Employees want better benefits more than they want a pay raise.
If you want to attract and retain top employees, you need to come up with an attractive package of perks and benefits – especially if your team is remote. Here are 16 ways to recognize and reward them.
Employee turnover can cost your business more than 30 percent of the worker’s annual salary. Getting a replacement is not as simple as posting a job and hiring a new one. It costs a lot more in recruitment, onboarding, training and lost productivity. That's why you need proactive steps and strategies to retain employees.
But what do your employees really want from you? A Glassdoor survey found that 4 in 5 employees want benefits more than a pay raise. Companies are now offering benefits like free meals, gyms, cinemas and even haircuts in the office. But these in-house perks don’t work for remote teams, and it can be difficult to come up with perks that will make your remote employees happy.
I have a team of more than 50 remote employees at RunRepeat.com. Here are 16 tried and tested ways we've used to reward and retain our top team members.
1. Health and wellness
Health and wellness are the most desirable benefits for employees. It is also the most important one for businesses because healthy employees tend to be more productive. Health insurance packages can be difficult to manage with employees in many different countries. Plus, they can be a little costly for startups or small businesses.
What you can do is to allocate a monthly health allowance. For example, I cover 75 percent of the membership fees to any sport or physical activity for my team.
Having a remote team will let you save big on rent, furniture, equipment or office supplies. Reinvest some of that into paying for technology or equipment for your employees. It can be a new laptop, monitor, and even a high-speed internet connection.
You can offer an annual technology or equipment allowance or simply pay for the one-off purchase. I cover up to 70 percent (or $1,000) of a new computer or laptop purchase for my team.
Remote workers think they can sit anywhere with the laptop and work. However, the wrong posture, distractions, and the environment can be detrimental to productivity. A good secluded space, a proper desk, and chair can be a blessing.
Encourage your employees to work efficiently by giving a budget for office upgrades. It can be used for room dividers, ergonomic chairs or standing desks. You can also consider paying for co-working space that offers home office setup and co-working allowances for remote employees.
4. Home services
Domestic distractions or household chores can be a challenge for remote employees. For example, cooking or arranging for food can take a lot of time and effort. You can consider paying for a meal delivery service. You can also offer laundry, cleaning or gardening services to work-from-home employees.
5. Learning and development
The more employees learn and develop new skills, the better it is for your business. You can arrange a training program for the entire team, or let them choose the book, webinar or course.
6. Vacation stipend
Getting away from work can reduce stress and boost productivity. This is why many companies encourage employees to take more vacations. While most employers offer paid vacation time, some companies even give their employees some or all of the money needed to take a trip.
7. Unpaid time off
Remote workers value flexibility and control. Vacations and paid time off are great, but it’s important to be flexible about leaves and absence from work, especially if an employee knows they have the option for unpaid time off. I have made it simple for employees to take some time off when needed. I tell my employees that health and family are more important than work. They can work as little as 25 hours a week when needed, and that’s fine.
8. Recognition for special occasions
You don’t always need special perks or allowances to make them happy. At times, small gestures can go a long way. This can be as simple as sending employees a cake or dinner voucher on their birthday.
Health or vacation perks might be the most desirable, but your employees will love if you can extend the benefits to their families and loved ones. Many companies offer educational assistance for kids. If you don’t have the budget or resources to be this generous, you can send birthday or anniversary gifts for their spouse and families.
10. Annual meetups and gatherings
Trust and team building are essential for remote teams. This is why almost all remote companies organize annual meetups or events to let workers join and spend some time with colleagues. You can have a grand meetup with the entire crew or small meetups with different teams.
11. Productivity tools
Noise canceling headphones can be a great help for remote employees working from home or public places. Office essentials like a printer, scanner, or file cabinet can make their life easier. You can choose to give anything that will help with their jobs. It can also be an online tool or application.
12. Branded items
If your employees are based in a region that you’d like to target as a business, you can send branded items like t-shirts, laptop bags, even visiting cards that they can carry and distribute when needed.
13. Rewards program
You need standard perks and benefits for all team members but don’t forget to reward the high performing teams or employees. A recognition certificate with small gifts like desk clock, paperweight, or pen holder will show that their hard work is recognized and appreciated.
14. Monthly subscriptions
Monthly subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Kindle, Audible, or subscription boxes like Dollar shave, Sprezzabox or Fabfitfun won’t cost much, but they're a great addition to your list of perks or benefits.
15. Mental health and relaxation
Did you know that more than 70 percent of stress is caused by work-related issues? You can’t expect 100 percent commitment, productivity, and creativity from a stressed mind. So, it is important to invest in your employee’s mental health.
The benefits like mental and physical health, technology or office upgrades will eventually benefit your business with improved performance and productivity. Happy and satisfied customers are more likely to stay with your company, saving you the hassle and cost of finding replacements.