Employee Benefits: Are They Enough?

For months I have listened to the continuous complaints of my colleagues. The main gripe is that the local start-up that has employed us has not provided us with adequate benefits. My colleagues tackle this favored subject with a serious mien and with impressive persistence.

I rarely join in these riveting sessions of employee bonding. I have no issue with complaining as a form of team bonding; I have a time or two delved into my horror over the non-refrigerated milk that my company provides with a few close colleagues.

It’s just that I can’t get the ever logical portion of my brain from pointing out that the company is, in general, providing fairly good benefits due to the fact they’ve only been in business for three years. After all, the company at the time was providing six out of the ten perks listed on this infographic about benefits that employers offer. And they were actively planning what it would take to provide more perks. At the moment, I am satisfied.

Importance of Perks

Satisfaction is not guaranteed when you land a new job. After the panic of being unemployed has faded from memory, employees begin to analyze whether that job offers enough short term and long term perks to become a career. The result of that personal analysis will affect how long the professional will remain at the company.

Salary and benefits are two factors that will directly affect employee retention. CareerBuilder conducted a survey that delves into employee work satisfaction. The survey revealed that 66% of unhappy employees were dissatisfied with their salary.

How do you prevent those employees from jumping ship? Perks and salary directly affect quality of life. They allow career women to afford more, live more comfortable, and care for any children or pets, so it is no surprise that the workers surveyed suggested two ways to increase employee retention: higher salaries and better benefits.

What Can the Company Afford?

When employees asked when better benefits were coming, the answer that management gave was consistent. The message was simple. We’re a start-up. We can’t afford to give you the benefits and salaries you want and deserve right now. That can be a hard message to swallow.

We’re employees, but we are also people with bills, student loans to repay, and retirement funds to start. We need to get started now. One of my former colleagues felt this desire so thoroughly that they suggested that by raising our salaries, we would be motivated to work harder.

Nice thought, however highly illogical. Most people do not work harder when raises are handed to them. They work harder to achieve a goal. And a smart company should not gamble with the fact that employees might become more productive if they are given a benefit the company can’t afford. And a career woman, who wants a long term gig, should not put their livelihood in the hands of a company that is so cavalier with their own long-term sustainability.

You must decide. Remain at the company that promises a killer benefit package or move to a company that already has an established benefits package? At the root of that decision is the question, can I afford to wait? As a single female who has no plans of having children in the near future, I can afford to give the start-up I’ve been working at another year to become stabilized. Some of my former colleagues do not have the ability to wait.


So have you assessed your career situation for 2014? This is the time to do so. Share your thoughts with us!

Samantha Stauf

Samantha Stauf graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in technical writing. In the last year and a half, she has been working in the marketing department at a local start-up

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