Employer-provided benefits improve employees’ lives in many practical ways. Dental benefits allow families to visit the dentist twice a year. Retirement benefits help couples save money for the future. Paid time off enables hard-working workers to take vacations. These benefits also fill four deeply held emotional needs:
- Personal development
American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a standard fixture in psych 101 courses around the world. And it reflects each person’s innate desire to feel good about themselves. Having the respect of family, friends, and co-workers boosts that good feeling. That’s where benefits come in. Workplace benefits help workers meet those four emotional needs.
A well-rounded benefits package includes paid time off, sick leave, health insurance, and family medical leave. That’s just to name a few. Other perks might consist of wellness benefits, flexible scheduling, and tuition reimbursement. These perks and benefits help people feel like they’re doing more than working for a paycheck.
And in exchange for benefits that fill emotional needs, workers have a lot to offer. A comprehensive benefits package makes workers want to stay at their jobs, according to a recent survey of U.S. employees.
Meaningful work that provides a paycheck and a benefits package fills a person’s emotional needs in four significant ways.
1. Employer-paid benefits make workers feel valued
70% of survey respondents say having a comprehensive benefits package makes them feel valued. And it’s not just the feeling of value as an employee. Benefits make workers feel their employers care for their well-being and want to invest in high-quality talent. When workers feel appreciated, it fills their inborn need for self-esteem.
As a result, respondents said they feel more loyal to the company, more motivated to do their best work, and less stressed. Money motivates, but value gets the job done. 87% of small business employees would be willing to accept other benefits instead of a pay raise.
2. Employer-paid benefits foster cultures of belonging
38% of survey respondents said having benefits makes them feel loyal to their employer. Loyalty is the quality of being faithful to one’s commitments or obligations. It displays a sense of belonging or acceptance. Having benefits makes a person believe they are at the right company.
Not only that, but they believe they have a future with the company and want to recommend it to others. Cultivating loyalty and a culture of belonging among employees helps to reduce staff turnover. This loyalty can reduce company spending on recruiting, hiring, and training new employees.
3. Employer-paid benefits encourage workers to grow
Because they receive benefits, 40% of respondents feel more motivated to do their best and be more productive in the workplace. Being motivated to excel lends itself to a desire to develop one’s talents. Maslow would call this “self-actualization.” And it’s a process of personal growth wherein a person takes their inner abilities and shapes them into masterful skills.
Even before they accept a job, respondents said they’d consider their potential for growth within the company. That’s in addition to considering their salary, schedule, and commute time. Any employer who expects employees to bring their best efforts to work should invest in a benefits package.
4. Employer-provided benefits give workers peace of mind
Maslow’s safety needs include personal security, access to resources, and personal health. These are all things that promote a person’s overall peace of mind or freedom from fear. Having essential benefits like health insurance and paid sick time support that peace of mind.
After all, when workers have paid time off and healthcare, they’re less likely to worry about burnout and recovering from illness. And survey respondents agree. 44% said having benefits makes them feel less worried. One-third of these said they feel less stressed each day. Another third feel less anxious about their futures.
It’s time to rethink your benefits package, employees say
It’s true that U.S. labor laws don’t require employers to provide all these perks and benefits. But survey respondents agree it’s an area for improvement. 39% aren’t satisfied with what they receive. And 29% said their company offers the bare minimum, as far as benefits go. And of respondents who looked for a new job last year? Over a third did so in search of a job with better benefits.
Employees who feel valued, loyal to their employers, and motivated to excel enjoy emotional benefits employers shouldn’t underestimate. The medical insurance, retirement plans, and other extras a company provides go a long way toward making employees feel appreciated. Filling emotional needs motivates workers to perform their best and go above and beyond for the customers they serve.
Jennifer Hernandez is a customer service expert at TSheets by QuickBooks. Every day, she helps small business owners and their employees meet their time tracking and scheduling needs.