Work perks are trending, so it’s time to check in to see if your company has covered the basics (and then some). Such perks help to lure talent to fill your vacancies and keep your best staff happy.
The context is a competitive job market, a low unemployment rate, and a large pool of skilled workers. Then there’s over-employment – workers holding multiple remote full-time jobs because they can while managing to juggle the demands.
Research shows getting creative and going beyond traditional pay structures can contribute to employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall well-being. This, in turn, positively impacts morale and reduces employee turnover. It’s about recognizing and supporting employees to help them become their best selves, productive, motivated, and dedicated to their work.
How can you save your business time and money you’d otherwise invest in recruitment, induction, and training?
At its core, it’s simple: Do things that make your employees happy. Find out what they value by searching for your company’s name on workplace review sites like Glassdoor. Give your employees solid reasons to champion yor company as a great place in which to work.
What’s the big deal?
There are plenty of fads regarding employee benefits. Circa 2017, professional chefs made lunches for Google staff, and Twitter employees got access to on-site acupuncture, says the Harvard Business Review.
But “compensation remains king for jobseekers”, says Indeed-Glassdoor’s 2023 Hiring Workplace Trends Report. That rings true due to inflationary pressures increasing the cost of living.
The report says that if your company offers a decent salary for your vacancies, benefits can set you apart from the competition. Up to half of jobs advertised on Indeed.com’s US platform offered these three main benefits: health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. As well, almost two-thirds of Glassdoor reviews mentioned ‘mental healthcare’. That’s about access to mental health days and support services through work. What else could be on offer? Indeed-Glassdoor’s report lists other long-term trends for benefits includin the flexibility of being able to work remotely, access to commuter benefits, if remote work doesn’t suit your sector, an attractive company culture and more than just lip service to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The global employee benefits and rewards platform, Perkbox, has more than 4,000 deals and discounts, plus custom staff benefits. According to Crunchbase.com, Perkbox has secured about $30M in funding and has been around since 2010, so it’s not surprising 5,000 businesses in 34 countries use it.
All these ‘carrots’ can help companies build a positive reputation and brand image, attracting potential employees, customers, partners, and investors.
Here are 5 ideas to tru out:
- Offer flexible work hours and locations, such as the option to work from home or have a flexible schedule.
- Review health and wellness benefits that go beyond just health insurance. What about gym memberships, access or subsidy of wellness programs, and access to mental health support (even through a confidential Employee Assistance Program)
- Retain and develop employees with training and development programs, workshops, conferences, and networking opportunities to improve their skills.
- Gift stock options or equity to give staff a stake in your company’s success and to show they’re valued (some states allow not-for-profits issue stocks; for those that don’t, alternatives include living stipends, college grants, scholarships, continuing education, covered travel expenses as well as the usual perks).
- Generous paid time off for quality time with family and friends when needed to help refresh and reboot your staff. That’s in addition to paid vacation, sick, personal, and volunteering-for-charity days. Consider extras such as extended parental leave and paid sabbaticals.
Your would-be employees need to be convinced they’ll be able to achieve work-life balance in your company. We all want this, but both sides continually merge and overlap in the struggle to set and maintain boundaries. Instead, encourage a culture of ‘Both/and thinking’, an ethos espoused by a book of the same name by Wendy K Smith and Marianne W Lewis, published by Harvard University Press last year.
They urge companies and staffers to appreciate that multiple viewpoints can exist. So, if you baulk at something a would-be staffer requests during negotiations, instead of saying a straight-out ‘no’, ask questions to understand where that ‘ask’ is coming from. How much wriggle room might there be? For instance, hearing ‘I can’t work in the office on Wednesdays’ sounds non-negotiable, so find out what other commitment intrudes. How flexible is your company about workers being on site on Wednesdays?
‘Both/and thinking’ authors Smith and Lewis offer a useful retort: ‘Yes, but …’, which acknowledges others’ positions, but signals there are details to work out. With an array of road-tested work perks on the landscape, take time to determine how they’ll benefit employees and your company.