More than two-thirds (71 per cent) of small- and mid-sized U.S. employers said offering more employee benefits helps improve retention, while 70 per cent said benefits help with recruitment efforts, according to a new survey by Principal Financial Services Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 employers, found two-thirds (67 per cent) said employee benefits improve employee productivity, a percentage that has increased consistently since 2015 (42 per cent).

Among the 75 per cent of employers with a benefits plan, 30 per cent offer an employee assistance plan and another 30 per cent offer emotional and wellness programs. A quarter (25 per cent) of respondents said they use digital platforms to help with insurance and employee benefits.

Read: How can employers turn the ‘Great Resignation’ tide?

Roughly 60 per cent said they want to offer even more employee benefits. When asked how they’d fund these additional benefits, 22 per cent said they’d use company profits and 21 per cent said they didn’t know.

The majority (84 per cent) said they offer benefits to retain key employees and 55 per cent said they want to offer more benefits to these workers. The most common benefits provided to key employees are disability income insurance — offered by 44 per cent of respondents — as well as deferred compensation, executive bonus plans and retirement protection disability coverage. More than half (54 per cent) said affordability is their top consideration when offering benefits to key employees.

Read: Benefits tops list of retention tools for employers: survey