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Forbes Advisor Survey: Best Employee Benefits in 2023

Quick look: Money talks. But so do benefits. And while small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may be concerned about competing with bigger companies when offering the best, it turns out employees skew toward a more traditional stance. Recent Forbes Advisor survey results map out how PEO brokers can future-proof benefit plans for their clients and keep them competitive amidst a fast-changing workforce.

Benefits are a crucial part of any compensation package and shouldn’t be approached with a set-it-and-forget-it mindset. Business leaders should regularly review their offerings to keep up to date and deliver what employees want. A new Forbes Advisor survey findings reveal 40% of employers say workers leave their job to find a role with better employee benefits. In response, 62% of surveyed businesses say they’ve changed their offerings in the past year.

As a professional employer organization (PEO) broker, providing benefit guidance as part of a larger recruiting and retention strategy is invaluable. Here’s a closer look at what the statistics have to say and how to personalize the takeaways for SMBs going forward.

Benefits employees value most

Not all benefits carry equal weight. What’s deemed important by some may not be as relevant to others. With multiple generations making up the workforce, it’s crucial to consider the differences when creating equitable benefit plans and programs.

For instance, the survey shows employer-covered healthcare as an overwhelming demand for 80% of employees over the age of 42. Meanwhile, 30% of surveyed 18-41-year-olds prioritize pet insurance as a top benefit. By gathering individual company feedback, in addition to reviewing overarching trends, PEO brokers can shape an effective benefit strategy based on what’s most in demand.

Employer-covered healthcare

Despite generational differences in the workplace, healthcare continues to be universally popular among both employees (67%) and employers (68%). With the rise in healthcare costs, many are looking for financial support, though desire added services to the traditional health plan. Today’s employees are focused on convenience, cost-effectiveness, and equitable services when it comes to their health. Therefore, weaving in telehealth, diverse network providers, and mental and behavioral support as part of healthcare options is increasingly important.

401(k) plans

Retirement is also front and center when it comes to offering the best employee benefits, with 34% of employees and 34% of employers focused on saving for the future. 401(k) contributions are a common benefit and sorely missed when not available. In addition to health insurance, it’s one employees expect and value most. Though younger generations may favor certain non-traditional benefits, financial planning remains a priority.

Paid time off

Paid time off was listed as a leading benefit by 31% of employees, though it didn’t make it to the top five for employers. This disconnect calls for extra attention to prevent employee burnout and the effects of “quiet quitting.” Company growth can lead to employees feeling overworked and underappreciated when there’s not a culture which promotes taking time off. It’s up to business leaders to evaluate company policies and update communication to encourage the use of vacation days.

Work-life balance

Work-life balance has also become a must-have for both employers and employees. Survey findings reveal 51% of employees and 47% of employers appreciate this benefit. And fortunately, there are various ways companies can achieve this. Many are considering a four-day workweek, while others are providing assistance for childcare, continuing education, and managing debt. PEO brokers can help SMB clients get creative when revamping their benefits in a way which is applicable to all.

Workplace flexibility

To complement work-life balance, 34% of employees and 40% of employers said flexible work hours was a main benefit, especially now as many employees prefer remote or hybrid working environments. By creating transparent policies regarding working hours and coverage, companies can meet employee demand while still maintaining productivity. An advantage PEO brokers provide is access to expert client resources, such as reporting, to evaluate workplace performance and identify areas for improvement.

Professional development

Lack of engagement often leads to voluntary resignations, a trend hindering SMB employers over the past couple of years. Employees want to feel supported in their roles and crave the opportunity to grow in their careers. The survey reports 20% of workers seek professional development opportunities. This can be achieved through online learning portals, education stipends, and skills training. SMB leaders focused on investing in employee career growth speaks to a company’s culture and is an essential part of retention and recruiting best practices.

The competitive advantage of working with a PEO

Brokers can diversify their service capabilities by working with a PEO. A PEO provides tailored HR, payroll, benefits, and compliance services to support client growth. SMBs receive access to premium benefits at an affordable cost, as well as one-on-one attention from a team of HR experts tuned into specific client needs. As a PEO broker, this type of partnership helps to protect current business while offering more solutions to attract new prospects.

As the workforce becomes increasingly competitive with employees requiring different types of benefits, having extended resources through a PEO serves as a great advantage. At ExtensisHR, we have the resources, experience, and expertise to benefit your client relationships. We are a trusted industry leader and one of the few PEOs aligned with the highest regulatory government standards. Furthermore, our proprietary HRIS platform provides mobile-first convenience for all businesses. The technology allows company leaders to consolidate workflows, unify reporting, improve retention, optimize cost management, and much more.

Through our comprehensive services and people-first approach, we lighten the HR load for SMBs as we support broker-client relationships. Aligning SMB offerings with employee demand maintains competitive benefit strategies, which in turn, supports your portfolio growth.

Learn how working with a PEO can help you stand out and provide the personalized HR solutions your clients need. Contact ExtensisHR today.

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