- Good employee perks may contribute to improved employee retention, a boost in productivity and a commitment to the company.
- Companies that struggle to find top-notch talent may want to follow the lead of companies such as Google and Facebook that offer employees cool and unique perks that they can't find elsewhere.
- Employee perks don't have to be elaborate or expensive; in many situations, offering low-cost perks, such as company merchandise, can also increase productivity and employee morale.
Did you know 60% of people report that benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer? The most common workplace benefits are those surrounding health, vacation time, parental leave and retirement plans.
Below are some of the cool employee perks offered by well-known companies.
Health and wellness perks
Some over-the-top perks have become synonymous with companies like Google and Twitter, such as catered lunches, massages at the office and onsite improv classes. While these perks are enticing, they are not sustainable or affordable for all companies, especially midsize and smaller.
But, there's something to learn from these perks. As Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin brought up in their shareholder letter when taking Google public in 2004, their commitment to employee benefits was to "save employees considerable time and improve their health and productivity." By valuing and showing interest in ways to make their employees' lives easier in and out of the office, they are more likely to bring their entire selves to work.
Facebook has picked up on how beneficial cool employee perks are for the business as well as the employees. Employees typically like free food, so at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, chefs serve employees breakfast, lunch and dinner every workday. The Facebook campus has 11 different types of eateries, from sweet shops to a pizzeria, and after 5:30 p.m., employees are free to have a margarita on campus.
Flexible work schedule
Johnson & Johnson, a household products company, allows for flexible working hours with its employees. During the summer hours, full-time employees only work half days on Fridays, and at the end of the year, during the holiday shutdown, employees can spend 20% of the workweek telecommuting. Employees that need an extended leave of absence from the job are offered sabbaticals. The best employee benefit of all when it comes to time off is that S.C. Johnson owns the Lighthouse Resort, which comprises 22 cabins in Wisconsin that is available to employees and their families throughout the year.
Here are more the out-of-the-box perks that can set a company apart from its competitors.
Student loan assistance
With the student debt estimated to top $1.5 trillion (and growing), companies are seeking ways to provide their employees with some relief. Some companies allow employees to exchange accrued but unused paid time off for payments against their student loans. Others set up a program to allow employees to contribute a certain percentage of their eligible pay toward their student loans through payroll deduction.
Family-friendly workplace policies
Paid parental leave is a hot topic these days. Less than 15% of civilian workers have access to the benefit, and varying coverage means caregivers are faced with conflicting personal and professional responsibilities, and as a result, many choose to exit the workforce. It is estimated that 5 million more people could enter the workforce if employers were to adopt family-friendly policies.
Take a look at the state of Vermont: Its workforce and population are aging, and the state has struggled to attract younger workers, which affects its local economy because of diminishing tax revenues and increasing costs. Its solution is to allow infants in the workplace. The policy launched Feb. 1, 2019, and allows state employees to bring their children, infants to 6 months, to work with them.
If you are worried about disruptions, you're not alone. The Department of Human Resources Deputy Commissioner Dan Pouliot helped create the program and was concerned too. He spoke to a few like-minded companies that had similar policies and found when babies started to smell, cry or be fussy, caregivers were quick to relocate to minimize the disruption.
Identity theft insurance
Everyday tasks such as picking up or dropping off dry cleaning, child care, and managing personal finances take time and energy. Life can take an employee's focus and energy away from work, which impacts a company's bottom line.
While corporations can't mitigate every life catastrophe, there are ways to help. Identity theft affected over 15 million people in the U.S. in 2016, costing more than $16 billion. Even more astounding, 30 to 50% of identity theft begins at the office. With insurance companies offering inexpensive group packages (costing a mere $2 per employee for Baird), identity theft protection is a growing trend. The benefit to corporations? Companies proactively safeguard themselves against potential data breaches and remove their liability for identity theft stemming from the office.
Financial wellness and advisement services
More than one-third of employees said finances have been a distraction at work, and with 53% stressed about money, companies are losing productivity. With a rapidly changing workforce, studies show millennials are not feeling as financially secure as their Gen X or baby boomer counterparts.
Providing a retirement savings plan is a starting point, but, according to the same study, over half of all employees are looking to have someone validate their financial decisions. They want access to unbiased counselors to better understand and maximize their benefits. So design a financial wellness program that addresses the core concerns of your workforce, like retirement planning or brokerage account management of employer given stock options, student loan refinancing or mortgage rate assistance. It could save your company $2,000 per employee if they are in good financial health.
Most employees love to get free merchandise, so offering a range of company merchandise as a perk may help to boost morale and productivity. A few of the popular types of company merchandise that are used by some companies include T-shirts, water bottles, bags, stationery and mugs. You can also offer lost-cost items, such as branded office supplies. Offering various types of merchandise for certain levels of achievement (goals) is an excellent low-cost way to increase productivity.
Wellness programs are becoming popular employee perks for several reasons. A wellness program, one that promotes stress management, is an excellent way to help employees focus on the tasks at hand, and it will make the workplace a happier place for the employees as well as management. A program can include various services, such as physical recreation, massages and resources for living a healthy lifestyle.
Whether you are searching for ways to boost the morale of your employees or you have recently started your own company and are looking for ideas on how to hire loyal employees, offering perks is the way to win over top employees. Implementing an employee perks program is a great way to attract the interest of new talent as well as help current employees become more invested in the business.