Many employees in recent years have expressed that they value certain perks even over higher pay. Many companies have gone wild with perks, offering things like game rooms and even full kegs for employees to enjoy at any time. With the fast-changing work atmosphere, it can be difficult to know just what means the most to employees.
What Are Employee Perks?
Employee perks are additional non-pay benefits that are given to employees in addition to their salary and health benefits. Perks are typically things that are nice to have and aren’t necessarily considered standard or required like health benefits or wages and salaries are. However, perks can go a long way towards reducing turnover and attracting top talent to your organization.
What Is the Difference Between a Perk and a Benefit?
Benefits are non-pay compensation for employees on top of what they’re paid in wages or salary. Benefits are typically necessities, such as 401(k) retirement plan matching contributions, life insurance, dental and vision insurance, PTO, and health benefits. Perks, on the other hand, are also non-pay compensation but are typically more optional. Companies that offer perks do so to give prospective employees a reason to choose a job with them instead of their competition. Perks can be more focused on helping employees better perform their jobs.
What Employee Perks Are There?
While employee benefits like health insurance and 401(k) matching are generally standard across companies, employee perks are not. There are many different perks that a company can choose to offer its employees. Perks can be offered as part of an employee’s overall compensation package or can be awarded for an excellent performance.
Open and Frequent Communication
While not usually considered a perk, many employees identified open communication as the most important thing that they would like to see evolve in the workplace. This “perk” is free for employers and can really help to boost productivity and satisfaction while also helping to lower turnover. Having an “open door” policy and allowing employees to communicate through electronic messaging can make employees feel more satisfied with the quality of communication within the company.
Flexible Schedules and Unlimited Time Off
Employees often feel that they are missing out on life when they have to miss important events because of a work schedule. Netflix and several other companies have begun to offer unlimited paid time off as long as employees handle work tasks, and those companies report good results. Allowing employees to take time off as they see fit can lower stress levels and create a culture of trust.
Of course, flexible scheduling and unlimited time off do not work for every business model. Retail and restaurants, for example, need employees to be present for a certain number of hours. However, even in jobs like these, employers and managers can work to schedule with flexibility so that employees are able to make it to important events.
The option to work remotely is an extremely popular perk for employees. It became a necessity for many companies because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many working remotely at companies that had never previously offered remote work as a perk. Employees have expressed a desire to continue working remotely even after the pandemic is over. This means that remote work may become the most important perk a company could offer. Employees may expect remote work as a perk in the future and avoid working for companies that don’t offer it.
Paid Parental Leave
The United States is one of the few developed countries that doesn’t require paid parental leave on a national level. As of 2020, federal government employees are guaranteed 12 weeks of paid parental leave, but that doesn’t apply to the private sector. Offering paid parental leave as a perk to your employees can help ensure that employees who become parents are able to return to work for your company. Without paid parental leave, employees are sometimes forced to make tough choices, which may include not returning to work. Offering paid parental leave can show your employees that they’re valued by the company and help reduce turnover.
Free Food and Catered Lunches
As with flexible scheduling, free food is a perk that may make sense for certain companies and not others. In a restaurant setting, free lunch when working is an easy perk to offer that can make employees feel valued and may even help to mitigate theft. In an office setting, catered lunch may make sense for larger companies where employees are required to work long hours.
Wellness Programs and Health Perks
Many companies have jumped on the bandwagon to begin offering wellness programs, gym memberships, fully covered insurance plans, and other health perks. These perks help employees to feel their best and stay their healthiest, which can be extremely beneficial for the workplace. Absence rates may drop and productivity may increase as a result of health perks like these.
Freebies and Fun Stuff
After working with certain products or performing certain services for so long, many employees like to be able to enjoy the benefits of whatever the company is offering. Whether that be magazine subscriptions, haircuts, car repairs, events tickets, or the like, most employees feel more appreciated if they are allowed to enjoy company offering free of charge. Employees may also appreciate freebies like free technology that can be used for personal tasks if these things are needed for the job.
Employees who work in the retail industry often receive an employee discount on company merchandise as a perk. However, employee discounts aren’t limited to the retail sector. Companies can extend discounts to employees on big-ticket items such as smartphones or cars that come from relationships the company has with other companies.
Profit-sharing can be a great way to improve employee productivity. Your company can choose a percentage of the company profits that would be divided amongst your employees. That way, you can still choose your own budget for the perk. Then, employees will know that the share of the profits they’re entitled to will increase the better the company does. Directly tying employee bonuses into the company’s profits can help motivate employees to be more productive.
Having pets in the office can help employees de-stress. On top of that, employees won’t have to pay for someone to care for their pets during the day. Pets can also help employees avoid burnout because employees that may not remember to take the breaks they need during the workday will remember to care for their pets. Even employees that don’t have pets can benefit from this perk because having animals in the office can be a morale booster for everyone.
Benefits of Offering Employee Perks
It may seem like offering perks has benefits only for employees. However, perks can actually offer a lot of benefits to the business that provides them as well. Your current employees will be more motivated and will be more productive. On top of that, your company can attract top talent in its recruiting by offering perks.
Turnover is very expensive. Therefore, anything that can help reduce your company’s turnover rate should be considered. Offering perks to your employees will help your company remain competitive and encourage employees to stay. Without perks, your employees may be looking for work with companies that do offer them.
Recruiting Top Talent
Perks are often how prospective employees decide between different job offers. When salaries and benefits are comparable across multiple companies in the industry, perks are often the decision-maker. If your company offers more perks that applicants want, then your company will be able to attract more of the top talent available.
If your company offers the right perks to your staff, you can actually end up increasing productivity. Perks can have positive effects on employees’ lives by helping them stay healthy and less stressed. Additionally, many perks are actually designed to help increase productivity. The effect becomes even greater because employees feel valued and morale is higher.
How to Decide Which Perks Are the Best Fit for Your Company
The specific perks that will draw employees to a job and help boost retention may vary greatly from job to job. However, employees will always value their time off and appreciate assistance with creature comforts and physical needs. Taking a survey of which perks employees value may help you to narrow down the specific perks that are right for your company. While surveying your current employees may not tell you exactly what potential applicants may want, it’s a good place to start. Plus, your current employees may have similarities to the type of applicant your company wants to attract. Therefore, offering the perks your current employees want can help you attract the right kind of top talent to your company.
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