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Article Written By:  Gretchen Smitson @ blog.bernardhealth.com

Workers prefer benefits
Over the past decade, power within the job market has shifted from employers to candidates. This change in the recruitment ecosystem has led employers to take a deeper look at the benefits available to employees. Rather than simply offering increased wages, employers are increasingly offering unique benefit packages that reflect company culture and employee preferences.

Here are the 5 most attractive employee benefits according to Harvard Business Review:

1. Benefits health, dental, and vision insurance

While non-insurance benefits are gaining in popularity, health, dental, and vision insurance remain the most popular employee benefit. In fact, 88% of workers surveyed reported that they would consider or heavily consider a position with good insurance options for these three segments.

2. More flexible hours
The rise in the Millennial workforce has greatly changed the culture of the working world. Increasingly, employees seek positions that permit work hour flexibility. No, this doesn’t mean that the employee gets free reign. It just means that the employee has more options as to what time of day work is done and where a task is accomplished. By offering employees more autonomy over their schedule, employers increase overall employee satisfaction and are much more likely to retain the employee.

3. More vacation time
Similarly to employee preference for flexible work hours, workers express greater interest in supplemented vacation time. Some employers even offer unlimited vacation days — another extremely popular benefit.

If you’re an employer, you’re probably thinking, “Of course they want vacation days…how will more vacation help my business?” Increasing employee vacation time can actually benefit you and your employee. In fact, according to CNN’s interview with expert Brigid Schulte, those who forgo vacation time are, “sicker, less productive, stressed, and more anxious and depressed.” In sum, vacation allows employees time to rest which makes them better workers when they return to the office.

4. Work-from-home options
With the rapid change in technology, more employees are able to perform day-to-day tasks remotely. The option to work from home allows more flexibility in personal life which, in turn, results in an increase in worker productivity. In addition to an increase in productivity, employees working from home also exhibit greater peace of mind, better physical health, and improved relationships.

5. Student loan assistance
More frequently, employers are offering student loan assistance as a benefit opportunity for employees. This benefit is particularly popular with the younger demographic transitioning into the workforce. While this particular benefit type is not currently prevalent, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau anticipates a significant increase in employer coverage of student loan repayment in the near future.

Other popular employee benefits
Tuition assistance

Paid maternity/paternity leave

Free gym membership

Free daycare services

Free fitness/yoga classes

Free snacks

Free coffee

Company-wide retreats

Weekly free employee outings

On-site gym

Team bonding events