SHRM Survey Shows Marked Increase in Employee Benefits

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

July 3, 2018

As the labor market has tightened, employers increasingly are leveraging the benefits they offer to attract and retain employees, according to a newly released study on employee benefits. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) assessed the prevalence of more than 300 benefits and released the 2018 Employee Benefits Survey during its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition in Chicago.

The survey listed more than 300 benefits and asked HR professionals whether their organizations formally offered or had plans to offer each of the benefits in the next 12 months. The responses showed that between 2017 and 2018 employers increased offerings by more than 60 benefits, compared with an increase in only 20 benefits in the prior year.

The study pointed out that with the unemployment rate down at a record low and employee benefits accounting for nearly one-third of total compensation costs, organizations need to engage in strategic benefits planning to maximize their return on investment. Compared with organizations that did not, businesses that use benefits strategically for recruiting and retaining talent reported 24% better overall company performance, 8% more effective recruitment and 17% higher retention. A previous SHRM survey on job satisfaction and engagement found that 92% of employees say that benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction.

Overall, slightly more than one-third of organizations increased their benefits offerings in the past 12 months. The most frequently increased benefits involved health (by 51% of employers), wellness (44%) and employee programs and services (39%). These were followed by increased professional and career development benefits (32%). Only 28% of employers increased leave, family-friendly or flexible working benefits. The top reasons cited by employers for increasing benefits were to retain employees (72%), attract new talent (58%) and respond to employee feedback (54%).