It's no secret that people want more than just a job these days. They strive to be a part of a team, make an impact, and be well-compensated for their work. But beyond the typical salary and benefits, more companies are stepping up to offer employee perks as a way to attract new talent. Employers can offer perks like flexible schedules, free lunch, and on-site gyms to help people sustain a healthy work-life blend.
Employee Perks vs. Benefits: What's the Difference?
Benefits and perks are equally crucial for corporate wellness. The base necessities like health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans fall under the benefits umbrella. On the other hand, perks make employees happy. In contrast to benefits which are "needs," perks are more like "wants." Perks may include free snacks, a dog-friendly office, a flexible vacation schedule, and company-wide employee recognition software.
The law generally requires every company to offer benefits to full-time employees. Perks are not mandatory but can go a long way in keeping workers engaged.
Why Offer Employee Perks and Benefits?
There are innumerable upsides to offering attractive perks and benefits to your employees:
- Happy team members will stick around longer, which means less turnover and money saved.
- Those satisfied with their jobs tend to refer others to their companies. Good vibes spread like wildfire!
- When someone feels good about where they're spending the majority of their time each day, they're more likely to go above and beyond to meet your expectations. This could be anything from increased customer service satisfaction scores to higher sales numbers.
- They attract top talent and entice people to work for you.
RELATED: 12 Employee Engagement Ideas
Top 5 Employee Benefits
Your employees need various benefits to stay healthy and happy. The top five employee benefits that all companies should provide include:
Health insurance is a commonly offered employee benefit, making it an essential part of packages in the 21st century workplace. Your team members use it to cover doctor's visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, and more.
If you don't offer coverage, employees must find other means through which to obtain healthcare services. Remember that health impacts performance. So, by investing in your employees' wellness, you're investing in your company.
Paid Time Off (PTO)
Paid time off (PTO) helps your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. People can use this time for sick leave, personal leave, or vacation. Respectable companies allow their team members to take the time off when and how they see fit, as long as it's not interfering with their job duties or affecting the department at large.
The number of PTO days vary from company to company, but SHRM's research shows that the average number ranges from 13-26 days per year. While PTO won't be a cure-all for a burnout culture, time off will allow your employees the time to explore hobbies and joys outside of the office. This can help improve your employees' engagement and your company's productivity and profitability.
Retirement plans are indispensable for saving for the future. Employees want to rest easy knowing that they'll have enough funds to make the most of their golden years. Many employers offer 401(k) plans, which allow employees to invest money on a pre-tax basis and receive tax-deferred growth until withdrawn in retirement.
Dental and Vision Coverage
Dental and vision coverage aren't included with health insurance, so it's a bonus benefit if companies offer either. While, dental coverage is more common than vision coverage, both are useful for employees and their families.
Dental coverage can save employees money by reducing their dental bills. It's particularly beneficial for those who need extensive work done. The same is true of vision coverage, which covers optometrist visits, glasses, and contact lenses. Some employers offer a reimbursement plan that allows employees to pay for these items out of pocket with pre-tax dollars, but then get reimbursed at the end of the year.
Paid Parental Leave
Becoming a new parent is a monumental life change. Offering paid parental leave allows new parents to recover from childbirth, bond with their newborns, and adjust to their new normal during those first critical months without stressing about money.
Paid parental leave is especially vital for families with low incomes. It allows them to afford childcare, which can be exorbitantly expensive. Employees that don't get paid parental leave must rely on short-term disability insurance coverage or dip into their personal savings to get by.
10 Employee Perks Your Team Will Love
Most people would agree that perks have become a necessity of the modern workplace. As an employer, it's your duty to ensure your employees are as happy and well-supported as possible. But what perks should you offer and why?
Here are ten employee perks that your team members will undoubtedly appreciate:
Remote Work Options
Remote work is becoming an increasingly common employee perk. It saves everyone money and time commuting each day. Thanks to advanced technology, virtual teams can work together on projects using tools like Zoom (video conferencing), Slack (communication and collaboration), and Basecamp (project management).Working remotely comes with a plethora of other benefits:
- Increased flexibility in scheduling appointments with clients and coworkers
- Save thousands on commuting costs per year
- Take breaks as needed
- Spend more time with family and friends
The work-from-home model is not only beneficial to employees—companies get a piece of the pie, too:
- Unlock the freedom to hire more diverse candidates (from anywhere in the world!)
- Hire from a larger talent pool
- Reduce costs for office space, furniture, and expenses
Employee Reward and Recognition Programs
Giving a sense of achievement and recognition is paramount for keeping people happy, engaged, and productive. Employee reward and employee recognition programs foster an environment of teamwork and camaraderie among teams. This ultimately leads to increased morale as well as creates a sense of pride and purpose among workers.
