Attention: 4 Corner Resources is being used in a phishing scam. Read more about how to protect yourself.

Attract Top Candidates With These In-Demand Perks and Benefits

Three professionals laughing while holding an iPad

You’ve finally found them: your perfect candidate. 

You’ve gotten the signoff from management and put together a competitive offer. All that’s left now is for them to accept—but they don’t. Despite a lucrative salary on the table, they decide to take a job with one of your competitors. Why?

Losing out on a great candidate is perhaps the most frustrating part of recruiting, especially if you’re confident that salary isn’t the issue. The fact is, though, that today’s top talent weighs much more than just income when deciding on who to work for. In fact, employees say many benefits are more important than salary; they range from flexible schedules to more empathetic bosses.

If you want to outperform the competition, you must focus on the most important employee benefits. Consider offering these innovative employee perks to secure more accepted offers. 

Best Employee Benefits

Health, dental, and vision insurance

Offering strong health, dental, and vision insurance was rated the most important of all employee perks by Fractl’s 2017 Employee Benefits Study. It was also the top benefit based on correlation to employees’ overall satisfaction with their employer’s benefits packages in a recent Glassdoor survey. 

By providing the best insurance plans possible, your employees will feel like you actually care about their overall health and well-being. This will lead to improved job satisfaction, which in turn will increase employee retention rates and productivity.

Providing high-quality, extensive health insurance will cost you more than many other “trendy” perks, such as free beer or yoga in the office. But it’s often a major factor in a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer, especially if they have a family relying on their coverage. Therefore, investing in expanding your employee health insurance coverage can give you a high ROI when you’re able to attract and retain top talent more effectively.

Paid family leave

A poll of more than 1,200 workers found that paid family leave was number one on the list of the most important employee benefits. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act made 12 weeks of maternity leave a requirement for companies with over 50 employees. Still, it doesn’t mandate that the leave be paid, and it doesn’t offer any benefit to new dads or caregivers of other family members, like aging parents.

58% of all workers said paid time off to care for family members was their most desired benefit. Among millennials, that number jumped to 64%. Though more employers are responding to the demand and adding paid family leave to their benefits package, progress is slow. It’s a perk accessible to just 14% of all civilian workers. Employers in finance and tech have made the greatest strides, with about a third of employees in these sectors able to take paid family leave.

If you want to stand out in the employer pool, offer this highly in-demand perk to ease the strain of caregiving.

Adoption and fertility coverage

With more people opting to have children later in life, there’s a growing conversation surrounding fertility issues since it becomes harder to conceive naturally with age. Thus, more employees are interested in coverage for fertility-related services like egg freezing and in vitro fertilization. Forward-thinking companies like Apple and Uber have begun to cover a portion of the cost for employees who wish to freeze their eggs.

Adoption is another option for starting a family, but it can be prohibitively expensive. Employers are stepping up to help their employees cover the costs. For example, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Citizens Bank provide more than $20,000 in financial support toward team members who wish to pursue adoption.

The modern family can take many forms. Employers can stand out by offering unique employee benefits that serve the diverse ways their employees choose to plan and grow their families.

Sabbatical leave

Sabbaticals were once limited to academic professionals and only available after many years with one institution. That’s no longer the case. Though still relatively uncommon, about 17% of employers offer them—that’s compared to virtually none 40 years ago.

Taking an extended period of time off has obvious benefits for employees, like a reduction in stress, an increase in well-being, and a fresh sense of motivation to come back to work. However, there are upsides for the employer as well.

In research on the topic, organizations found that leaders who took a sabbatical of at least three months came back with new ideas for innovating in the organization and a greater level of confidence in their ability to lead. What’s more, the people who had stepped in to fill their shoes in the interim were more effective and responsible on the job when the leaders returned.

If you want to be as competitive as, say, Facebook, consider taking their lead on sabbaticals as an innovative employee perk. Facebook allows its employees to take 30 consecutive days of paid time off every five years.

Student loan repayment

With student loan debt in America soaring to an estimated $1.4 trillion and the average individual debt burden hovering around $37,000, it’s no wonder that student loan repayment is a highly attractive perk for candidates. In a 2017 study, 45% of professionals surveyed cited student loan repayment as the single most compelling employee benefit, while 58% said they would prefer receiving debt repayment assistance over additional retirement contributions.

