Unlike hats or bracelets, staff benefits and perks are not one-size fits all. The same benefits package your competitor has been using successfully is unlikely to work for your business.
Fortune 500 Companies can attract and retain top talent through highly generous benefits offerings. Firms that are not as fortunate as the Googles and Facebooks of the world can still compete for quality employees; they just have to be a little more creative.
There are numerous benefits that an employer can offer to compete for the best workers. Here are 25 easy and inexpensive staff benefits and perks that can improve your business.
1. Flexible Work Options
Give employees the option to telecommute, video conference, or work from home. Flexible work options offer your employee’s a sense of responsibility, freedom, and trust.
These work options can also boost employee productivity. According to the 2015 Remote Collaborative Worker Survey, of those who work remotely at least a few times a month, 77 percent reported greater productivity while working offsite.
2. Free Car Washes
Some “express exterior” car washing services will work for $5 a wash. Car washes are a cheap and easy perk you can reward employees with, every few months.
Business transparency is a “Lack of hidden agendas accompanied by the availability of full information.” Business transparency can lead to better employee engagement and satisfaction.
In a 2013 survey from the Harvard Business Review, 70 percent of respondents said they are most engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy.
A 2013 Survey from TINYpulse found that transparency was the number one factor contributing to employee happiness.
Learn how to implement business transparency.
4. Yoga Class
Bring a yoga instructor into the office periodically (once or twice a week). Yoga will ease employees’ stress and better their fitness. Providing yoga offers double benefits, because it also can decrease healthcare costs, or lost productivity from employees missing work due to poor health.
PTO plans combine all types of paid leave into one bank from which employees can withdraw from whenever, and for whatever they choose. These plans give workers more flexibility than a traditional, divided, paid leave plan.
Find out more about PTO.
6. Value Everyone’s Input
Give each worker an ability to provide their input and feel as if they are heard. Employees become more empowered and engaged when their input is valued.
Valuing employees’ input can have a positive effect on your bottom line. There is a greater percentage of shareholder return and employee satisfaction from companies with a culture of recognition, according to Incentive Magazine.
7. Pet-friendly Workspaces
Allow employees to bring their pets into the work with them. Pets can help to reduce workers’ stress and improve job satisfaction. It can also save your staff money by ridding them of the need for a dog walker or pet daycare.
8. Office Games
Buy the office a, ping pong, pool or foosball table for the break room. These games are a small fixed-cost and can help to boost job satisfaction by allowing people to have fun while at work. They can also improve engagement by giving employees more opportunities to interact and socialize with one another.
9. Relaxed or No Dress Code
Having no, or a relaxed, dress code can save your staff money by eliminating the need to buy and dry-clean expensive dress clothing. It can also lead to improved morale and job satisfaction.
10. Bereavement Leave
Give employees paid leave after a close friend or family member passes away. Providing employees 1-3 days of paid leave after a grief incident supports both the worker and your business.
This leave shows your employees that you care about them and their mental and emotional health. It also aids your business by avoiding mistakes that can result from an individual’s grief.
The Grief Recovery Institute reports that 85 percent of management-level employees described their decision-making as “very poor” to “fair” in the weeks or months following a grief incident that affected them.
Learn more about paid bereavement leave.
11. Wellness Programs
Wellness programs, if well-designed, can boost both employee health and engagement. Improving employee health saves your business from high medical care costs, and lost productivity.
Wellness programs can also boost individual engagement and office morale. A social wellness program can get employees to interact with each other more frequently, which can raise morale.
12. Summer Hours
Every Friday, during the summer, let employees leave an hour or two early. The benefits of increased job satisfaction far outweigh the 1-2 lost hours of productivity. Additionally, employees may work harder those days, knowing that they have less time to do their work
13. Chill Zone/ Nap Area
A “chill zone” with comfortable couches and chairs (lava lamps are optional) is a great way to promote employee socialization, which can improve work teams and build morale. Another benefit of having a “chill zone” is it can help to relieve employee stress.
