Which Benefits are Best for Onsite Employees?

Numerous jobs can be performed remotely or on a hybrid schedule. Still, more than 70% of full-time roles require people to work onsite. For instance, consider those involved in transportation, manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, as well as frontline workers in healthcare, education, retail, hospitality, and other service industries. How can companies in these sectors attract and retain talent more effectively? This article looks at how specialized benefits for onsite employees can help.

Demand for Onsite Employees Remains High

Employers have been reeling from a series of one-two punches in recent years. It all started with the pandemic quarantine in 2020. Then in 2021, more than 47 million people left their jobs during the so-called “Great Resignation.” Soon after that, the notion of “quiet quitting” caught fire, when many who remained in their jobs decided it was no longer worth the effort to go above-and-beyond.

By the start of this year, work trends hit a low ebb. On average, 4 million U.S. employees were resigning each month, and at least 50% of the workforce was doing no more than the bare minimum. Yet job openings remained at historic highs. No wonder companies continue scrambling to engage and retain talent — especially frontline workers.

How Targeted Benefits Help

With inflation already cutting into profits at many companies, higher wages aren’t in this year’s budget. So instead, they’re developing special benefits packages for onsite employees.

Of course, benefits have always been a factor in every candidates’ decision to accept a job offer. But now, attractive benefits are even more important —  especially when remote or hybrid work arrangements aren’t an option.

Thoughtful benefits that address the interests of onsite employees can make a big difference in an environment where employers offer remote and hybrid workers  35-hour workweeks, unlimited PTO, gym memberships, and a host of other creative options.

Here’s how a solid benefits package can help tip the scale in your favor in today’s talent market…

Which Benefits Do Onsite Employees Value Most?

1. Flexible Schedules

When remote work isn’t an option, flexibility is a must. In fact, 95% of workers think flexible hours are more attractive than remote work, according to a recent Future Forum survey. An Adobe survey echoes this finding, with 84% of respondents saying they desire a more flexible work schedule.

2. Flexible Personal Time Off

Flexibility in PTO has also been gaining traction. In the wake of the pandemic, traditional ways of allocating time off no longer appeal to onsite employees. For example, imagine a parent sometimes volunteers at their child’s school for several hours during the work day. That employee should feel empowered to adjust their schedule accordingly.

The same concept should apply for people who need PTO when they need time off to focus on their mental wellbeing. In fact, a recent Harris Poll found that 23% of workers are receiving new mental health services from their employers.

3. Childcare Assistance

Childcare benefits have also become more popular. Whether it’s a stipend to help cover ongoing costs, discounts on daycare center services, or onsite childcare options, these benefits can make a significant difference. In fact, childcare costs increased more than 40% during the pandemic, and they continue to rise. This is why onsite employees consider childcare assistance a highly valuable benefit.

4. Career Development

For many workers, professional growth is a primary concern. That’s why learning and development opportunities can elevate your benefits package for onsite employees.

If your budget doesn’t support a full-blown educational initiative, even a simple lunch-and-learn event series can help. Topics can reach beyond work-related skills and knowledge. For example, workers might find it helpful to learn about personal financial planning, healthy eating, time management or other life skills. By gathering input about employee interests, you can co-create a curriculum.

Building a Better Benefits Packages

How to attract and retain employees with benefits is a question for the ages. Many types of incentives can enhance recruitment and improve engagement, productivity and performance. But whatever you choose to offer, the overall package must make sense for your company and your culture, as well as individual employees. These guidelines can help you make better decisions:

1. Conduct Focus Groups

Involving employees in planning discussions is always a good idea. It’s the most logical way to arrive at reliable answers about the benefits people value most.

You’ll want to schedule at least several different sessions, each with a representative sample of onsite employees. You’ll also need to prepare a series of carefully designed questions, along with discussion prompts to keep the conversation going. Additionally, be sure to choose moderators who are skilled at leading discussions, probing for details, and gathering feedback from all participants.

2. Send out Surveys

If you don’t have time or energy to conduct focus groups, you can rely on the tried-and-true method of distributing an anonymous survey to gather honest input. This process may uncover certain employee benefits and incentives you wouldn’t learn about in group discussions. That’s because some people aren’t comfortable sharing their ideas in a small group  setting, so an anonymous survey can be an effective way to give more employees a voice.

3. Establish an Employee Resource Group

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that share a common interest and/or characteristic. They generally focus on accomplishing specific goals that tie-in with organizational culture and work life. Most groups exist to help cultivate inclusion and a healthy work environment, so this can be an ideal way to bring together voices that can speak and act on behalf of onsite employees.

