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February 2019
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The Benefits Mismatch
TD Magazine

The Benefits Mismatch

Workers' wants are not aligned with employers' offerings.

Companies are increasingly willing to offer benefits to attract and retain employees—but they may not be offering what employees want. Robert Half surveyed 1,500 workers and more than 600 HR managers to compare what benefits employees want to the benefits companies offer. Some of the biggest differences involved flexibility perks such as compressed workweeks (66 percent of employees want this perk compared to 17 percent of companies that offer it) and telecommuting (55 percent of employees want this perk, but only 14 percent of companies offer it).

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Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half, explains that there are three main reasons companies are not offering these desired benefits. The first is that they are unable to, because their tech platform won't support remote work or because the nature of their work requires staff to be on-site. The second is that companies are unwilling to do so, usually because they have security concerns about remote work. The third is that they are unaware of what perks their employees are interested in.

Employees' ability to ask for the perks they want to receive is a fairly recent development. Ten years ago, in the height of the Great Recession, many companies were engaged in layoffs, and employees didn't feel confident pushing for benefits. "The attitude was that you were lucky to have a job and should keep your nose to the grindstone," Good explains. "The ship has now gone in favor of the employees."

It may be to companies' detriment if they don't offer benefits in line with what employees want. "When you look at the low unemployment rate," Good says, "it's no surprise that organizations are compelled to review the slew of compensation, perks, and benefits that they offer to current and potential employees." He has seen this illustrated through LinkedIn company profiles, which often focus less on what the company does and more on what perks it offers employees. To stay competitive, companies are increasingly publicizing and promoting what offerings are available.

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