Employees and job seekers have much higher expectations of their employers and potential employers than any time before. Failing to meet these expectations could result in employers losing out on top talent, while also seeing high turnover numbers.
To keep up with the demands of the current workforce, employers in recent years have had to revamp their compensation plans, employee benefits, and office perks in order to attract, engage, and retain talent.
Knowing the current trends in employee benefits is a must, but understanding and implementing other types of employee and workplace perks can keep current employees happy, while also helping to recruit top candidates.
1) WORKING FROM HOME
An attractive perk employers can offer to their workforce is the ability to work from home. While having employees telecommute exclusively isn’t an option for most businesses, allowing employees to work from home on occasion can help to boost workplace morale, and can also increase productivity. This is one the fastest growing perks, and many job seekers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) are now expecting to be able to do this from time-to-time.
2) FREE COFFEE, SNACKS, DRINKS, AND FOOD
Everybody loves snacks and drinks, and employees are no exception. This is why many employers have implemented free snacks and drinks programs at their workplace. Doing so not only makes employees happier, but studies have shown that snacks and drinks at work help to boost productivity! Not to mention this is a great perk to help with recruiting and building an employer brand.
3) EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AND REWARDS
The employee experience is one of the most important HR trends today, and engagement is a key component. One way to help both is by recognizing employees for their hard work (both inside and outside the organization) and providing rewards for reaching or attaining certain milestones. Having an employee recognition and rewards program can help to build an engaged workplace culture and an amazing employer brand.
4) EMPLOYEE REFERRAL PROGRAMS
Recruiting today is harder than ever before. Yet it is a critical objective all businesses share in common. To help overcome this growing challenge, many businesses have opted to create formal employee referral programs. Establishing something like this is a great way to get an entire organization involved in recruiting, and can help create or build-upon a company culture.
5) FLEXIBLE WORK SCHEDULES
Along with telecommuting, one of the most sought-after perks for job seekers today are flexible work schedules. With work-life balance more important than ever, employees and job seekers want to have some flexibility when it comes to work. Not only does this perk help to boost workplace morale, but it is also an extremely valuable recruiting tool. Not offering some type of flex scheduling can make it extremely difficult to recruit top talent moving forward.
6) SUMMER HOURS
Many companies that offer flex work schedules to their employees also have a spin-off perk associated with it – summer hours (or summer Fridays). Another popular perk in 2018, establishing something like this can boost happiness, morale, and ultimately productivity. An example of this perk would be allowing employees to leave the office a few hours early on Fridays to get a jump-start on their weekends. Who wouldn’t like that?
7) VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES AND INITIATIVES
Employees today value and actively look for companies that give back to their communities and take up volunteering initiatives. Many employers have happily set up programs and company-sponsored events to help their communities and organizations that their employees support. Whether it’s a large-scale program, a day-long volunteering event, or adopting a family around the holiday season, employees want to work for employers that value giving back.
8) EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
More and more employers are taking efforts to improve employee wellness. Establishing and offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) is one way to help accomplish this goal. EAPs generally offer employees access to experts that can help with various professional and personal issues (such as lawyers, doctors, and financial experts to name a few). Additionally, these programs provide employees with financial and legal advice, grief counseling, and support for both employees and their families.
9) EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS
Another perk that has grown in popularity are employee discounts. Many organizations (both big and small!) offer their employees discounts on clothing brands, technology, sporting events, Broadway shows, and much more. This perk allows employees to save money while buying things or going to events that they enjoy. Another great recruiting tool, it also helps to boost happiness and retention.
10) MENTORSHIP PROGRAMS
We touched on the importance of learning and development earlier with lunch and learns. Another extremely valuable L&D resource employers can offer their workforce is a mentorship program. In addition to helping with career development and skill progression, these programs are also a great way to connect employees from different areas of the company and from different generations. Not only does this help with participation and engagement, but it also presents an opportunity for reverse mentoring.
11) COMPANY EVENTS
Hosting company sponsored events throughout the year helps to boost employee morale and build a company’s culture. Even smaller companies can (and should) plan these types of events. Employees enjoy them and pictures from the event can be used to help with recruiting efforts. Examples include holiday parties, picnics, individual team outings, lunches, dinners, and much more!
12) LUNCH AND LEARNS
One of the most popular employee benefits today are formal learning and development programs. While it can be a challenge for some smaller employers to offer a robust L&D program, all companies should make efforts to help employees learn and grow professionals. Lunch and learns are one example of a simple solution that can help accomplish this. Allowing employees to share their expertise with the rest of the organization can keep employees stay informed about projects happening in the company, while also boosting engagement and the employee experience.
NOT ALL EMPLOYEE PERKS HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE FOR EMPLOYERS
When most employers think of perks for employees, they gravitate towards traditional benefits like health insurance, 401(k)’s, vision and dental insurance, and other voluntary benefits to name a few. While these are very important and should be assessed each year to keep up with trends, employers shouldn’t overlook other perks that they can offer to employees.
Perks like the ones listed above help organizations attract future employees, while engaging and retaining current staff. With some research and an implementation plan, putting these perks into place can have significant benefits for employers of all sizes.
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