of these benefits, written into the foundations of many corporate guidelines, must by law be made available to employees within organizations reflecting certain criteria. 

So-called “perks of the job,” including accessible healthcare and retirement planning, are considered vital elements within most employee support plans. But are they enough to help your contemporary workforce thrive?

Foundational as they are, many benefits package staples were designed for another time, and to an entirely different set of employee expectations. A majority-Millennial and Gen-Z labor pool want more than just a paycheck and PTO – they want an employer who will invest in their long-term success and development, and they are willing to fight for it. 

Your company likely already offers a robust benefits package, chock-full with all the standard perks of your industry. Now let’s talk about how you can take that package to the next level. 

What are common employee benefits

The really truly common employee benefits are those which we would be surprised to find missing from any organization’s curriculum. And these extend beyond the list of benefits which companies within the US are legally obligated to provide to their workforce. These include:

  • Social security benefits.
  • Medicare benefits.
  • Unemployment.
  • Worker’s comp.
  • Paid family medical leave.

All of the above were mandated by the implementation of various federal legal actions, and are designed to both protect an employer from liability, and “mitigate economic hardship” for employees in the event of a personal disaster. Individual states may also require businesses to provide additional benefits to their employees. 

All advantages not on this list are largely considered voluntary on the part of the company, however businesses who choose not to provide other common benefits risk losing a competitive edge within their industry and will likely experience difficulty in recruiting and turnover rates. 

Common types of employee benefits

Standard employee benefits generally fall into one of a number of different categories. These include:

  • Medical benefits. Medical benefits support the health and wellbeing of your employees, as well as qualifying members of their families. Typical healthcare packages include standard medical care, dental care, vision insurance, and health-related spending accounts.

  • Insurance benefits. Non-medical insurance benefits are designed to protect the wellbeing and livelihood of your employees in case of unforeseen events and emergencies. Typical insurance packages include life, disability, and unemployment insurances.

  • Retirement benefits. Retirement benefits allow your workers to set a financial foundation which will help to support them in their old age. Different kinds of retirement solutions include 401K accounts, IRAs, pension, and stock.

  • Paid time off (PTO). PTO supports a healthy work/life balance for your employees, and enables them to be present for inevitable life events without the risk of financial hardship. PTO benefits typically include sick leave, vacation time, family medical leave, bereavement, and increasingly parental leave. 

Most common employee benefits

If past employee cohorts have generally been satisfied with your benefits package, this list will look very familiar to you. Here are the top 8 employee benefits most US organizations offer today.

  1. Healthcare. This includes both emergency and non-emergency health benefits.
  2. Dental care. Dental insurance is generally considered a separate benefit from non-dental health insurance, and most employers choose to provide a separate benefit to support their employee’s oral health.

  3. Vision care. Similarly, vision is seldom included except in very robust medical packages, and employers can choose to provide separate vision insurance for their workforce.

  4. Generic PTO. This  includes paid vacation and holidays, and other eventualities requiring time away from work such as obligations related to jury duty.

  5. Medical leave. This includes personal medical leave as well as family medical leave.

  6. Retirement benefits. As described in the last section, common retirement programs include employer-supported IRAs and 401K savings accounts.

  7. Fringe benefits. This includes more what one might consider a “perk,” including breakroom snacks, meal tickets, casual company gatherings, and more.

  8. Flexible scheduling. Especially in the continued wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies are allowing workers who can define their own hours and work from home when allowable/desired. 

Why employers need to go beyond common employee benefits

In a stat collected from the hashtag HRWins, 60% of employees still list quality healthcare and paid time off among the top benefits impacting their sense of engagement at work. This is an excellent argument for maintaining these critical advantages as a top priority, however organizations should also consider which benefits are going to keep them competitive as employers in the eyes of job-seekers as well as their current staff. Maintaining only a roster of common benefits will not help your organization to stand out. 

Job security, financial stability, and opportunities for advancement are now among the top priorities listed by an anxious global workforce, and organizations are in a position to provide these things as benefits to their workforce. 

In a survey from Degreed, 46% of employees are worried their skills will quickly become irrelevant in the face of rapidly modernizing technology. A similar percentage of workers say they would leave their job if the employer didn’t provide them with opportunities to update their skillset. 

70% of employees interviewed by Harris Poll would leave their current company for an organization which invests in workforce education. 

94% of employees surveyed by Randstad want employers to offer a benefits package extending beyond the emergent – paying off student loans and flexible scheduling were among the top priorities. 

Another 94% of workers polled by LinkedIn would feel more engaged by an employer who supported internal professional development. 

Going past common employee benefits

The workforce is considering how employers can support their long-term wellbeing, both in the financial sense as well as in the context of their lifestyle beyond work. And it’s up to your business to deliver. 

Here are a few decidedly non-traditional work advantages that are quickly becoming centerpieces of a modern benefits package.

  1. Flexible scheduling. If your company hasn’t already gotten on this bandwagon, the time to do so is now. Increased flexibility in employee scheduling with no decrease in compensation benefits employees by allowing for a better work/life balance, and benefits your organization by fostering better productivity and making you a more desirable employer.

  2. Personalized workforce education. Employees want to update their skills, earn advanced degrees, or change their fields entirely, preferably without incurring the monumental student debt associated with college education today. Whether you offer debt repayment programs, tuition assistance, or a more contemporary solution, a robust educational offering can give you the competitive edge among top talent.

  3. Financial wellness solutions. You can empower your employees to create their own financial stability beyond just providing them with competitive pay (which you should absolutely continue doing). Financial anxiety can set in when workers don’t know how to make their money work for them, but you can mitigate that fear by providing comprehensive support which both teaches employees how to handle their finances, and allows them to keep track of every aspect of their income.

Adding Origin to your employee benefits program

Origin is a holistic financial solution that fosters financial literacy and financial health and wellness for a variety of employee bases. Our easy and accessible platform lets employees see all their financial information in one place, make wise investments, save smartly, and plan for the future. Businesses offering Origin as a benefit can enjoy increased productivity and performance when their employees have better financial stability and comfort.

Request a free demo today to see what else Origin can do for you.


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