Companies have been measuring employees’ engagement in the workplace for some time, trying to determine the “secret sauce” to employee benefits to increase employee satisfaction and keep turnover low.

Employer-provided benefits rank among the leading factors influencing overall employee job satisfaction in the workplace. Among the benefits that employees value, nearly one-half (46 percent) rate their defined contribution retirement plan — such as a 401(k) and 403(b) plan — as very important to job satisfaction. Additionally, almost one-third (31 percent) indicate they were very satisfied with these plans.

What employees want

While employers sometimes experiment with offering unique benefits — think pet insurance, on-line meditation programs, on-site gym —– the tried-and-true benefits that employees prefer remain the same. A retirement plan, health insurance and workplace flexibility top the list.

Employers recognize that, as the economy continues to improve, job seekers are becoming more confident in securing new positions. With increased competition for workers, employers have stepped up their game, especially in regards to retirement offerings. Thirteen percent of organizations increased their retirement and savings benefits offerings in 2017.

At the same time, a majority of HR professionals believe that retirement savings and planning benefits will grow in importance in the next three to five years.

On employee finances

Competition for employees is not the only driving factor for retirement offerings. Employees are stressed over a variety of financial issues, with 60 percent of them concerned about saving for their retirement.

“While the workplace continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: Employees want and value being able to save for retirement.”

Employers are helping to ease this worry. Ninety percent of employers offer a retirement savings plan in their workplace. When a plan is offered in the workplace, 70 percent of American workers who earn between $30,000 and $50,000 a year contribute to it.

With seven out of 10 HR professionals saying employees at their organizations are somewhat financially literate, employers also have turned to offering financial advice services. There has been an upward trend in this benefit the last five years, and, in 2017, almost one-half of U.S. employers provided it.

Offering workers financial advice benefits helps employees improve their financial management skills, plan how to manage debt and address financial stress and worry.

For many workers who are planning to retire, there is a common fear of running out of money in retirement. Some organizations are responding by offering employees an in-plan annuity option that guarantees income.

While the workplace continues to evolve, one thing remains constant: Employees want and value being able to save for retirement. And employers who understand that will have happier, more financially sound employees in their workforce.