The Pursuit of Happiness: Which Benefits Matter the Most to Your Employees?

Date: February 24, 2017

A recent survey analyzed the most desirable employee perks and benefits. And, perhaps surprisingly, the best benefits have nothing to do with nap rooms or foosball tables.

Good benefits can help make a worker happy, and a happy worker can often lead to a more productive worker. So what’s the secret? It actually might be pretty simple. 

Insurance coverage topped the list of the most desirable benefits for employees, according to a recent Fractl study. Fractl provided 2,000 people with a list of 17 benefits and asked them how heavily they would weigh each benefit when comparing a high-paying job to a lower-paying job that had more benefits. 


A total of 88 percent of respondents gave “heavy consideration” (54 percent) or “some consideration” (34 percent) to better health, vision, and dental insurance benefits. The next best perks, according to the report, were: flexible hours, more vacation time, work-from-home options, and unlimited vacation. 

The preference for certain benefits differs between men and women. While close to 30 percent of women are more likely to prefer free fitness/yoga classes, that same amount of men instead prefer team bonding events. The survey found women prefer more work-life balance perks, compared with men who want more cultural benefits. 

Student loan and tuition assistance, paid parental leave and free daycare, and free food round out the benefits surveyed.

Knowing what employees want is one thing. But what benefits can employers actually afford to provide to their workers?

Unsurprisingly, fully paid healthcare and three weeks paid time off are the priciest benefits, costing $11,394 and $3,465 per employee per year, respectively. But other important benefits, such as tuition reimbursement and free snacks, are relatively inexpensive, costing only $250 and $650 each year, respectively. Notably, as a small business owner, you’ll have to pay more annually for an on-site gym ($253) or a dedicated game room ($156) compared to your larger counterparts, who only have to pay $126 and $78, respectively. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when setting up your employee benefits package, particularly health insurance plans. Many small businesses can lack the proper resources and manpower to set up one on their own. 


NFIB’s Small Business Guide to Creative Employee Benefits: A Free E-book 

Avoid These Common Legal Pitfalls with Employee Benefits

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