What are the Real Benefits of the Top 3 Employee Benefits?

Benefit:

1. a : something that produces good or helpful results or effects or that promotes well-being
    b : useful aid

2. a : financial help in time of sickness, old age, or unemployment
    b : a payment or service provided for under an annuity, pension plan, or insurance policy
    c : a service (such as health insurance) or right (as to take vacation time) provided by an employer in addition to wages or salary

When we look at the formal definition1, we see that the very first meaning of the word ‘benefit’ references wellbeing. Employee wellness, both physical and mental, is vital to the functioning of your company. When you’re choosing employee benefits for 2019, consider what underlying helpful results will occur from each benefit, not just the surface-level effects. For example, the top three benefits employers are offering in 2019 are popular because they have benefits on top of their benefits. Let me explain.
Student Loan Repayment
One of the top benefits being offered in 2019 is student loan repayment assistance. It’s no secret that tuition rates have been steadily rising for years. Couple that with an entry-level income and many employees start feeling the burden of their student loans. Coming out of the gate and into the working world already in debt puts them at an immediate disadvantage. The average loan for someone graduating in 2017 was $39,400 (up 6% from the previous year) and the average loan payment is $351 monthly.2

By helping with student loan repayment, you are lessening a heavy burden. When people are stressed about money, it can impact your business in several ways. Employee productivity decreases when workers are distracted by their personal troubles. Forty-six percent of workers reported being distracted at work for three hours or more each week due to the necessity of dealing with their personal financial issues.3

Financial un-wellness also poses a direct cost to the employer through wage garnishment, taxes, absenteeism, and turnover. The constant looming stress of debt can lead to health problems in your employees. Chronic stress leads to frequent migraines, backaches, digestive issues, and much more. Employees will visit doctors more often and need time off from work to do so (yet again, costing you in lost productivity). Employees might also be on the lookout for a new job that pays better or offers student loan repayment assistance. High employee turnover is a direct cost to your business.

When you offer student loan repayment as a work benefit, you are, in fact, helping your own company to function better. Employees will be more focused, experience fewer physical symptoms of stress, and be less likely to leave your company. You aren’t just helping to pay a loan. You are actively investing in your business and making a positive impact on your bottom line.
Unlimited PTO
Another benefit leading the pack in 2019 is unlimited PTO. You’re probably looking at this and thinking ‘that would cost me so much,’ but the benefits of offering unlimited time off far outweigh any negatives and can even save your company money. With 53% of employees saying time off is “very important” to happiness and wellbeing, you could be making a positive impact on a large portion of your staff.

Unlimited time off increases morale in the office because it takes a burden from employees. Instead of having to save up days for emergencies, workers can plan a relaxing vacation knowing that the extra days will be there if or when they really need them. Vacations are also productivity boosters. Frequent, short times away from work are proven to rejuvenate employees mentally and lead to increased energy, accuracy, and productivity when they return.

Offering unlimited PTO is also a way to eliminate unused vacation days. Last year, employees across America left 705 million vacation days on the table. Of these, only 212 million were forfeited; meaning 493 million days remained on the books as a financial liability to companies.4 Switching to unlimited PTO can remove this liability.

You may worry that employees will take advantage of the situation and you’ll be looking at an empty office, but time and again, companies that have switched to unlimited PTO prove this not to be the case. In fact, you may see little change in the way your employees use their vacation days, but the additional benefits still remain.
Travel Assistance Benefits
Now that you have removed a financial burden from employees with student loan repayment and offered them a chance for relaxation through unlimited PTO, you need to make sure you’re seeing the benefits of these efforts. That’s where travel assistance benefits come in.

It’s not enough to simply offer unlimited time off. If employees aren’t taking advantage of their benefits, then you won’t be reaping the rewards in increased happiness, productivity, or employee retention. However, vacationing offers its own financial burden and this prevents many people from having a relaxing vacation or even going on vacation at all. You’ve already seen the underlying benefits of lessening the burden of a student loan, why not use this same mentality in other employee benefits like vacations?

Programs like Taab combine the advantages of not worrying about money with the relaxing rewards of vacation. You don’t have to be a math wizard to reason out that adding two benefits together must also multiply the effects of these benefits. Therefore, your company will be more productive, employees will be engaged and happy, turnover will lower, and you can watch your bottom line soar.

It’s no surprise that the top three employee benefits for 2019 have deep underlying advantages for worker happiness and wellbeing — sticking true to the original meaning of ‘benefit.’ When you’re considering what benefits to offer in 2019, consider student loan repayment, unlimited PTO, and a travel assistance program like Taab. Your employees (and your bottom line) will thank you.