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What are the top five benefits employees want?

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Retaining top talent is a continual problem for employers regardless of the economy. In good time the top talent are sought after by competitors because there are fewer talented employees than positions available. In bad economies companies tend to cut expenses in the form of fewer benefits and reduced incentives so talented workers move on to jobs where the benefit packages are richer.

A survey of 3,991 employees in the United States has revealed the top five benefits employees would appreciate receiving. Although most employers feel benefits cost money, two of the five are completely free to implement.

First on the list is half-day Fridays. Forty percent of employees would like to see that benefit, which is free to implement, and may even save money. To close at noon on Friday while maintaining the same number of working hours by lengthening each workday by one hour then reducing Friday by the four hours. Employees will be more productive despite the longer work days Monday through Thursday if breaks and lunch hours are properly positioned. Savings become possible because your building’s heating and cooling systems can be adjusted.

The second most requested benefit (by 20%) is an on-site fitness center. There are insurance liabilities and potential workman’s compensation that can be excessive. Michigan will count employee accidents against your EMR. Providing a membership to a nearby gym may be a better option corporate memberships are usually highly discounted.

Third, and another free benefit, is allowing employees to wear jeans. If this is selected as a benefit consideration must be given to upper management as the other employees will want to see them dress down also. Eighteen percent want this to be available.

Daily catered lunches were sought after by 17% but this is a very expensive option and fifth was identified by 16% of the employees surveyed as a desire for messages.

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