Why a company’s benefits package should figure into your career decisions

Benefits and perks can reflect an employer’s organizational culture and values. Make sure they align with your own convictions and needs.

Salary is always a prime consideration when evaluating career opportunities, but benefits and perks can have a significant impact on your ultimate happiness and job satisfaction. The range of benefits offered by a company reflects its culture, and people want to work for firms that care about their employees and whose values align with their own.

While most companies provide health insurance, paid time off and retirement plans to workers, there can be a disconnect when it comes to other sought-after benefits and perks. Research from Robert Half Finance &  Accounting indicates professionals highly value flexible work schedules. But while more and more employees are enjoying the perk, there are often limitations with less than one in five companies offering compressed workweek or telecommuting options.

With the high demand for experienced professionals in the current hiring environment, companies need to realize a comprehensive benefits package is necessary to attract and retain top performers. Or more precisely, the most successful employers will be the ones that offer benefits and perks that show they understand and are willing to address a broader spectrum of their employees’ needs.

The complete package

Delving further into a company’s benefits offerings is a great way to help determine career compatibility.

Professionals are increasingly seeking perks that allow scheduling flexibility and alternative work arrangements that help create a better work-life balance. Letting employees manage their own work and home responsibilities indicates an organizational culture that trusts its workers and has an interest in their overall well-being. Workplace wellness programs and subsidized gym memberships are other offerings that help keep employees healthier and less likely to experience burnout. The best benefits are often the ones that make your life easier and happier.

Firms that offer tuition reimbursement and cover certification fees are communicating their interest in your continued personal and professional development. Company-sponsored help to obtain or maintain professional credentials like the certified public accountant is especially desirable, helping save employees out-of-pocket expenses, boosting their future salary potential and potentially accelerating career advancement. A company that encourages you to continue growing is a great place to cultivate a career.

Many employees today also place high importance on giving back to their communities. A company shows its values are aligned with its workforce when it supports their charitable activities with matching gift programs and facilitates time for volunteer work.

Enhancing the benefits

If a company’s offerings fall short of expectations, remember that there may still be room for negotiation. Healthcare and retirement plans are likely set, but most employers understand, and even expect, professionals to further discuss compensation and benefits when offered a new position.

Focus on areas with potential flexibility like expanding vacation time, wellness programs or career development support that could be standard offerings at the company’s competitors. Be confident and prepared to show that your requests deserve consideration by providing quantitative examples of your contributions to previous employers.

It’s always wise to do your homework and research current trends in compensation packages before negotiating or making a career decision. Check in with your professional network, including recruiters, to get input on their experience with the array of benefits and perks that companies offer.

Resources like the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals can also help provide insight into current standards and help produce the professional pairing you’ve always wanted.

Steve Saah is the executive director for Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world’s first and largest specialized financial recruitment service.