Most companies agree that people are their most valuable assets. What they fail to realize is that for today’s worker, salaries are more of a threshold than a scorecard. In fact, there are many more effective ways to keep your talent happy and engaged.
But what perks really matter to employees? If salaries don’t always move the needle, what does? The answers might surprise you…
Using data from a recent Glassdoor survey, we’ve compiled the sixteen best employee perks and benefits that offer the biggest bang for your buck into the Infographic below.
40% of respondents to Glassdoor’s Q3 2015 employment confidence survey said that they value health insurance more than a pay raise. The reasons for this are manifold. Of course, until very recently, there was no affordable public health insurance option, and the only feasible way for most Americans to afford insurance was through their employer.
Employee-sponsored coverage is still generally much less expensive than public or private insurance. But most of all, there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing that you and your loved ones are covered in the event of a major accident or illness, and you really can’t put a price on that.
There are perks that come with health insurance on the employer side as well. Companies benefit from reduced absenteeism due to illness (thanks to free or nearly-free preventive care), as well as higher engagement due to the fact that employer-sponsored health insurance gives employees a sense that they are cared for and appreciated.
Don’t be mistaken – an unlimited or “open” vacation policy doesn’t mean that employees can take off half the year and still collect a paycheck. Rather, companies that adopt these policies allow employees as much PTO as they need to recharge as long as they meet deadlines and produce results.
Aligning your vacation policy with results rather than basing it on accrual can have a profound effect on your organization’s overall culture.
Moreover, an open vacation policy signals to employees that their employer trusts them to keep projects on track and deliver results while being free to take all the time off they need. This trust engenders a feeling of mutual respect between the company and its employees, and the result is a more balanced, more productive workforce.
Plus, employees return refreshed, energized, and with a new perspective they wouldn’t have gained otherwise. This fresh perspective can even result in new ideas or new market opportunities.
By tying the reward to results, performance bonuses give employees a sense of ownership and control. The key is to connect monetary rewards to the emotions that keep employees engaged in their work.
It helps motivate them in their work, and gives them a tangible ownership stake in their role. I.e., if they perform and hit their goals, they will receive a reward – one that they both earned and deserve.
Paid sick leaves give employees back their most valuable commodity – their time – while also letting them know that they are cared for and appreciated. It sets the right tone to keep office healthy during cold and flu season.
By offering paid sick days, employers can retain talent and offer employees to stay home under the weather. It is better to give contagious employees to stay off work and seek some rest to be decimated by widespread illness.
Employers can step their savings game up by subsidizing employee savings, either matching or partially-matching the contributions employee pay into their retirements. Many employees find personal finance and financial planning a bit of a mystery, and appreciate when their employers help them plan for the future.
Flexibility is increasingly becoming a desired perk for the modern employee, who is trying to balance a myriad of personal and professional responsibilities, including education and familial duties. A flexible schedule – including the ability to work from home – is a necessity for these families, who need to be able to juggle multiple responsibilities.
A flexible schedule can lead to a greater quality of life. This will help employees maintain work-life balance to give adequate time to their family and professional life. This will provide long-term value that a salary ever could.
Since people spend the majority of your time in your office, it would be nice if that office was, you know… a place you actually want to be. One of the simplest and easiest perks to provide is food.
A recent Harvard Business Review study showed that employees “typically consume one or several meals plus snacks during work hours.” This means that the food options available in the workplace matter a whole lot to the quality of the average office worker’s diet, and by extension, their overall health. Employees will appreciate the gesture. Google is famous for offering healthy, gourmet-quality food choices that its employees love.
The beneficial relationship between the Employer and an Employee is moving away from the transactional model to a model that will support the growth of both parties. Since an average employee is only going to 3-5 years with a company, the organisation is responsible for professional and personal growth of the employee on an individual skill development level. Employee Development Plans are a perfect way to reflect this changing dynamic and ensure a mutually enriching relationship.
In our economy, where job-hopping is the norm, employees need to constantly augment their skillsets, and employee development is priceless.
Tuition Costs have increased sky high in the last decade and this perks is something highly valued by employees, since it allow employees to study and earn at the same point in time. They can get higher qualification from reputed institutes and get specialised in the field of their choice. This also helps in doubly saving the tuition fees and also the opportunity costs of being unemployed.
Providing employees with discounted access to products and services from your company, can be an exciting perk for employees. This in other terms also means “dogfooding,” the concept which springs from the idea that this practice can make employees feel valued and included. For product managers, early access for employees can even aid in the development process.
Many technology companies choose to beta test their products internally first, to seek valuable feedback before the product is launched in the market in beta stages.
Clocking in 8-10 hours per day at work can be quite stressful, leaving you physically and mentally drained off energies. This cycle repeats day in and day out, until one day you catch yourself in the mirror… and it’s not pretty.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Anyone in today’s modern office environment knows how easy it is to fall into this trap. Sitting for the majority of your day, every day for long periods of time inevitably takes a toll on the body.
It’s no surprise that 22% of employees polled in a CareerBuilder survey say on-site fitness centers are their most desired office perk. If you don’t have the space or money to invest in an onsite gym, there are a number of creative ways to introduce physical activity into the workplace.
Bringing in a trainer or yoga instructor once or twice a week for group fitness classes at a nearby park can provide a much needed boost. Even something as simple as encouraging daily stretching or walking meetings can have a tremendous impact.
But make sure that physical activities are never mandatory. Employees need to feel that they are free to choose their level of engagement in these programs, not matter how good it is for them. Mandatory health programs can make employees feel that they are being dictated to, and will diminish morale.
Similar to performance bonuses, stock options and equity give employees a real sense of ownership in the success of their business. This helps bolster the emotional connection between employees and their work that’s so important for creating an engaged workforce.
Employees have a sense that their working life isn’t a mere transaction, but that they are working to create something bigger than themselves – and that they’ll be rewarded for their success.
It’s an unspoken fact that career success often comes with tradeoffs and difficult choices. Professional men and women often feel like they have to choose between a demanding career and a rich family life, and delay starting their families in order to focus on the former.
Unfortunately, the company’s gain can be the employee’s loss, as some couples experience fertility problems as a result of waiting.
These choices often go unacknowledged by employers, but a few smart companies have developed programs that allow strong work and family lives to coexist. Many companies like Microsoft offer extended maternity and paternity leave that go above and beyond minimum requirements.
Childcare assistance provided by employers is something that can alleviate the burden off shoulders from working parents and help them perform better on job. Any help or support provided by employers on childcare is valuable for workers across the globe.
It’s not secret. We spend way too much time commuting. Between rideshares, passes for public transportation, or even shuttle buses, there are a plethora of ways companies can subsidize commuting.
All things being equal, an employee will take a job with a short commute over a long one. In fact, she might even take money in exchange for a shorter commute. Commuter assistance can go a long way towards improving their quality of life, and is therefore a perk that moves the needle when it comes to hiring and retention.
Hiring for “cultural fit” has been a celebrated concept in the last several years. This basically means evaluating candidates not only for their skills and experience, but for how well they might fit into the organization. A better practice is to hire for “cultural fit.” This requires auditing your existing culture and to actively seek out diverse points of view.
In the long run, hiring for cultural fit is a more sustainable practice and one in which everyone benefits. Keep in mind, investing in the right employee perks can help you cultivate the culture your company needs to succeed, and will help your bottom line down the road.
Author Credits: Jeff Murphy, Director of Communications at SnackNation
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