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How Well Do You Know Your Employees?

How Well Do You Know Your Employees?
Credit: RawPixel/Shutterstock

There is a good chance you don't know your employees as well as you think you do, especially when it comes to the perks they crave, new research finds.

Employers and employees have different views on which benefits are most valuable, found a study from Robert Half. Specifically, 39 percent of executives said health and wellness benefits are the perks their workers want most. However, just 16 percent of employees said they value those benefits above all others.

Instead, employees crave perks that contribute to a better work-life balance. The workers surveyed all placed a greater priority on getting additional vacation days, being able to telecommute and having the option to work nontraditional hours. Executives underestimated the value employees place on each of those perks.

The only perk employees and executives saw eye-to-eye on were on-site perks, such as free parking or lunch. Both groups rated those as the benefits employees are least likely to want most. [Looking to Attract Top Talent? Offer This Perk ]

"It's important for businesses to ask employees what perks they value most and clearly promote the firm's offerings," Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said in a statement. "Many companies undersell these benefits."

The good news for employees is that many organizations are more willing to negotiate on the benefits that employees desire. The study found that 40 percent of executives are more agreeable to negotiating nonmonetary perks than they were a year ago. Just 6 percent are less open to it this year, the survey showed.

This openness to offer more benefits could help businesses attract top employees, McDonald said.

"Nonmonetary perks can serve as a differentiator when trying to attract top talent in today's competitive hiring environment, especially for smaller companies," he said.

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,200 chief financial officers from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, as well as more than 1,000 U.S. workers employed in office environments.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.