With the Great Resignation looming and companies looking for ways to attract and retain employees, we’re in a go-beyond-the-basics, think-outside-the-box time. While we've known for decades that happier, healthier employees do better work, it's becoming more and more evident that putting the human before the work leads to a more productive workforce. This starts by offering the best employee benefits package, one that's full of creative, interesting, and motivating perks.
Enjoying your work is one thing, but enjoying your work environment makes a monumental difference. Below, you'll find a list of the most-requested, most-desired, and most-creative employee benefits and perks that you can use to inspire your own benefits packages.
Flexible scheduling for caregivers
Having flexible schedules for employees is a make-or-break employee benefit for many. More than 73% of our American workforce serves as a caregiver, meaning they care for children or loved ones at home. More than three-quarters of our employees are essentially working a double shift! Giving them the time and space to focus on home at home and work at work is a huge perk. This not only lessens stress (big time!), but it allows working caregivers to get their kids to school, make doctor’s appointments, run important errands, and take care of appointments at places only open during standard business hours. Additionally, flexible schedules decrease absenteeism. Interestingly, research shows that schedule autonomy actually increases productivity by giving employees the ability to be more present for their job. Here are some creative ways to offer flex schedules:
- Allow employees to work their full-time hours at whatever time they can, even if they work at 5 am or 10 pm.
- Let employees set their own schedules.
- Staggered schedules
- Remote workdays
- Offer companion care benefits
Home office and remote work benefits
As remote work became more common during the pandemic, it became obvious that working from a physical office isn't necessary for productivity. This is a good thing! It's much easier now for employees to balance work and caregiving so that it was not possible pre-pandemic.
Having remote work options cuts the cost of driving to an office and the amount of time being spent in rush hour traffic. In addition, it allows people to get their kids to school in a less frantic way, allowing both parents and kids to start their days meltdown-free and less stressed.
Still, working from home also means employees have to figure out a place to work at home. This is not always easy with limited space and distractions. To help, some companies have offered the following benefits:
- Home office bonuses. Some companies give a dollar amount to set up an office at home.
- Gift certificates to Uber Eats to order in lunch as a reward or regular offering.
- Send office “accessories” like desktop calendars, notebooks, recording microphones, or earbuds to the home.
Not-so-standard health benefits
The words “health benefits” meant whatever basic insurance you could afford or your company was offering. Thankfully, as companies realize the direct links between health and productivity, they are expanding health benefits to mean more than insurance. There are so many things that employees need these days that are out of the scope of traditional healthcare. By looking at the health of the whole human, companies can make a difference in employee health.
Best employee benefits for physical needs
First, health benefits should encompass many physical health needs such as:
- Exercise programs, stipends or challenges
- Paid time off for not only maternity but also parental leave
- "Extra" health benefits like vision, dental, and mental health benefits
- Physical therapy benefits
- Stipends or subscriptions to group exercise or yoga classes
- All-encompassing senior care
- Fertility benefits
- Adoption benefits
- Benefits for holistic approaches like acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, herbal-based medicines, and aromatherapy
Benefits for mental health needs
Second, companies are starting to give mental health the attention it requires. There is an ever-growing need to assist in the employee's physical health and mental health. Doing this will result in the company having staff ready to work, invested, creative, and fulfilled humans. Humans feel like their employers understand them and care for them in a way that general/typical health care options do not. We’ve made a list of mental health benefits that employees request most.
- Group or individual therapy options
- Diagnostic services
- Substance abuse
- Pre-existing mental or behavioral conditions
- 24/7 support hotlines/crisis line
- Inpatient and outpatient treatments
- Expand provider network
Non-salary and compensation perks
Finally, perks beyond salary often set a company apart as a top choice for candidates. These perks also help build an environment that gives employees satisfaction, confidence, and pride in their workplace. A few fun, creative ideas include:
- A cereal bar
- Cookies sent home
- Weekly catered lunches
- Kitchens stocked with drinks and snacks
- Dog day with dog treats
- Food trucks were brought to the parking lot during lunch.
- Discounts at other local businesses (This is also an excellent way for your company to work alongside other companies for mutual gain!)
The best employee benefits as a tool for retention and recruitment
In conclusion, research has shown that many people in the workforce are willing to take a pay cut to work at a place with excellent employee benefits and perks. Another study showed that 80% of employees would choose a better benefits package over a pay raise. This data shows that by investing in employee benefits, companies invest in their workforce in a meaningful and impactful way.
The world and the needs of the people in it are ever-changing, and we need to make sure we are keeping up. By offering extensive, thoughtful benefits, you will improve the lives of your employees and their families and increase the productivity of your workforce.
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