How Your Employees Really Feel About Workplace Benefits





Small businesses are like the “little engine that could.” They drive the U.S. economy and provide the majority of jobs to American workers. In this piece on workplace benefits, we analyze some small business benefit statistics.



Small Business Benefit Statistics

According to the National Small Business Association, health care costs are the number one concern for small businesses.

But it’s not all bad news.  Small businesses are coping.

Below are selected small business benefit statistics around health care and other employee benefits.  These statistics are from the 2018 Aflac Workplaces Report.

However, here is what we think is so important about these statistics. They show how your peers are satisfying their employees and dealing with rising costs.

Employer Benefit Statistics

Let’s start by looking at the issues from a small business employer’s perspective:

  • A whopping 96% of small businesses that offer workplace benefits do so because they believe happy and healthy employees are more productive.
  • And 81% of those offering benefits believe they are main factor keeping existing employees happy.
  • About 56% of small business employers say that rising health care costs prevents them from offering pay increases. The good news is, that percentage is down from 66% the year before.
  • Some small employers cope with health care costs by asking employees to share in the costs.  About 19% increased the employee share of the premium. Another 18% increased employees’ co-pays.
  • What about employers that do not offer benefits to their employees?  Cost is the number one factor for this group.  Sixty-eight percent say they cannot afford it.
  • There is a correlation between offering voluntary benefits and business growth. Employers that offer voluntary benefits are more likely to say they are growing sales revenue.  Voluntary benefits are benefits the employee may choose to sign up for. Examples of voluntary benefits are vision, dental, legal, life or identify theft insurance. Employees typically pay some or all of the cost of these on their own.
  • Also, 90% of business leaders are interested in benefits technology tools for their employees. These include benefit enrollment websites, calculators and educational videos.

Employee Benefit Statistics

Of course, it’s not all about the employer. If you don’t satisfy employees, they get the ultimate choice. They simply switch jobs and go elsewhere.

So let’s next look at small business benefit statistics from the employee’s perspective. According to the 2018 Aflac Workplaces Report:

  • Workplace benefits are important for existing employees.  75% say benefits are extremely important or very important to their well being and financial health.
  • And 34% say a better benefits package would help keep them in their current jobs.
  • Benefits can also be a recruiting tool. 55% of employees say they would consider a job offer that has lower pay but a better benefits package.
  • Employees are not well prepared for financial emergencies.  44% of employees could not go more than three weeks without a paycheck.
  • More than half (58%) of employees would not be able to cover unexpected medical costs of $1,000 or more.
  • 85% of employees see a need for voluntary benefits.
  • Employees tend to be more satisfied with the overall benefits package when they are offered and/or enroll in voluntary benefits.

Workplace Benefits Trends

There are three workplace benefits trends we think this report highlights:

  1. Cost shifting is an important strategy — More and more employers are coping with rising benefits costs by shifting some of the cost to employees.
  2. Benefits are a financial safety net for employees — Your employees may be more unprepared for uncovered medical expenses than you realize.  The majority couldn’t weather even a modest hospital bill of $1,000 on their own.
  3. Voluntary benefits are growing in popularity –– Both employers and employees increasingly see the advantages of voluntary benefits.

Are these trends ones you can take into account to grow your business?



The Aflac study is updated every year. The 2018 report covers 2,000 employees and 1,700 U.S. employers in various industries.

Benefits Image via Shutterstock 4 Comments ▼


Shawn Hessinger


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends. A professional journalist with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business, he has another 10 years of experience in digital media for trade publications and news sites. Shawn has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and eventually managing editor with responsibility for nine weekly newspapers, the Berks Mont Newspapers. He is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

4 Reactions

  1. Though medical related benefits are not as important here in Australia (the public system is fairly good and we all pay tax to support it) other benefits are quite important. Maternity leave has been a contentious issue in the past.

  2. Very evident post, as employees are essential part of every company. They should be provided with required benefits, so that not just their loyalty, but motivation should also be drifted towards the company.

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