Why attractive employee benefits matter more than you think

February 4, 2021


Employees in Malaysia have given the verdict: one of the top 3 most important factors when considering to stay or to accept a new offer across all generations is 'attractive salary and benefits'. 

The Randstad Employer Brand Research 2019 has surveyed 2,504 Malaysian employees and received their take on what employee benefits matters most to them

Organisations looking for effective ways to attract and retain talents should know how to position their brands and employee benefits aligned with employee expectations. 

The most apparent disconnect between employee expectations and employers' offerings is the importance of work-life balance.

The research showed that an employee views work-life balance as the second-most critical factor. But from an employer perspective, work-life balance is placed in the second-last priority.

In short, the bigger the disconnect, the more likely employees will leave the organisation. 

So, what exactly are Malaysian employees looking for?

Surprisingly, the results were quite similar across four generations. According to the research, all generations look for 'attractive salary and benefits' followed closely by 'work-life balance'.

But what does it really mean by 'attractive salary and benefits' and 'work-life balance' to Malaysian employees?

Let's look at what the top 5 employers in Malaysia did right and how you can emulate their successes. 

So, let's jump right in.

What the top 5 employers in Malaysia did right


Petronas stood at the crown for 2 years consecutively as the top employer to work for, so there must be concrete benefits that earned them the throne. 

According to Petronas employees, the benefits that are attractive to them are:

  • A good salary
  • 30 days of medical leave and 30 days of hospitalisation leave
  • A wide choice of clinics is available
  • Flexible work is allowed (e.g., work from any location)
  • Additional 30 days of maternity leave
  • 1 week of paternity leave
  • Medical coverage includes spouse and children
  • Education and training

Sources: glassdoor.com and jobstreet.com reviews.


Following the crown closely is Shell, a worldwide group of oil, gas and petrochemical companies with presence in over 70 countries. 

Here are some of the attractive employee benefits offered by the company and well received by the employees:

  • Competitive salary
  • Flexible working hours
  • Great work-life balance
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Medical benefits cover spouse, children, pregnancy, and delivery.
  • Dental and optical allowance
  • Travel allowance
  • 120 days of maternity leave

Sources: Shell.com and glassdoor.com reviews.


Who doesn't know Nestle, the parent company of Nescafe, Milo, Kit Kat, and many other products in supermarkets? 

Besides being loved by consumers, Nestle is also a preferred employer by talents because of the wide range of benefits the company offers:

  • Many fitness programmes
  • Free flow of fruits, drinks, and ice cream
  • Employee discount
  • 180 days of maternity leave
  • Housing and car loan subsidy
  • Flexible benefits scheme
  • Career development opportunities
  • Health insurance

Sources: glassdoor.com reviews.


The first IT company in the list, Intel rewards experience and performance using a wide range of benefits too, including bonuses, well-being, learning, and flexible work.

Some of the meaningful benefits offered by Intel are:

  • Above-average salary
  • Health and life insurance
  • Vision and dental subsidies
  • Well-being care such as free health checks, wellness coaching, and on-site fitness centres and clinics
  • Free flu vaccinations
  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers free counselling
  • 20 days of annual leave
  • 90 days of maternity and 3 days of paternity leave
  • Training and development
  • Loan interest subsidies
  • Flexible work arrangement
  • Free food

Sources: Intel.com and glassdoor.com reviews.

What can MNCs do?

A few things that Petronas, Shell, Nestle, and Intel have in common are 1) good salary, 2) comprehensive health insurance, 3) robust wellness programmes, and 4) flexible work. 

This can give you a good starting point to review and improve your employee benefits programme and meet your employees' expectations.

Suppose your organisation has a tight budget for employee benefits. In that case, you can try reducing costs in health insurance —which consumes the most budget — with an alternative benefits platform and invest more in wellness programmes and other attractive employee benefits. 

What can startups and SMEs do

The biggest challenge for smaller organisations such as SMEs and startups is implementing meaningful benefits with a small budget. 

MNCs can afford to provide wide coverage of health insurance and wellness programmes, but SMEs and startups need to play the game differently. 

The Randstad research showed that smaller organisations are favoured by talents who seek career progression, work-life balance and development. 

Here is the breakdown of why employees prefer smaller organisations:

  • SME: pleasant work atmosphere, work-life balance, financial health
  • Startup: career progression, good training, interesting job content
  • NGO or non-profit: job security, financial health, career progression

If you're an SME, startup, or NGO, you can position your brand and benefits to offer one of the above. 

But the budget is the biggest concern when implementing employee benefits. 

One of the smarter ways to attract and retain talents without breaking the bank is by offering non-monetary benefits such as flexible work schedules, in-house training and development, and verbal appreciation.

Wrapping It Up

Randstad is not the only company that has collected employee's voices. These surveys were conducted years ago, but the disconnect between the employers and employees remains wide. 

It's time for employers to be all ears to their employees' needs and wants. 

But we understand that emulating what these big MNCs did is a massive challenge for other organisations. 

It is not easy to offer a competitive salary and top it with comprehensive health insurance and wellness programmes. 

The good news is, there is a smarter way to work around it. 

Smaller organisations can effectively position their benefits to relevant employees and reduce their health insurance costs. This way, they can allocate more budget and time to wellness programmes and non-monetary attractive employee benefits.

Regardless of your organisation size, your employees deserve to be taken care of. Let us make it easier for you.

About Mednefits:

Mednefits helps businesses take care of their employees with its automated, affordable, and accessible employee benefits platform. Request to join Mednefits for free to help process and track claims in real-time, while controlling costs.

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