4. Monitor the Competition

Even if you have strong internal input, you’ll find that studying industry competitors offers a wealth of information about how to build an attractive benefit plan for onsite employees. Look at standard practices and benchmarks — both inside and outside of your industry. With this kind of contextual insight, you may even find that you can expand and improve upon what others offer.

The Bottom Line on Benefits for Onsite Employees

Money may be one of the fastest ways to motivate employees, but even  employers with deep pockets can’t compete on price alone. Another company will inevitably find a way to offer people more. This is why a thoughtfully designed benefits package can be your strength. People are motivated by more than compensation. It all comes down to finding the right mix of benefits to attract and retain onsite employees.

For the best solution, start with your organization’s culture, values, and business realities. Then craft a benefits package that fits that framework.

Focus On A Forward-Thinking Company Culture

Everyone looks for some magic formula on how to succeed at work, but to be honest, it’s not all that complicated.

I remember my boss once asked me, “How are companies like Facebook and Google so successful? What do they do that we’re not doing?”

I answered right away with, “They have laser-sharp focus, are driven to achieve a goal by a very clear mission, and never deviate from that goal.”

I honestly believe that’s the secret to a successful office. Everything else, such as hiring and organizational structure, kind of falls into place if you’re focused on that vision. When companies hire someone, they look to see if that person shares that same vision. If an employee has an idea for a new feature for the platform, he or she first checks to see if it helps reach that goal.

Here are a five things that I think help separate successful offices from unsuccessful ones.

1. Following Agile Methodologies

This is an important one. After working in a traditional company that followed a “waterfall” approach, I can see that the agile way of working is just smarter. Instead of planning endlessly and guessing how long things will take, work and adjust in real time.


The biggest issue I’ve seen is resistance of adoption by certain people (usually management), possibly because it’s so new to them and so hard to comprehend. Like the saying goes: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

I’m not sure how else to explain it to managers who are against agile, other than it just make more sense for the real world.

It’s impossible to plan properly for anything in life, even outside of work, so why not start working, and then readjust as necessary?

2. Learning How To Say No

This goes back to what I was saying in the beginning. In order to stay laser-focused, you have to be willing to say no more than you say yes. This is something that every office needs to succeed.

If you want to be successful at what you do, you have to make sure that you’re doing only what’s required to achieve those goals. Sometimes it will be hard to say no, but it’s necessary.

Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features” — Steve Jobs

3. Being Transparent

Transparency is another common characteristic of successful companies. When you stop to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Opening up to your employees, and being transparent about what you and the rest of the company are doing is a guaranteed way to make them think that you trust them and care about them.

Doing something as simple as using employee pulse surveys to get both qualitative and quantitative feedback can help with transparency. It will provide weekly, monthly, and quarterly advice to help your organization understand its employees.

My favorite example of this is a company called Hubspot. Its known for its radical transparency, and I’m confident that’s a huge reason for its success. HubSpot shares pretty much everything its legally allowed to with all of its employees on an internal “wiki.”

4. Embracing Change

It’s important not to get stuck in your ways of doing things. This is true for simple, internal processes, and even your entire business model.

Don’t be afraid to pivot to achieve success. Companies are more innovative than ever, and competition is fiercer than ever. If (more like when) the time comes, be ready to adapt.

Using a tool to monitor competitors will help you keep an eye on what they’re doing, and how to react.

Also, customers’ needs will change over time as well. It’s important not to become complacent, and to make sure you are always satisfying them. You should be talking to your customers frequently to ask them what they want, what they don’t like about what you currently do, etc.

There are lots of ways to do this, and there are lots of incredible tools out there, but nothing beats a good old phone call.

5. Relaxing at Work

This can be a tough one to master, especially because balance is so critical. We don’t want to be too relaxed that no work is being done, but we don’t want to be too stressed that our work suffers.

But learning how to relax can be one of the most important things for having a successful office. Again, this kind of relates to the first thing I mentioned about being focused on that long-term vision, because you shouldn’t be so stressed or so anxious to finish a task. If it needs to be done that quickly, then you’re probably not thinking long term enough.

If you ever want to shake things up at the office and want to create a cool atmosphere, try using unique team-building activities to make your office’s company culture thrive.

How Are You Bettering Your Company Culture?

Is your company focusing on its culture? What are some tips and tricks that you may have to offer to improve another company’s culture?

About the Author: Jeffrey Fermin is one of the founders of Officevibe. With a goal of solving some of the major problems that still exist in the modern day workplace, he uses his knowledge to help organizations increase employee engagement.

photo credit: FastLizard4 via photopin cc