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June 28, 2016
New report shows employees want improvements to comp and benefits over perks

A new report from #HRWins and Namely—the modern all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platform for midmarket companies—reveals that in order to build a healthy company culture, employers should prioritize core benefits and compensation before introducing employee engagement perks like recognition, wellness, or rewards programs.

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Employees want better benefits and compensation over perksThe report, "Where Purpose Meets Performance, Can HR Tech Solve Culture?", shows midmarket HR professionals are dealing with a heightened regulatory environment and increasing demands from the C-suite to deliver strategic HR. However, according to the research, employees still want the basics: meaningful work, efficient HR processes, and competitive benefits.

The research, also found that HR and finance leaders see the biggest potential return on investments (ROI) from HR technology and improved employee benefits. The findings are clear: midsized companies should focus on core HR and benefits—not perks and gimmicks—to create a healthy company culture of engaged employees.

The #HRWins research shows direct alignment: employees want meaningful work and great employee benefits, and midsized companies perceive the highest ROI in those same areas. Key findings include:

  • 57% of employees surveyed responded that "meaningful work" contributes most toward a positive sentiment in the workplace.
  • When asked to rate employer-provided perks, 54% of employees chose "benefits and paid time off (PTO)" as the perk which drives engagement most.
  • When asked which perks they believe have a high ROI, nearly 60% of midsized employers also ranked "benefits and paid time off" well above rewards programs, team outings, office environment, snacks, and recognition.

Featuring three case studies of high-performing midmarket companies, the #HRWins report concludes that the greatest opportunity to reinforce culture and engage employees is during onboarding and benefits open-enrollment periods, or at the time when payroll and PTO information is being reviewed.

The report also found that many midmarket companies are planning to make purchasing decisions in HR technology in the coming year. Payroll outranked all other options as the #1 area where companies plan to increase their technology investment in 2017.

"It is often cited that 87% of executives rate culture and employee engagement as their biggest HR related challenge and this #HRWins report clearly highlights that for the midmarket, core HR is the surest driver of a meaningful employee experience," said Matt Straz, founder and CEO of Namely. "Once that's established, HR leaders can turn their attention to delivering strategic HR, where the challenges are partnering with finance, using data and analytics, and creating a healthy, high-performance work environment."

While HR has long been fascinated with engagement, finance has little priority around investing in it. Only 37% of respondents characterized finance's priority level on measuring employee engagement, satisfaction, or happiness as a "priority" or "significant priority".

In fact, only 8% of companies have actually implemented a strategy across their enterprise to measure employee engagement. To understand the disconnect, the #HRWins report points to the challenge in tying employee engagement to business results. Instead, finance leaders are willing to increase budgets for core HR initiatives like benefits (39%) or learning and development (34%), areas they know employees value.

"These results buck some of the trends currently supported by many thought leaders, consultants, and market analysts covering the topic. Employee engagement is not an outcome and it is not about pulse surveys, ping pong tables, and happy hours," said George LaRocque, industry analyst and author of the report. "The modern workplace and its Millennial workers have the same basic needs. People, meaningful work, and strong corporate cultures are leading us forward and modern, core HR technology is illuminating that path."

LaRocque, LLC surveyed employees and HR professionals from companies with fewer than 5,000 employees, receiving more than 600 responses. For more information on this report, click here.

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