Top 5 most popular employee perks: How does your company stack up?

What are your employees’ favorite perks?

If your workforce is anything like the 1,227 participants in a recent Unum survey, the answer is time away from the workplace.

Leave, flexibility carry the day

The company gave survey participants a list of 15 perks (non-insurance or retirement benefits) and here’s what they chose as their top five options:

1. Paid family leave (58%): It’s the most highly coveted benefit, and it seems employers are listening. Unum, citing a SHRM report from last summer, said firms offering paid parental leave increased significantly between 2016 and 2018 for every type of parental leave. The percentage of employers offering paid maternity leave increased from 26% in 2016 to 35% in 2018 and paid paternity leave increased from 21% to 29% over the same period. A number of large companies, such as TD Bank and Dollar General, have added or enhanced paid parental leave in the past year.

2. Flexible or remote work options (55%): Quoting SHRM again, Unum said more than two-thirds (70%) of organizations now offer some type of telecommuting, either on a full-time, part-time or ad-hoc basis, up from 62% last year and 59% in 2014.

3. Professional development (39%): This trend recognizes employees’ desire to “learn and grow in their careers,” according to Unum. And employers benefit with increased retention.

4. Paid sabbatical leave (38%): Despite its popularity with poll participants, not many employers offer such a program – just 5%, according to SHRM.

5. Gym membership or on-site fitness center (36%): Unum said such offerings can help mental health, improving mood and morale as well as productivity.

Student loan repayment (35%) came in 6th, as a growing number of employers have added this perk.

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Lynn Cavanaugh
Lynn, a member of the HRMorning staff, is an award-winning editor who writes about HR, benefits and compensation topics. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Woman’s Own and American Woman magazines. Email: lcavanaugh@hrmorning.com