Life is complicated. That’s true for ourselves and, as managers, we should keep in mind that it’s also true for everyone on our team. To that end, it’s important for us to help our team members feel comfortable and welcome in our workplace.
And offering perks can do just that.
Yes, I know. I, too, have seen the movies and shows where new, “open-minded” offices (usually overtly based on the office of a certain ubiquitous search engine) run by young entrepreneurs offer so many perks as to be distracting and make the workplace appear more like a playground than an office.
But in real life, perks can make a workplace more attractive to potential employees and more productive for the company.
Workplace perks benefit everyone. Understanding how can help you build a business that’s empathetic, caring, and, most importantly, successful.
Table of Contents
Why offer employee perks?
Employee perks and benefits in the workplace can have many advantages. The perks companies offer can help create a company culture that reinforces core business values and improves employee morale. Providing extra perks for your employees is a simple, humane, and thoughtful step you can take that helps you:
Improve employee retention and acquisition
Quality employees help build a quality business. These days, many talented applicants take workplace perks into consideration when weighing whether to accept a job offer. Because of this, offering great perks can help attract top talent to your business. Even better, these perks can help you retain your talented pool of employees.
Bonus benefit: low turnover rates save you money, as paying for perks is often cheaper than paying to hire and train new employees!
Many perks have mental health benefits that help make employees happy. According to several studies, including this one from the University of Warwick, when employees feel happy, they engage more with their job. Employees engaged with their jobs often work harder and accomplish more. This increased productivity can have several benefits on its own, such as:
- Reduced costs
- Improved customer service
- Increased sales
Many aspects of your business could benefit from employees willing to work harder. So, why not help them do so by improving their mood?
Create a positive work environment
One of my previous workplaces had a poster that asked, “Attitudes are contagious; is yours worth catching?” The attitudes your employees have can greatly affect not just their work, but the attitudes of those around them. Employee perks can help influence your team’s attitude by creating a positive work culture that provides a comfortable, safe, and positive environment.
Good vibes all around!
Top 5 Unique Employee Perks to Offer
The perks you offer your employees might depend on your specific workplace and office culture. However, there are some common perks that can help attract, retain, and engage many employees in most workplaces. Some of the most sought-after perks applicants look for when seeking employment are:
Flexible work arrangements
If we’ve learned anything during the pandemic, it’s that people can get work done under almost any circumstance. We’ve all had to be flexible over the past few years. And this flexibility has helped many of us learn how we work best. Providing flexibility to your team helps them find the way they can be most productive. It also gives them a little more control over their work, which can help decrease their stress and improve their work/life balance.
Flexible work arrangements differ for each workplace, but can include:
- Letting employees work from home
- Offering shorter work weeks
- Creating flexible schedules that help your employees work at the times best for them
- Allowing pomodoro work styles that involve working and resting in intervals
Perks for parents
When you create perks for your employees, it’s helpful to take their personal situations into account. Consider your employees with children. They might appreciate some perks directed specifically toward them.
For instance, new mothers might find pumping rooms helpful, so they can prepare bottles for their baby. Onsite daycare could help parents do their job without needing to find a babysitter.
Other benefits such as paid parental leave, college savings plans, and family health care could attract employees with children by helping them take care of their parental duties.
Time off for volunteering
Social awareness has become an important value for many in the workforce. Being of service can help improve employees’ attitudes and reinforce your company’s core values. Unfortunately, finding the time to volunteer can be difficult—especially since it doesn’t pay!
VTO (Volunteer Time Off) works just like regular paid time off—almost. Like PTO, employees receive their normal wage when taking a day off. Only, with VTO, that time is allotted for volunteer or community service work. Often, this occurs when your business collaborates with a local charity or organization to perform services that help the community—simultaneously helping your employees and raising awareness about your company’s values!
Reimbursement for professional development
Professional development can help both your employees and your business. Driven team members can learn more about their work, improve their skills, and increase their chances for upward mobility. At the same time, you get to improve your workplace talent pool. This can feed on itself, by helping these employees become management who, in turn, help their coworkers learn more and improve their skills.
Increased mental and physical health awareness has had many benefits, including improvements to the work place. This has given us the option of many health-related perks that focus on our employees’ well-being. These include a wide array of perks you can offer your team, including:
- Standing desks
- Mental health coverage
- Gym memberships
- Healthy snacks
- Competitions/bonuses based on healthy habits
Don't forget: offer a living wage!
I’m listing this on its own, rather than as a “workplace perk.” I consider a living wage to be a requirement for today’s workplace, much like a positive culture or basic employee benefits. As an employer, we have the opportunity to help our employees create a happy, healthy life. We can do that by making sure they can afford food and housing for them and their families.
It’s not just good for business—it’s the right thing to do!