Employees Want Different Benefits Than Small Businesses Are Providing, New PeopleKeep Survey Finds

Data shows disconnect between the limited benefits SMBs offer and flexible options like mental health, dental, and vision benefits that employees want and need.

Small and midsize employers largely aren’t offering the benefits employees value most, according to a report released by PeopleKeep, the leader in personalized benefits for small to midsize organizations.

The report, which features data from more than 300 small to midsize employers as well as more than 900 of their employees, unveils discrepancies between the benefits employers offer and the benefits employees actually value.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 65% of employees said they value being able to choose their own benefits, but only 36% feel they have a say at their current company.
  • 42% of employees said they’d rather have an additional benefit than a monthly $200 wage increase.
  • 82% of employees said that the benefits package an employer offers is an important factor in whether or not applicants accept a job with an organization, while only 66% of employers surveyed think it’s important.
  • 63% of employees said mental health benefits are important, but only 5% of employers said they offer mental health benefits.

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The report also highlights employees’ changing expectations toward a more personalized and flexible approach to benefits.

The data featured in the report was collected via an online survey in May 2022 and offers insights on employers’ and employees’ views on benefits in the wake of phenomena like the Great Resignation and the war for talent.

“One-size-fits-all benefits aren’t going to work now after the Great Resignation,” said Victoria Glickman Hodgkins, CEO of PeopleKeep. “Employees today want benefits that work for their unique situation. In most cases, consumers receive highly personalized options. Expanding and tailoring benefits is a vital investment in attracting and retaining employees.”

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One way to help small and midsize businesses offer more benefits flexibility is through a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). An HRA is an IRS-approved, employer-funded health benefit used to reimburse employees, tax-free, for their healthcare expenses. Employers set a benefit allowance and employees use their allowance on any qualified medical expense they choose. Each employee can use the benefit differently to purchase the expenses that make sense for their personal health, budget, and family situation.

Ben Eubanks, HR and benefits expert and Chief Research Officer at Lighthouse Research & Advisory, said, “SMB employers don’t have the budgets of large companies, but they do have one secret weapon: flexibility. These survey results show that flexible benefits can help smaller companies compete for talent by delivering meaningful, valuable benefits to their workforce.”

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