There are several approaches you can take to create a robust employee reward and recognition program. But if you're just getting started, these could entice your team:
- Awards, bonuses, or gifts for extraordinary performance
- Celebrations and parties for meeting milestones
- Employee Appreciation Days
- Development opportunities for those who demonstrate leadership qualities or skill acquisition
- Social recognition platforms
RELATED: 10 Employee Recognition Ideas
Incentivize your employees to take care of themselves by providing employee wellness software. These can help with recruitment, retention, job satisfaction, and can even save the company money in the long run. Here are ideas to include in your wellness program if you're thinking about implementing one:
- Free flu shots every year
- Access to health screenings
- Health education events
- Annual wellness fair
- Rewards for participating in healthy activities or reaching exercise goals
Discounts on medical services provided by the company's partners (i.e. gym membership and/or physical therapy)
Financial Literacy Programs
Did you know that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck? Financial literacy programs can help your employees learn wise spending habits and how to save for retirement. Financial coaching can teach people to make better choices when it comes to allocating finances for vacations, home down payments, and car insurance, to name a few.
Educating your workers about money can also foster a more stable workforce and reduce employee turnover. If you’re looking for ways to improve your company's financial literacy program, try these approaches:
- Hire a financial literacy coach to provide one-on-one coaching to employees
- Offer educational classes on budgeting and savings
- Set up a 401(k) plan with a company match
- Provide financial literacy training for managers
- Start a college savings program for employees’ children
Employees appreciate flexible scheduling, which can help them balance work and personal commitments. For example, maybe an employee is going back to school. They may have class some days from 10am until 1pm. Rather than not allowing them to further their education, why not allow them to work adjusted hours?
This shows your employee that not only is their education allowed, it's supported. This will undoubtedly help improve employee loyalty, moral, and engagement.
Numerous companies are starting to offer flexible scheduling options as a perk to attract talent in today's competitive job market. It's imperative for employers to understand what type of flexibility works best for different teams and departments so they can provide something worthwhile for everyone.
Speaking of school, costs for higher education continue to rise each year, making it less accessible for countless people. Therefore, tuition reimbursement is a substantial perk for many employees. It can be a great way to save money on education! On top of tuition reimbursement, you can also add extra stipends to cover books and travel expenses.
Home Office Equipment
Are you offering work-from-home as an employee perk? Consider equipping your team with basic supplies to set up their home office. Some things companies provide for remote workers include:
- A computer monitor
- A laptop
- A printer/faxer/scanner
- A stipend toward a desk, ergonomic chair, headset, Internet, phone bill, home security system
Career Development Opportunities
Career development opportunities are a wonderful way to reward employees and help them grow. In fact, a LinkedIn survey found that 40% of young workers said they were willing to accept a 5% pay cut to work in a position that offered career growth opportunities.
One way to foster career development is to promote from within. It's a surefire way to keep talent, as you already know how they work. You can also offer training programs so that employees can learn new skills and expand their capabilities at work:
- Mentorship programs
- Cross-functional training
- Trainee programs
- One-on-one coaching
An often overlooked company perk is childcare. As of 2022, 51% of parents say they spend more than 20% of their household income on child care. Just imagine how your employees would be affected without such a significant financial burden.
Having access to on-site childcare would allow your employees with children to work more productively, even if it means getting a lower salary. Childcare is a perk that not only benefits parents, but also the company. It prevents employees from leaving for companies with more family-friendly policies.
A lunch stipend is a thoughtful perk for busy employees. It's a small amount of money that they can use to buy lunch, so they don't have to think about cooking at home or bringing a meal into the office. By providing a generous lunch stipend, all employees can afford healthier, well-rounded meals.
In addition, this perk encourages people to get out of the office and socialize with colleagues. This can lead to improved camaraderie and increased motivation to work hard on behalf of the company.
How to Determine Whether Office Perks Are Working
It's one thing to offer staff perks and benefits, but figuring out whether they're making a positive impact is a whole other ballgame. First, give some time for your team members to adopt your company benefits. Then, consider asking yourself and your employees these questions:
- What is the ROI of your program? If you're spending too much money on these programs but not seeing any real benefit in return, then maybe consider swapping them with others that will give a better ROI.
- Do people know your perks and benefits exist?
- Do people enjoy using them? How often are they taking advantage? Is it regular enough to justify the investment? Are there other perks and benefits they would prefer over existing ones?
- Are they easy to use? If your employees have to jump through exhaustive hoops to use their perks and benefits, they may stay away from them altogether.
Communication is key here—by learning what your employees truly want, you can provide the perks that will be most beneficial to them. An effective way of collecting opinions is by using surveys to check in on how they feel about your offerings each quarter.
Attract Top Talent with Company Perks and Benefits
Looking for ways to attract and keep quality employees? Offering perks and benefits is an exceptional place to start. Not only will they benefit your workers, but they'll also give your company an edge over competitors.
Not sure what perks might be best suited for your organization? Terryberry can help identify which ones will boost engagement among employees. We also provide guidance in creating and implementing a plan for those perks, which can be difficult to do on your own. Schedule a demo today to learn more about our comprehensive programs.