Benefits

TriNet Survey Highlights Increasing Importance of Non-Traditional Benefits as Unemployment Rates Remain Low

August 29, 2018

Incentives Like Flexible Work Schedule, Unlimited Paid Time Off and Remote Work Options May Help Employers Attract and Retain Employees 


DUBLIN, Calif. – August 29, 2018 –  A survey[1] released by TriNet (NYSE: TNET), a leading provider of HR services, found that 91% of respondents at small and medium size businesses (SMBs) view non-traditional benefits as an important[2] aspect of their job satisfaction. According to the survey, non-traditional benefits include perks such as flexible work schedule, commuter benefits, unlimited paid time off, paid volunteer time, remote work options, etc. Approximately 3,000 survey respondents said that providing non-traditional benefits improves employee morale (85%), employee retention (82%) and company culture (73%).[3]

Survey respondents represented various industries across the U.S. that TriNet serves, including technology, life sciences, nonprofit, financial services, professional services, and local and owner-operated businesses.


With low unemployment and more jobs available than job seekers, it is an important time for companies to re-evaluate their incentive and benefit offerings to recruit and retain employees,” said Catherine Wragg, senior vice president of Human Resources at TriNet. “TriNet’s survey results highlight the importance of non-traditional benefits. It is no longer just about compensation, as employees also view time spent with family and friends—and pursuing other aspects of their life—as highly significant.” Wragg added, “Non-traditional benefits can help employers stand out by offering uncommon perks that can be meaningful to employees, positively impact company culture, and potentially help retain top talent.


Findings from the TriNet survey include: 

Workers want flexibility

  • Flexible work hours/schedule is the most important non-traditional benefit (4.38 weighted average importance ranking) when compared to commuter benefits, unlimited paid time off, paid volunteer time, remote work options, extended paid leave options or paid company shut downs during major holidays.
  • Paid company shutdowns during major holidays (4.15 weighted average importance ranking) and having the option to work remotely (4.12 weighted average importance ranking) are also important non-traditional benefits. 


Work-life balance is most frequently chosen as the most important non-traditional benefit category

  • Employees put the highest priority on having a work-life balance when compared to other non-traditional benefits categories, such as education assistance, health and wellness assistance, transportation, paid leave and childcare benefits, with a weighted average importance ranking among surveyed respondents of 4.36 out of 5.
  • Paid leave (excluding vacation pay, sick pay and paid time off) is the next most coveted non-traditional benefit category, at a weighted average importance ranking of 4.31.
  • Childcare benefits rank as the least important category in the list, at a weighted average importance ranking of 2.76. 


Food and pets at work are popular offerings

  • The most common non-traditional benefit that employers offer their workers is free snacks and beverages (in addition to water and coffee), with 78% of respondents saying their employer offers this perk.
  • More than half of respondents (52%) said their company provides catered lunches.
  • Almost one third (31%) are allowed to bring their pet to work.  


Spotlight on nonprofit organizations and technology companies

  • Compared to respondents in other industries (life sciences, financial services, professional services, and local and owner-operated businesses), respondents at nonprofit organizations had the highest percentage (52%) that confirmed that their employer offers assistance for education.
  • Respondents in both the nonprofit and technology industries ranked having flexible work hours/schedule (4.45 weighted average importance ranking) as the most important benefit when compared to unlimited paid time off, paid volunteer time, remote work options, extended paid leave options and/or sabbaticals, and paid company shut-downs during major holidays.
  • Nonprofit employees ranked extended paid leave (3.59 weighted average importance ranking) as the most important benefit in this list. 


Respondents within the age group 25-34 want non-traditional benefits

  • Survey respondents between the ages of 25-34 ranked non-traditional benefits as extremely important.
  • Respondents ages 25-34 ranked paid leave (4.41 weighted average importance ranking), health and wellness benefits (3.93 weighted average importance ranking) and work/life balance (4.56 weighted average importance ranking) as the most important non-traditional benefits categories when compared to education assistance, transportation and childcare benefits. 
  • 25% of respondents in the age range of 65 and older rated non-traditional benefits as not important. 


Traditional benefits still matter

  • The traditional benefits that matter most to respondents include healthcare benefits and vacation pay/paid time off/paid sick days (with both categories receiving a weighted average importance ranking of 4.73) when compared to retirement plans/401(K)/pension, performance bonuses, flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts.


[1] Survey conducted by TriNet between May 14-21, with approximately 3,000 people responding. Respondents are all employees of TriNet clients.

[2] Percentage referenced is representative of respondents who selected either “extremely important,” “important” or “somewhat important” as their answer.

[3] Survey respondent selected more than one answer as their response.

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