What Benefits Employees REALLY Want

Vol. 16 No. 5

PSN eletter vol15 no5 benefits

Attracting and retaining the brightest, mission-appropriate talent at your private-independent school is no simple task. As a School Head or administrator, you know all too well that, when the conversation turns to employee benefits, negotiations can heat up a notch.

More than competitive salaries, today’s educators look for work/life balance benefits—flexibility, paid leave, and enriching professional development opportunities. For some schools, this means a complete benefits overhaul that transforms dated employee handbooks and benefit packages to meet the needs of today’s workers.

Maternity Leave
A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that 82% of U.S. adults believe paid leave should be given to new mothers (birth or adoption), with 61% of those responding believing that employers should cover the cost of maternity leave. Sixty-nine percent of participants believe that new fathers, whether birth or adoptive, should also receive paid time off, with 52% saying employers should cover the expense.

The U.S. is the last industrialized country without a government policy related to maternity leave. Our culture believes in the freedom of the company to set its own policy and employee benefits. This is a great thing! However, it’s clear most workers today look to work for organizations that reflect their personal missions—and family life is important to them.

Family Medical Leave
Did you know more than 40% of employees are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or are not eligible to take FMLA leave? It's no surprise then that 85% of Americans say paid time off when dealing with a personal medical condition is a desired benefit, and 67% say paid time off when managing a sick family member is desired, according to the same Pew Research Survey.

To put that into perspective, 64% of survey respondents reported taking time off in the past two years for a personal or family medical issue. Of those, only 13% said they had access to family and medical leave benefits paid by their employer. Instead, 79% of participants said that part of the pay they received during their leave came from vacation, sick, and personal time they had accrued.

The ability to create personalized workdays or to work from home is nearly impossible for private-independent school employees. However, this lifestyle benefit continues to be a talking point on employee surveys.

A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 60% of employees value flexible work schedules more than any other benefit—65% rating it more important than how much they earn.

Traditional companies may fear a loss in productivity if employees are given more flexible work schedules. However, according to the same survey, employers offering flexibility in employee schedules saw an increase in productivity. It’s reported that telecommuters log five to seven more hours per week than non-telecommuters, often working when they’re sick or on vacation.

Professional Development
Millennials and Gen Xers both value professional development and self-growth. Their work is important to them; these generations seek work that reflects their personal missions. Perfecting skills and correcting weaknesses is of high value to them.

The TINYpulse 2017 Employee Engagement Report found that 61% of employees want support from their company to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. However, only one in four employees feels valued and fully supported at work. In fact, only 26% of respondents felt their employers offered adequate opportunities for growth, whereas 50% of responding managers believed enough support was available.

When asked what positive factors impact happiness, the survey reported three key findings:

  • Interpersonal relationships, culture, and work environment
  • Support from their organization to reach personal and professional goals
  • Transparency from management in terms of long-term opportunities, promotions, and development

Now is the time to review your benefits. Keep these elements in mind to meet the needs and expectations of today's workers.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 12 No. 1 Employee Benefits You Might Not Think of as Benefits
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 6 No. 10 2016 Shows a Dip in Wellness Benefits
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 6 No. 2 Can Employee Assistant Programs (EAPs) Combat Drug Addictions?
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 14 No. 9 Questions You and Your Broker Should Discuss When Reviewing Your Benefits

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