Over 44 million Americans have student loan debt — yet less than 5% of companies currently offer student loan repayment assistance. However, this benefit has really picked up steam in recent years. From health insurance giant Aetna to beauty conglomerate Estee Lauder to Penguin Random House publishing, companies in all sectors are adding student loan repayment as the latest perk in their benefits package to attract the best and brightest talent. It will help you stand out from other competitors who aren’t offering these kinds of valuable and unique employee benefits to attract top talent — plus instilling in them a sense of loyalty and commitment to your company that will increase retention long-term.

Financial planning resources

A 401(k) with a company match is a great starting point for your financial benefits package, but it’s just the beginning of what you can offer to entice fiscally-minded candidates. Financial planning services are growing in popularity as part of the crop of unique employee benefits for 2020.

Help candidates see your organization as part of their bigger picture for the future by offering financial services above and beyond a retirement plan. This might include complimentary consultations with financial advisors, budgeting assistance, long-term financial planning, and even assistance with the homebuying process.

According to a survey by benefits provider Prudential Financial, the proportion of employers offering these so-called ‘financial wellness’ services rose 63 percentage points between 2015 and 2017. When said programs are offered, both employees and employers report greater satisfaction with their overall benefit plans.

Mental health support

In recent years, there’s been a growing national conversation on the topic of mental health and a push to destigmatize the treatment of mental health issues. Top employers are joining the effort, putting mental health benefits like counseling on equal footing with traditional health services like routine physicals and dental care.

Capital One Financial, for example, provides a range of useful mental wellness services through its Employee Assistance Program. Employees can receive telephone or face-to-face counseling through the program and find assistance coping with major life changes like moving or becoming a parent.

Emphasizing your employees’ mental well-being can go a long way toward achieving the all-important work-life balance and sense of fulfillment that the best talent craves.

Related: How to Improve Employees’ Mental Health

Wellness benefits

44% of organizations that invested in increasing their benefits offerings in the last 12 months enhanced their wellness benefits as part of their employee retention strategies. 

Wellness benefits include offering yoga in the office, creating a designated meditation space, or providing nutritional counseling services. With more than a third of employees saying they’d see a company-paid gym membership or access to an onsite fitness center as a valuable perk, many companies are also reimbursing gym memberships or looking for office spaces with a workout facility.

Investing in these benefits is valuable because they help your employees reduce anxiety and manage work-related stress, ultimately improving productivity and overall job satisfaction. This is also a proactive way to improve the overall health of your staff, which reduces the medical costs you’re required to pay later. In fact, wellness benefits can help reduce the likelihood of your employees developing four of the ten health conditions that are most costly to U.S. employers: chest pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart attacks.

Pet insurance

The cost of veterinary care has been on a steady incline for years, spiking 11% from 2022 to 2023 alone. No pet parent wants to have to choose between paying their bills and getting their furry family member the medical care they need. Pet insurance is a viable solution to cover the costs, and it can be an attractive benefit to candidates who live in one of the 70% of U.S. households that own a pet. Pet insurance helps cover the cost of vet visits, medical procedures and medication, and works similarly to employer-sponsored health insurance when offered as a benefit. 

Subsidized child care

For parents, particularly mothers, re-entering or remaining in the workforce is challenging after having kids. Employer-subsidized childcare can make the choice an easier one. Childcare benefits typically cover a portion of a child’s daytime care costs before they reach school age. Some even cover after-school programs for older kids. It’s a meaningful way to support working parents and signal that family is important to your organization. 

Ready to hire better talent?

Connect with our recruiting professionals today.

Top Employee Perks

Remote and hybrid work

The ability to work remotely all or some of the time is one of the top factors candidates say they want when looking for a new job. Giving employees location flexibility enhances work-life balance and can even increase productivity, as employees feel empowered to work under the conditions that are most comfortable and conducive to work for them personally. 

Offering remote opportunities is a highly effective way to broaden your candidate pool. By some accounts, remote positions receive nearly three times as many applications as those that are strictly in-office. 

Four-day workweeks

As long as your employees are getting their jobs done, does it really matter what days the work takes place on? More employers are deciding that it doesn’t.

