It's always a good idea for a company to make itself attractive to prospective employees and to keep existing employees satisfied, too. That's why some firms have been beefing up the benefits they offer. (The Motley Fool may be ahead of the curve -- we were recently profiled on PBS for offering unlimited vacation days and other fun and valuable benefits.) To lure in new hires, many companies have begun offering a range of useful new services.

Some businesses now offer on-site health clinics, which can save employees time spent waiting in doctors' offices. Nearly a third of large companies now offer these benefits, including Toyota (NYSE:TM), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Continental Airlines (NYSE:CAL), and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP). Entities like Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) and Johns Hopkins provide and staff the clinics.

Some companies also offer smoking-cessation and weight-control programs, along with gym membership subsidies or on-site workout rooms. Since healthier employees can help companies spend a lot less on health care, this is often a win-win proposition.

Retirement benefits are also getting a makeover at many companies. Ariba (NASDAQ:ARBA), for example, has improved its employer match, started an auto-enrollment program, and added new investment choices. Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) has also enhanced its 401(k) plan, upping its matching commitment. Firms are starting to offer employees more access to investment education and guidance, too.

Automatic enrollment in retirement plans is gaining traction across the nation, with employers signing up new employees for 401(k) plans as a default, rather than defaulting to not enrolling them. This way, the employee must proactively opt out of it, instead of having to opt in. Given our human tendency to procrastinate, this new trend bodes well for our future financial health.

As an investor, look for companies that are working to retain their talent via attractive benefits. They'll have an advantage over competitors. As a worker, be sure to plan and save for retirement. For detailed guidance, test-drive our Rule Your Retirement newsletter service. A free trial will give you full access to all past issues, which frequently offer recommendations of promising stocks and mutual funds.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of PepsiCo and lives near a Walgreen's. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.