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Benefits > Insights & Trends > Retention > Talent Acquisition

Workers’ Most-Wanted Perk: Is it Really About the Fancy Title?

Employee putting new name plate on office doorCatered gourmet lunches. Nap pods. On-site massages. Bike repair for commuters — or “baby cash” for new parents. Self-created job titles. Half-day Fridays — or four-day workweeks. Paid month-long company shutdowns. Free dry cleaning — or even house cleaning. Better maternity leave options.

Crazy awesome perks — much of which we see from today’s Internet start-up companies — can turn one’s thoughts about finding a new and better job into action. But which perks, benefits or types of work environment speak to your employees most? The answer likely depends on their current situation mixed with their style of motivation — and it’s not always about the flashy benefits we so often hear about — or even the job title itself — that really make them want to stay, according to a new CareerBuilder survey that explores which job factors are most important to today’s workers.

Your best workers? They’re leaving.

If your company isn’t giving your employees what they need, don’t be surprised when they leave: thirty-two percent of employers said top performers already left their organizations in 2012, and 39 percent are concerned they’ll lose their best people in 2013. While 66 percent of workers said they’re generally satisfied with their jobs, one in four workers said they will change jobs either this year or next. But what’s causing them to bolt?

Benefits worth staying for

While moving up the ranks is a key factor in job satisfaction and employee retention, more than half of workers (55 percent) don’t care about having a certain title. The vast majority of workers — 88 percent — say salary matters more. But that’s not all: Many other factors outrank job title as most important for job satisfaction:

  • Flexible schedule – 59 percent
  • Being able to make a difference – 48 percent
  • Challenging work – 35 percent
  • Ability to work from home – 33 percent
  • Academic reimbursement – 18 percent
  • Having an office – 17 percent
  • Company car – 14 percent

OK, what about that massage in the nap room?

It’s true: Twenty-six percent of workers said that giving special perks is an effective way to improve their retention. Another truth? People like massages. But what they like even more, when it comes to office perks, is getting out of work early, convenient ways to work out, and sporting a well-loved pair of denim jeans.

We asked workers to identify one perk that would make their workplace more satisfying, and as it turns out, shorter days, convenient gym access and casual dress scored highest, meaning those flashy perks, although they do address things workers want (flexibility, relaxation and de-stressing, health, more time to attend to personal needs, help with kids), aren’t always necessary. Companies with smaller budgets take a cue by being creative and addressing the core wants and needs of workers — without going broke in the process.

Perks workers want most:

No. 1: Half-day Fridays – 40 percent
No. 2: On-site fitness center – 20 percent
No. 3: Ability to wear jeans – 18 percent
No. 4: Daily catered lunches – 17 percent
No. 5: Massages – 16 percent
No. 6: Nap room – 12 percent
No. 7: Rides to and from work – 12 percent
No. 8: Snack cart that comes around the office – 8 percent
No. 9: Private restroom – 7 percent
No. 10: On-site daycare – 6 percent

As Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, points out, it’s not always about the money, but about recognizing what factors make individual employees tick.

“What determines job satisfaction is not a one-size-fits-all, but flexibility, recognition, the ability to make a difference and yes, even special perks, can go a long way,”  “Being compensated well will always be a top consideration, but we’re seeing work-life balance, telecommuting options and learning opportunities outweigh other job factors when an employee decides whether to stay with an organization.”


More than 3,900 full-time workers nationwide participated in the survey conducted online by Harris Interactive©.

What else is compelling workers to stay at their respective companies? See the entire study.

What’s your secret to retaining your best people?

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.

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