Employees are increasingly prioritising wellbeing benefits and work-life balance over salary when considering job opportunities. A study by MetLife found that 62% of employees say benefits are a major reason they stay with their current employer, while 52% say they would be willing to take a job with lower pay but better benefits. Research shows that some of the top benefits employers offer include mental health services (55%) and wellness programs (48%). 

In the fiercely competitive job market of today, companies strive to attract the best talent. While a high salary may be the most obvious way to attract and retain top talent, it’s not always possible or feasible for companies, especially those operating on tight budgets. The adoption of wellbeing programs that not only create positive behaviour change in current employees, but also entice new employees, is an effective solution for HR leaders and businesses looking to address the salary gap. 

The Changing Landscape of Employee Preferences 

Recent findings highlight the shifting priorities of employees, indicating a growing preference for wellbeing benefits over a higher salary. This change can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the rise of the millennial and Gen Z workforce has brought about a generation that values work-life balance, personal development, and purpose-driven work. These individuals seek fulfilment beyond financial compensation, looking for workplaces that align with their values and support their overall wellbeing. Secondly, Gartner states that post COVID-19, people have developed a new sense of self-awareness and self-worth. Gartner outlines this as The Human Deal Framework: 

A circle diagram of the The Human Deal Framework. There are five sections that read 'I feel autonomous...', 'I feel valued...', 'I feel cared for...', 'I feel invested...', 'I feel understood...'.

 The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of health and wellbeing, leading employees to prioritise these aspects in their work environments. As employees grapple with stress, anxiety, and burnout, they seek organisations that provide robust wellbeing benefits to support their mental, physical, and emotional health.  

The Impact of Wellbeing Benefits on Employee Engagement 

A study by Gallup found that employees who rated their wellbeing highly were 43% more likely to be engaged in their jobs than those with lower wellbeing scores. Organisations that offer comprehensive wellbeing benefits see improved morale, reduced absenteeism, and increased employee satisfaction, all of which contribute to higher productivity levels. Wellness programs also have the power to retain talent. 67% of employees who work for organisations with wellness programs have higher job satisfaction and are more likely to recommend the company to others. 

Mental Health Support 

The importance of mental health support in the workplace has gained significant attention in recent years, further amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a recent survey finding 81% of employees believe access to mental health support is a critical factor when considering a new job or remaining with their current employer.   

Organisations that offer mental health support programs demonstrate a commitment to creating a psychologically safe and supportive work environment. This may include providing access to employee assistance program services, promoting mental health awareness through training programs, implementing flexible work arrangements, and establishing policies that reduce stigma around seeking help. 

Employees who receive mental health support at work experience higher job satisfaction, reduced stress levels, and increased overall wellbeing. They are more likely to have positive work relationships, be engaged in their roles, and demonstrate higher levels of resilience. 

Why Wellbeing Programs Should be a Top Priority  

The changing landscape of employee preferences, the impact of wellbeing benefits on engagement, and the emphasis on mental health support highlight the growing preference for wellbeing benefits over salary. Organisations that recognise this shift can meet employees changing needs by offering comprehensive wellbeing programs that instil positive behaviour change across all aspects of wellbeing and help create a positive work environment that will attract and retain top talent.  

Our corporate wellbeing programs have successfully improved the wellbeing of employees across a variety of organisations. Read our Client Success Stories here. 

Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?