Anyone who’s ever worked for a startup knows what it’s like to have zero clue as to whether they’ll be employed tomorrow or if the company they’re trying to build will survive the week. But walking that tightrope is worth it for most folks, who exchange confidence for the potential to build America’s next great company.
Everyone else, or the vast majority or working Americans, is looking for steadiness. They’ve exchanged the potential of being the next Mark Zuckerberg for the promise of consistent employment for a stable company.
That makes employee confidence a critical currency in a workplace. When it comes to maintaining that confidence, employee benefits and perks are just as important as salary and the temperament of superiors.
Why Confidence Matters
Employees who are uncertain about their own employment or the overall health of their company won’t invest too much of themselves in their work. That’s a major problem, as there are direct correlations between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.
As it stands today, 70% of employees are disengaged from their companies. Lack of confidence in their employer is not the sole cause of that, but in an economy where layoffs and closures are still common people are naturally going to have trust issues with a company that can cut them loose at any moment.
What Benefits Have to Do With It
Great benefits portray a thriving office that values employees. It's why 78% consider employee benefits very or extremely important in their decision to accept or reject a job, and why 58% of employees say better benefits are the best way to improve retention. (See our collection of employee engagement statistics here.)
Benefits alone may not be enough to save a disengaged workforce, but they clearly carry importance to everyone in an organization. When benefits are subpar, or when they're cut (as is often the case with belt tightening), it raises a flag to employees. "Are we struggling? Is my job in danger? Is the office going to close?"
Health care and retirement packages are important, but so are smaller perks such as employee discount programs and disability insurance. These all combine to communicate a company's investment for every individual within its walls.
The Beneficial Payoff
The right benefits have positive influences on employee performance, retention, absenteeism, and attitude. They're the primary way employees interact with the company outside of working hours, and they almost always engender positive engagement. They can be a heavy investment, but there is a return on that investment.
That frequent engagement leads to confidence, which leads to better performance and happier employees, which leads to happier customers. Most companies can't promise their employees the chance to become millionaires or "guru" status, and most people aren't looking for that startup lifestyle anyway. They just want to contribute to something that will continue to contribute back to them - and every company is capable of that, starting with a fair benefits package.
(Sleeping at work photo courtesy of Nathan Jones)