Microsoft made headlines when it reported a 40% increase in productivity after a trial run of being closed on Fridays in one of its Japan offices. New Zealand estate planning company Perpetual Guardian switched over to a four-day workweek permanently after a trial produced a 20% jump in productivity, reduced stress levels, and improved employee engagement.

Employees consistently say they crave greater work-life balance; if it’s feasible for your organization, offering a four-day workweek helps facilitate that while making a show of confidence in your employees’ ability to manage their schedules and workloads.

No scheduled work hours

Most of us are so used to a rigid work schedule that it’s hard to imagine not punching a clock, but one of the most innovative employee perks does away with working hours altogether.

Netflix, for example, doesn’t require employees to log work hours or be in the office at certain times. The company famously operates by the core principles of freedom and responsibility; as long as employees meet expectations and contribute positively, the company says they are free to create their own schedules.

Unlimited PTO

Do you sense a trend among these people on this list? If it’s not already incredibly obvious, a perk candidates overwhelmingly want is greater control of their time. Unlimited PTO is just one more way to give it to them. When you stop counting the number of hours or days employees take PTO, you signal your trust in them in a powerful way. Employees feel empowered and, as a result, valued, which is a crucial factor in retaining them. 

Blackout meeting hours

What’s more frustrating than getting a meeting request for 4 p.m. on a Friday? If it’s not urgent, it can probably wait until Monday. Some ingenious companies have turned this line of thinking into a perk by instituting blackout hours. 

Blackout hours are a set of times the company has deemed ‘off limits’ for meetings that aren’t absolutely necessary. Friday afternoons, as are the first and last hours of the workday, are a popular blackout time. 

Can employees adopt blackout hours on their own? Sure. However, the mandate being communicated as an official company policy carries much more weight and is, as such, much more attractive to candidates seeking to minimize meeting overload. 

Career development opportunities

For 86% of employees, professional and career development benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction. The most common benefit in this category is paying for an employee’s professional memberships to networking or industry-specific groups. You could also hold on-site workshops and training, send your employees to offsite events or conferences to develop further skills in their field or help cover certifications and professional license application or renewal fees.

These employee perks are incredibly beneficial to both parties. How? If your employees are stagnant and not continuously growing, they’ll quickly become bored in their position and want to make a career move. Plus, they won’t be learning any new skills that create additional value for your business. But, by investing in development opportunities, your employees will be happier, more engaged, and on top of the latest trends and technologies affecting their field — making them more productive and valuable to your business.

Volunteering time off

Volunteer time off, also known as VTO, allows employees to take paid time away from work to volunteer for charitable causes. It can range from a few hours per month to a few days per year, and it’s independent of other paid leave like PTO and sick days. In addition to being an appealing perk for philanthropy-minded candidates, it also demonstrates a tangible investment in giving back on behalf of the company.

How to Communicate Your Benefits and Perks Effectively

Simply offering compelling benefits and perks isn’t enough; you must also communicate them enticingly to would-be applicants. Here’s how to do it. 

Be assertive

Present what you have to offer beyond salary clearly and succinctly. Be proactive about promoting them. Make sure your benefit offerings are prominently showcased on the careers section of your website and in job postings. Highlight them in social media posts and in recruitment marketing materials. 

Communicate early

All too often, candidates don’t begin learning about a company’s benefits until they’re already well into the hiring pipeline. To optimize your recruiting, however, the communication should happen much earlier, before a candidate even fills out an application, or at least immediately afterward. Don’t make it information a candidate has to go searching for. Make your perks easy to learn about; incorporating them into your candidate engagement plan is a great strategy. 

Make it a two-way conversation

Once you’ve communicated your benefits, follow up and invite candidates to ask any questions they might have. Ensure they fully understand what makes the company a unique and desirable place to work. Using testimonials and Q&As from current employees can also bring your benefits to life and help illustrate their real-world applications.

Attract The Best Talent In The Business With 4 Corner Resources

If you want to win the recruiting game in 2020, add the experts from 4 Corner Resources to your staffing team. Our seasoned headhunters work with each company on a case-by-case basis to understand your unique needs and what you’re most looking for in a role. Then, we use our extensive talent network and proprietary sourcing methods to find and match you to the perfect candidates.

Schedule a call today to start the conversation about your staffing needs for 2020 and beyond.

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn