Have no fear, small businesses — you won’t go bankrupt if you try to compete with Google’s employee benefits offering.

Besides health-care coverage, the most popular benefits aren’t too expensive, according to a new survey by marketing agency Fractl.

More than half (54 per cent) of the 2,000 American employees who responded to the survey said they’d give heavy consideration to an employer’s health coverage when choosing between a high-paying job and a lower-paying job with more benefits. Another 34 per cent said they’ve give some consideration. In the United States, fully-paid insurance costs an average of US$11,394.

Read: Do employees want benefits for their pets?

The next most popular benefits, according to the survey, are related to employees’ work-life balance. Respondents want more flexible hours and options to work from home, more vacation time and unlimited vacation, as well as paid parental leave and assistance with student loans and tuition.

In addition to attracting top employees and helping with their work-life balance, unlimited vacation can reduce administrative costs and eliminate having to pay out unused vacation days, according to Fractl, which calculated that for an employee earning a base salary of US$60,000, three weeks of vacation will cost the company US$3,465. Unlimited vacation, on the other hand, would cost US$3,234.

Fractl also analyzed which benefits appeal more to male and female employees. It found women are more likely to prefer free fitness classes, paid parental leave, free daycare and tuition assistance. Men are more likely to appreciate team-bonding events, company-wide retreats, free snacks and an onsite gym.

Read: The hidden costs of unlimited vacation policies

Surprisingly, free snacks also made the list of employees’ favourite benefits with nearly 70 per cent of respondents giving free food some consideration when choosing a job. While inexpensive, in-office grub signifies a company is invested in its employees’ health and happiness, and encourages them to take breaks.

Even though many popular benefits won’t break the bank, large businesses can have an easier time offering them, noted Fractl in its report. That’s because they can provide perks that require scale, such as on-site gyms and daycares, and can buy food in bulk. It’s also easier for them to offer more time off because they have more employees who can share the work of the vacationing staffer.

Read: Employers offer flexible working to attract and retain talent: report

Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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