As an employee, feeling valued, respected, and appreciated can have a big impact on your loyalty to the company that you work for. Often, when employees are happy in their jobs, and in their work-to-life balance, it can mean more to them than a larger paycheck.
There are some standard benefits that employers offer to entice and keep employees, but the ones that go above and beyond the norm tend to have the most success with employee retention, and are of the most interest to new recruits, which helps to feed a continual stream of talent.
So, what benefits can you, as a business owner, offer to current and future employees to make your company a great place to work?
It’s likely that if you have employees, at least some of them have spouses, children, or pets that they spend time away from in order to make your business turn a profit. By being flexible and supporting a healthy work-to-life balance, you can help to make your workers feel less stressed, and more comfortable.
Some ways to do this include:
Offer sick or personal time, instead of having them use vacation days, and try to be understanding when a child or family member is sick.
Onsite daycare for kids or pets so that they don’t feel like they are neglecting what’s important to them, and so that staying a couple of minutes late doesn’t mean having to rush to the daycare before it closes. If you can’t provide daycare, you can offer reimbursements up to a certain amount.
Flexible hours, such as allowing your workers to choose their hours as long as they meet a total at the end of the week, or implementing a variable work schedule (flextime).
Vacation time so that they can take a break or pursue their interests when they need to.
Many employers, like Google, offer health benefits in at least some capacity. While some are better than others (Google has onsite doctors, nurses, and even legal advice available at no cost), there are other practical ways to entice your employees from a personal standpoint.
Consider exploring some of the following options to see if any would fit in with your business:
Work from home options, which can take the stress out of commuting and allow the employee to complete tasks in a familiar environment that they are comfortable in.
Gym memberships can be a benefit not only to your employees, but to you as well. Healthy, happy, and confident employees will produce better work.
Transit and parking. If your business just can’t function if your employees work from home, you may want to consider either providing free parking or reimbursing them for public transit passes.
Onsite cafeterias or catered lunches. Some larger offices have cafeterias that serve breakfast and lunch every day, while others may offer catered lunches once a week. Even fresh coffee and donuts in the lunch room can make a difference.
Free products or discounts. Your employees work to make your product or business successful, so they should benefit from their hard work. That’s why it’s common to see employers who offer products to employees at cost.
When people think “benefits”, they usually either relate it to health or finance. But there are more options to financial benefits for employees than just providing pension or 401K plans, such as:
Bonuses. Bonuses are a well-known and common incentive, and can help employees to motivate themselves when trying to reach new goals.
Office supplies. Letting your employees order their own office furniture or supplies will help to make them feel comfortable in their workspace. Even small things like calendars or motivational posters can make a big difference.
Courses and programs. Your employee may be really good at what they do, but as the industry changes, perhaps they’ll want to stay up-to-date. Covering courses, programs, and even just books or one time sessions can encourage your worker to learn new things related to their field, which they can, in turn, implement in your business.
Share plans. When do you feel the most loyal or invested in something? When you can call it your own. Giving employees the chance to buy into the company makes them want to see it do well.
The Benefits of Benefits
Of course, not every company can offer their employees limitless benefits, but by investing in your workers, you are investing in your business as well.
Employees who have some control over their work and their lives will dedicate more time and skill to projects, and will offer honesty and loyalty in return for feeling like they matter. Valued employees shouldn’t be rewarded by being made to feel like they are replaceable, so show them what they mean to you and your company by going that extra mile.
What employee benefit would you like most? What are some of the best that you offer?