I was traveling last week, cross-country, to facilitate a retirement preparedness workshop, so to fill the 2 hour layover I had at the airport, I found some interesting reading material from the Society of Human Resources Professionals (SHRM) on a report on their 2011 Employee Benefits Study.  Here are some common benefits:

  • 77% of companies provide free coffee
  • 67% of companies allow employees to keep hotel points for business travel (MY FAVORITE!)
  • 55% of companies provide a yearly company picnic
  • 55% of companies offer casual dress day one time a week
  • 54% of companies have a service anniversary award

So with everyone offering free coffee, hotel points, and a picnic, how can your company stand out as a cut above the rest?  Well, I got a kick out of the fact that 2% of companies last year hosted a “take your pet to work day” and 6% of companies have a liberal pets at work policy, which I am sure my cat would not find pleasurable at all.

Pets can certainly help relieve stress but that doesn’t mean Fido or Felix needs to accompany you to work.  Given that financial issues are the leading cause of stress, another way is by offering financial education/investment advice:

  • 30% of companies provided one-on-one financial education/investment advice in 2011
  • 24% of companies offered financial education/investment advice in a group setting in 2011
  • 22% of companies offered financial education/investment advice online in 2011
  • 37% of companies offered retirement preparation planning advice in 2011
  • 18% of companies provided access to a credit counseling service in 2011

Although increasing, providing financial education and advice is still a new trend.  Financial literacy of the workforce should be a high priority as we see the burden of retirement funding shifting more and more to employees.  Next week, I’ll be examining more of these trends in employee benefit offerings over the last five years.