Employee benefits and compensation were unheard of until the 1900s. While milestone developments for employee benefits were achieved in the past, the 20th century brought a significant increase in employee benefits. Employers—both in the private and public sector—began implementing strategies aimed at meeting the needs of their workforce. Alongside government-enacted health and retirement programs, employers started actualizing incentives, such as insurance policies, pension, profit-sharing, and bonus plans.
However, by the end of the 1900s, employers gradually cut back on employee benefits and programs. The responsibility has been shifted to the employees through increased premiums and deductibles. High labor costs, the wave of globalization, and increased competition are some of the reasons for this shift. Except for a few enhancements on already existing laws and regulations, improvement in employee benefits has plateaued for the next few decades.
Fast forward to the digital revolution of the 21st century, and we are witnessing a new wave of transformation. Employers are reviewing and evaluating their compensation program. Likewise, we are seeing a growing number of companies with the best benefits for employees. With these changes, the workplace of the future seems to be showing great promise.
The War for Talents: Shaping Employee Benefits to Attract and Retain Talents
Businesses and organizations thrive because of people. As companies compete to attract, develop, and retain talent, an arsenal of competitive employee benefits can help win the war for talents. However, crafting competitive compensation packages go beyond salary or wages. A deep understanding of trends shaping the workplace of the future is necessary.
- Employers must be cognizant of the trends that influence and shape employee benefits. For instance, with the rising healthcare costs, employees are looking for companies offering employee benefits that can help address this need.
- Employee engagement, employee experience, and work-life balance are some of the emerging human capital management concepts that place people at the center. Companies offering employee benefits, such as extended time offs, paid parental leave, and vacation incentives are attractive.
- Companies with the best benefits for employees are on the lookout for ways to cater to unique and specific employee needs. Some of these employee benefits are directed to specific demographics within the company’s field or industry.
- Retraining, cross-training and upskilling are great employee benefits that strategic employers can provide their workforce. As companies prepare for transformation, equipping the workforce for changes can also help bridge the talent gap.
- With a workforce that is becoming highly socially-aware, integrating corporate social responsibility in the employee benefits and compensation package is beneficial. For employees who are looking for ways to give back, combining social causes with employee benefits supports retention and employee loyalty efforts.
Responsive, Unique, Future-Ready: Companies with Attractive Employee Perks
- Salesforce has successfully integrated the concept of giving back to their compensation package. With $1,000 per year to donate to a cause of their choice and six paid days for volunteer work, employees are motivated to stay in the company—and of course, do good.
- Airbnb promotes work-life balance by including a travel stipend of $2,000 per year to employees for Airbnb listings worldwide. House envy is never a problem for Airbnb employees. With travel perks anywhere in the world, employees can truly “belong anywhere”.
- Timberland Outdoor Apparel offers a benefit called “Path of Service”. It is a program that gives employees up to 40 hours of paid time to serve communities and encourages them to become proactive agents of service in and out of the office.
- Netflix doesn’t track its employees’ vacations days. In fact, the streaming giant encourages employees to take time off. The company focuses on what gets done versus the number of hours clocked in.
- Goldman Sachs provides medical coverage for sex reassignment surgery of its employees. To uphold diversity and inclusion—and in support of the employees’ wellbeing—, services, and programs that promote overall health and wellness are in place.
Other Companies with the Best Benefits for Employees
- Google provides a “death benefit” to employees. This means the surviving spouse receives 50 percent of the employee’s salary for the next 10 years. The children of the deceased employee will also receive $1,000 per month until the age of 19.
- SAS has been consistently voted as one of the companies with the best benefits for employees. If flexible time and 37.5 maximum hours of work per week are not enough reasons, throw in a subsidized employee cafeteria and your own private office into the list. The company even provides an on-site hair salon, shoe repair, dry cleaning, and a tailor.
- Zappos wants employees that are above-average happy. Thus, their employee benefits are above-average, too. As one of the companies with the best benefits for employees, Zappos gives its employees above-average medical, dental, and insurance coverage. There’s also free food, monthly outings, and a 40 percent discount on shoes and accessories.
- Spotify can freeze their female employees’ eggs. This benefit is attractive to female employees who have chosen to delay pregnancy to focus on their careers. The benefit does not have a cap amount and also covers fertility treatments.
- AT&T’s upskilling project—dubbed as Future Ready—is worth $1 billion. The goal is to upskill its workforce and be digital transformation-ready by the year 2020. The company—as surely one of the top companies with the best benefits for employees —is a leading force in upskilling initiatives that most of the technology management jobs were filled internally.
Bold Challenges Amid A New Wave of Change
Employee benefits have evolved and changed significantly over the years. Noticeably, these changes coincided with the prevailing industrial and social movements of the time. The increase in economic activity in the 1900s has shifted the composition of the workforce from farming to manufacturing and mass production. Indeed, this shift led to the concentration of workers within the bustling and highly-industrialized cities. Thus, that paved the way to the establishment of environments that look after employee welfare. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new wave of change is coming. The challenge is how quickly various sectors of the society can catch up with the change.