The report, released Monday, shows a significant jump from 2014 to 2015 in several different wellness benefits, such as fitness competitions — which 34 percent of respondents now say they offer. "It shows that organizations are taking wellness to the next level," she said.
In addition to showing the increased focus on wellness plans, the data revealed other broader trends. The SHRM survey examined the prevalence of more than 300 benefits: things like dental insurance (offered by 96 percent of respondents), 401(k) plans (90 percent), on-site massage therapy (11 percent) and prepared take-home meals (1 percent).
And 35 percent of the 463 randomly selected H.R. professionals who answered the survey said they have raised the number of benefits they're offering this year. That's up from 28 percent in 2014, which could be a sign that companies are piling on perks and one-time rewards rather than raising wages across the board.
Among those benefits, paid leave has been particularly expanding. Whether spurred by local legislation or in an attempt to pre-empt regulatory changes, 42 percent of the H.R. pros said their companies now offer a paid sick leave plan, up from 33 percent in 2014. (SHRM's sample, which is reflective of its membership, skews toward smaller companies — only about a third of respondents worked at companies with more than 500 people.)
The survey also showed an uptick in companies offering personal investment and financial advice, both of which are up significantly. One-time financial incentives are also on the rise, including things such as "spot bonuses" in response to good work (45 percent said they offer them, up from 34 percent in 2011) or incentive bonus plans for non-executives (49 percent, up from 40 percent last year).
And yet, what's often most interesting in such reports is the peek into what new and sometimes odd perks are being granted to employees, even if only a minor few.
In this year's survey, 17 percent of respondents said employees can fly first or business class, even on domestic flights — the highest percentage recorded since 2011. Another 8 percent said employees get their birthday off, paid. And 2 percent offer unlimited paid time off. Meanwhile, 9 percent offer pet health insurance, and 2 percent said they offer egg-freezing benefits.
Then, of course, it's also interesting to see which perks companies are phasing out. While Esen said there were very few big declines in this year's numbers, a few were notable — such as reimbursing people for personal calls while they're on business travel (37 percent, down from 51 percent in 2011) or allowing employees to bring their children to work in an emergency (22 percent, down steadily from 33 percent in 2011).
And with all those wellness programs and other perks, companies must think their employees are more relaxed...because just 5 percent said their companies offer "on-site stress reduction programs," down from 12 percent in 2011.