A nap area offers similar stress-relieving benefits as a “chill zone”. Research has shown that naps can boost alertness, learning, and problem-solving while decreasing stress and fatigue.
Learn about napping and other ways to promote healthy employee habits.
14. Give Workers Choices
Every employee is likely to prefer a different set of benefits than the next. Allow employees to choose what benefits and perks they want to receive.
They know which benefits are most valuable to them, and what perks will help them the most. Giving workers a choice allows you to get the most out of your benefits and perk offerings.
15. Food Fridays
Feed the office every Friday (or on periodic Fridays if you want to save money). Buy everyone pizza or sandwiches; you don’t have to shell out for gourmet catering.
Feeding the office provides a great opportunity for workers to socialize as a group, which can help strengthen work teams. Group meals allow your organization to bond as a whole and strengthen the workplace culture.
16. In-office Massages
Bring in a masseuse every week, or month, to give massages in the office. A massage is a cheap and effective way to reduce your staffs’ stress. Reduced stress can bring multiple benefits to the workplace.
Over half of the 550 million working days lost annually in the U.S. from absenteeism are stress-related. Unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602 per worker per year. A cheap, stress-relieving perk, like massages, could save your business money.
17. On-site Wellness Area
Creating an on-site wellness area could be expensive, but is a fixed cost. An on-site wellness area also promotes positive health amongst your employees, which can decrease medical expenses. This area can also save employees time and money, by avoiding gym memberships, which only increases the value to them.
18. Free Seminars
Many professionals will speak for free, to promote themselves. You can get speakers to come to your office and address issues such as investment planning, motivation, corporate wellness, etc.
These seminars are free, or very cheap, and offer your employees an opportunity to learn and grow. If your employees are growing, your business is likely to benefit.
19. Pet Bereavement Leave
Give employees a day of paid leave when their pet dies. Over 95 percent of pet owners consider their pets a part of the family. The death of a pet can have similar grief-related effects as the passing of a friend or family member. Let employees take a day off and recover from their loss.
Find out more about pet bereavement leave.
20. Group Events
Get your employees out of the office and having fun. Take all your workers to a movie, the bowling alley, or to play putt-putt. Group events offer a chance for your staff to bond and strengthen work teams, and have fun while doing it.
21. Professional Development Opportunities
Pay for employees to join professional organizations, or for a ticket to see a relevant speaker. Sponsor their trip to a job-related conference. Investing in your employees’ professional development benefits your company two-fold.
Employees will increase their knowledge and skills, which will boost their performance in the workplace. Additionally, your staff will be grateful for the opportunities, which can help grow employee satisfaction and loyalty.
22. Flex Hours
Offer your staff a flexible work schedule. As with flex work options, flex hours give your employees increased job flexibility. This flexibility, in turn, can boost employee trust and responsibility, which in turn works to increase productivity.
Your business can have employees work specific core hours and let them create their schedule around those times. Flex time options, such as this, give employees freedom without sacrificing any productivity on the company’s behalf.
23. Dry Cleaning/ Laundry Service
Team with a provider to offer dry cleaning and/or laundry service to your office. Have a local company pick up and drop off dry cleaning/laundry at your location. This service can save your staff sizeable amounts of time, and prove highly valuable to them, at little or no cost to you.
24. Commuter Benefits
The commute to work may cost your employees more than $100 a month. This cost can add up for your staff, over the course of a year. Help commuters pay for their travel through a monthly stipend or a commuter flexible spending account.
25. Placement Incentives
Reward employees who recommend an individual that gets hired and stays for a specific amount of time. For example, if someone is hired and stays six months, reward the referring employee with an extra paid day, or two, off.
No, not everyone can be Google. That doesn’t mean that you can’t compete for the best employees. Each of these 25 staff benefits and perks are inexpensive and offer tangible rewards to your employees.
Ultimately, it is up to your company to decide what mix of staff benefits best suits your workforce, and your organization.