Survey Says: Benefits That Work

Different strokes for different folks, or so some say. This week we asked readers to help identify the most popular benefit offered by their firm.

The results were, as expected, diverse. However, the clear “winner” was health plans, cited by nearly 22% of our respondents. Company matches and/or 401(k) programs managed a second place finish, with nearly 20% . Roughly 7% noted pre-tax dependent care accounts, while a comparable number said that flex-time/flex work arrangements made the most impact. Vacation policies, casual dress and pension plans garnered 5% each, while the remaining votes were spread between tuition reimbursements, financial planning assistance, retiree medical, paid parking, domestic partner benefits, stock purchase plans and free Internet access. One inspired reader simply responded : “my job!”.



“The most popular benefit we offer is Medical, Dental and Prescription Benefits. The employee premium is $1.00-yes, I know $1.00…I feel like Terry Bradshaw, ‘see what a buck can buy’. Not only is the employee contribution almost nill-but it is an excellent PPO Plan! A close second is our 401(k), we match up to 6% of the employees deferrals, $0.50 cash and $0.50 company stock.

And also I have to mention the last one, although it is considered part of the Compensation Plan-it really is an excellent benefit. Two words-STOCK OPTIONS! We proudly offer options to all positions in the company, on a very fair scale. It is a great perk!”


“We have over 91% participation rate in our 401(k) plan (have over 200 employees). We have a safe harbor plan, but even prior to this we were able to effectively express that there is “free” money available to our employees, as long as they participate. We have monthly meetings with all of our employees and we constantly stress the 401(k) plan in these meetings.”


“Being a computer software developer the best benefit we offer is working at home. That way the programmers can stay in their pajamas, play Doom, and program when the mood strikes, which may be during normal business hours, or in some cases, may be at midnight.”:


“Our most popular benefit? that we’re hiring in an economy that’s laying off (average base salary is $55,000)…we don’t lay off very often and that generally manifests as retrenching and people can’t seem to get fired. We hire them and then we keep them around for ever and can’t get rid of them because of……the pension plan”


And this week’s Editor’s Choice :

“We offer the usual expected benefits (i.e. Vacations, Medical/dental plans, life/LTD, etc.) but our most popular benefit would have to be “Christmas Turkeys”. Our company founder and CEO started this practice 20 years ago and it has become an annual tradition. Some years we have made great sport of giving out turkeys by holding a “turkey shoot” (an electronic shooting game), basketball shoots (make three baskets), etc. Everyone wins anyway, but it’s the idea of getting employees to have a little fun. Other years we have had the executives dress up as Santa’s Elves and hand out the turkeys.

Christmas Parties have come and gone, as well as company picnics that have fallen victim to budget cuts, but not Christmas Turkeys. We tried to cut out turkeys one year as a budget reduction, but the squabbling (from employees not the turkeys) was so bad that management backed off. It has now become a barometer of the company’s stability. When the company passes out turkeys at Christmas, it means that we’re doing ok and it’s time to go out and buy more stock. Seriously.”