The Best Perks You Can Offer Team Members

The Best Perks You Can Offer Team Members

We have a pandemic and a new generation of employees who think very differently about what they want from their employer. Both of these require companies to look at what they offer to their employees in new and different ways. Here are some ideas of what employees are looking for:

1. Recognition
We’re not talking about the gold watch at 25 years or the certificate at 5. Employee recognition means something much different these days and it is much more complicated in our hybrid work environment. We all know how good it feels to be called out and recognized at work. It makes our day. Studies show that an employee who doesn’t get recognition at work is twice as likely to say they’ll walk out the door. And companies with engaged teams have 12% higher profitability. If you’re looking for some help, there are companies who just do employee recognition.

2. Personalized Bucket Lists
The more authentic the perk program is, the more impact it will have on retention, motivation and company culture. What is more authentic than a personalized perk? And this doesn’t just mean a gift card. It means planning the event, creating the experience. Whatever it is. Finishing the project, meeting the deadline, launching the product, whatever needs celebrating, let the staff pick their prize!

3. Care and Appreciation
This may seem like the same as recognition but it’s different. Our remote workforce has employees with less connection and bonding with the office. It may look like regular snack trays or a celebration cake at the office. And any of these things can be delivered to the homes of your off-site staff!

4. Employee Discounts and Rewards
There are many companies who offer programs of discounts and rewards. You don’t need to negotiate them all yourself. But employees will love your efforts to give them deals at restaurants or gyms or retail locations. One study found that 80% of employees would rather have perks than a pay raise. This one would be a win!

5. Wellness Program
Sitting is the new smoking. Our sedentary lifestyles are contributing to the rise in cardiovascular issues, cancer and type-2 diabetes. A wellness program could be simple like bringing in health screening or setting up in-office contests. Or you can go bigger by attempting full-blown culture shifts and changing behaviors. Your health insurance may have a wellness program you can implement or there are companies that provide services.

6. Office Perks
Work/life balance is a harder and harder thing to find these days. There is no 9-5 work day and with more and more remote workers, it seems like the “open” and “closed” signs are gone for good. Trying to make being in the office a more enjoyable experience can make this more stressful environment easier. One way is have a team-building event. Keep the levity in the building and try and include the remote workers if possible. Another way is food. Employees will consume several meals during the workday. You don’t have to feed them all day every day but there are many options to offering healthy snacks. Companies that will cater and companies that will deliver to the doorstep of your remote workers.

7. Healthcare Insurance
This isn’t a surprise. In a Glassdoor survey, 40% of respondents said they value health insurance more than a pay raise. Companies benefit from offering health insurance in less absenteeism due to illness because of covered preventive care. And employees are more engaged because they feel cared for and appreciated (see Perk #3).

8. Vacation/Paid Time Off
In the Glassdoor survey, most respondents said they valued vacation or paid time off over a salary raise. But many companies are stuck in the old school notion of accrued time based on days worked and tenure. That needs to change. In today’s world, companies needs to align their time off policy with results rather than basing it on accrual. It will have an amazing impact on your organization’s culture. A more open vacation policy tells employees their employer trusts them to keep their projects and deadlines on track regardless of how much or when they take time off. The result is a more productive workforce.

9. Performance Bonus
We’ve talked a lot about what employees would rather have than money. That doesn’t mean they don’t want the money! They just want it for the right reasons. The key is tying the rewards to results. This helps employees feel ownership in what they have accomplished and achieved with the company. They feel more motivated because there is a direct tangible result of their performance. An Incentive Research Foundation study showed that individual performance increased by 22% and team performance by 44% when performance bonuses were offered.

10. Paid Sick Days
Like vacation and PTO, paid sick days give employees a valuable commodity...their time. The National Partnership for Women and Families says, “People without paid sick days are 1.5 times more likely than those with paid sick days to report going to work with a contagious illness like the flu or a viral infection.” Employees without sick days will come to work sick and possibly create an outbreak at your company. Sick days is good for both body and mind of employees and employers.

11. 401(k) Plan, Retirement Plan and/or Pension
Even millennials want retirement benefits. Do you believe it? Workers without employee-sponsored retirement benefits don’t believe they’ll be able to retire comfortably. Retirement plans double the likelihood that an employee will be happy with their benefits package. Matching or partially matching employee contributions will make you a bigger hero in the perks offering!

12. Flexible Schedule
I think most companies have mastered the flexible schedule after the last year but let’s hit the highlights. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both parents work in 60% of the households with children in the US. Giving employees flexibility in their schedule demonstrates trust and care and fosters higher engagement.

13. Employee Development Plans
No one buys the illusion that employees are going to stay in one place forever anymore. And it’s good for both companies and employees to go into the arrangement with a mutual understanding. Realizing the relationship will last around 3-5 years, the company is taking on personal and professional growth of the employee during that time. This is in order for them to be able to move to their next adventure. This is the importance of an Employee Development Plan. Another aspect of the care and appreciation is showing you are willing to invest, even if they might take that new skillset somewhere else.

14. Tuition Reimbursement
Tuition costs have exploded. A 26% increase for a private four-year school and a 40% rise for a four-year public college. Tuition reimbursement, in addition to creating a more qualified employee is a huge benefit. The employee get a degree with no residual debt. Employees can work and go to school, so they aren’t going to be climbing uphill when they are finished.

15. Discounted Access to Company Services
It’s called “dogfooding”. A company with a good product should be able to “eat its own dog food”. If you have a produce or service that would be beneficial to your employees give them the goods! And if you allow them to beta test new products before release so they are “in the know”, you gain valuable feedback and they feel heard.

16. Gym Membership
Again...sitting is the new smoking. Since the pandemic, many gyms have taken a hit. But going to the gym can be done safely. And many gyms will offer group discounts. You can also bring trainers and yoga instructors into your office.

17. Stock, Stock Options and/or Equity
Offerings ownership in your organization is an incredible way to engage your employees. It changes your relationship from transactional to one where the employee feels they are working toward something they are creating. Employees with equity are happier and have more job stability. And long-term they will make more money than those without.

18. Paid Parental Leave
This is one area where most companies are still horribly deficient. As women feel like they have to choose between a career and a family many wait longer and longer to start a family. This has resulted in many women having fertility issues due to starting to get pregnant later. Companies offering insurance coverage for fertility treatments and generous maternity and adoption benefits lets employees know you value their lives not just their work contributions. Back to the care and appreciate once again.

19. Child Care Assistance
As mentioned earlier, in most households, both parents work. So child care is a necessity. This can be a huge expense with some employees claiming they work just to pay for child care. For example, here are average costs in Arizona, considered an average state:

  • Infant care runs $786 per month
  • Care for a 4-year-old is about $625 per month
  • Families with one infant can expect to spend almost 20% of their income on care
  • Care for one infancy and one 4-year-old costs more than the average monthly rent

20. Commuter Assistance
This is a perk that has become less necessary in the past year but it is still important in some situations. Studies show that in major cities commuters spent between 50 and 82 hours in their cars going back and forth to work. What a waste of time! Finding more useful ways to get people to the office and maybe more climate beneficial would be less stressful and save employees money. Rail passes, bus passes, ride shares or shuttles. There are lots of choices.

21. Diversity Programs
Hiring for a cultural fit may have been the easier choice at one time. But these days, the better choice is to hire for cultural contribution. This will require seeking out employees with diverse points of view. It’s not an overnight change. And you will want to include other members of your organization to make the changes that are needed. But over time, the productivity it will garner will be tremendous.

There you have it. Some of the best perks to offer your employees that will keep them engaged, motivated and appreciated. Make them your own and then watch the results!