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These Are the Most Prized Employee Benefits

By Selena Maranjian - Jul 9, 2017 at 7:16AM

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Great benefits are major draws for new employees and powerful retainers for existing ones. Here are the benefits that excite employees most -- see which ones your employer offers.

"You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it."
-- Oprah Winfrey 

Oprah's thinking is similar to that of many others who suggest that as long as you find a job that you love doing, all will be well. It's a nice thought, but it's also good to think about how you will support yourself and an dependents over time. Most of us would not only like to be employed in jobs we like, but we want sufficient, if not good, pay -- and, ideally, good job benefits as well.

a graphic with the words "employee benefits" in the center and around it are words and images for "paid vacation, "health insurance," etc.

Image source: Getty Images.

Survey says...

When it comes to employee benefits, the folks at have a lot of information to offer. After all, their website is a repository of workers rating and reviewing their respective employers. also conducts surveys to gather additional information. One survey found that about 57% of workers reported that job benefits were a main consideration when deciding whether to accept a job offer.

But wait -- there's more!'s Employment Confidence Survey from the third quarter of 2015 reported that fully 79% of workers would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay raise. A whopping 82% of women said so, versus 76% of men, while 89% of those aged 18 to 34 agreed, versus just 66% of those 55 to 64 years old.

All benefits are not equal, though. So which benefits are most prized?


Percentage of Workers Who Value It More Than a Raise

Healthcare insurance


Vacation/paid time off


Performance bonus


Paid sick days


401(k) plan, retirement plan and/or pension


Flexible schedule (e.g., ability to work from home)


Office perks (free lunch, casual attire)


Employee development/training programs


Tuition reimbursement


Employee discounts


Gym membership or wellness programs


Stock, stock options, and/or equity


Paid parental leave


Child-care assistance


Commuter assistance


Diversity program


Data source: Q3 2015 Employee Confidence Survey. 

That's a good review of the most prized employee benefits, but remember that for any particular worker, certain benefits will be more important than others. The company matters, too. Employee discounts will be more valuable for some workers than for others, depending on their spending habits and on the products or services that the company offers. Workers taking care of family members will prize child care assistance, paid parental leave, and flexible schedules more than many single workers.

gold star trophy

Image source: Getty Images.

Companies with great benefits

Given that benefits can be very important to workers, for both attracting and retaining them, which companies are delivering generous benefits? Well, here are some standouts with substantial and/or unusual benefits. If your employer isn't among them, you might bring up any attractive benefit ideas to your human resources department -- you never know which benefits might be added later.

  • Johnson & Johnson: The healthcare conglomerate offers a pension to new employees, making it one of very few companies to still do so.

  • Facebook: The social-media titan even offers health insurance and free housing to its well-paid interns. An employee noted at, "The worst thing is that there are so many perks and benefits you may not know about all of them." 

  • The cloud-computing specialist offers  an employee stock purchase plan where workers can buy shares of company stock at discounted prices.

  • Southwest Airlines: The airline offers its workforce and their eligible dependents free travel privileges.

  • Wegmans: The supermarket chain offers yoga classes, subsidized Weight Watchers meetings, and fitness discounts.

  • Clorox: One employee for the consumer products company rattled off a host of benefits at "401(k) matching, financial planning advisors, good medical coverage contribution, health guidance and support, flexible work hours, charitable donation matching, health club discounts, flexible spending accounts for medical and child care, vacation, and personal time off."

  • Starbucks: The coffee giant offers those who work at least 20 hours a week full college tuition reimbursement toward a bachelor's degree.

  • Whole Foods Market: The green grocer offers both full-time and part-time workers a 20% discount at its stores.

  • Netflix: The streaming giant offers theoretically unlimited vacation and sick time to workers, with the understanding that they will get their work done.

  • Google: The Internet conglomerate offers, among other things, free meals, generous 401(k) matching, and on-site gyms at some locations.

This list should suggest to you that a lot of companies out there understand the value of great employee benefits. If your employer isn't one of them, that's a reason to look elsewhere.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Selena Maranjian owns shares of Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool recommends The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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