Good employees can be challenging to find— and once you find them, you’ll need to keep them. While office perks are easier for big companies with large budgets to accommodate, small-to-medium sized companies may be wondering how to better support their awesome team members.
The good news is, Unum did some research so you don’t have to, and reported the top key areas where employees seek out extra perks for their jobs— and many of them won’t require you to reexamine your entire budget! These perks range from free to spendy, but all of them are highly valued by job seekers. If you want to retain good employees, it’s important to consider ways you can incorporate some perks into your workplace. Most of these perks are all about your employees feeling supported in their lives, both at work and at home. With any new or busy company, we know hours can get long. You can help keep morale up and show your employees how much you value their hard work by implementing some of the following perks within your company.
More and more, employees are seeking flexibility in their work; the traditional 9-5 is slowly evolving into a more flexible, real-life friendly schedule. Between sick children, car troubles, and other responsibilities, employees are looking for businesses that will allow them to deal with their life challenges as they pop up— without having to take a sick day— and make up any missed time when they can.
While a flexible schedule and remote work may not always be possible in the event industry, there could be periods of time (hello, slow season) where flexible hours and remote work may be possible. On a similar note, paid family leave is another important perk for many people. If a family member is ill, needs surgery, or is recovering, employees want the option to fulfill their family roles— and still be able to pay their bills. No one wants to be in a position where they have to choose between being a good parent or child and their job.
Occasionally, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities pop up, and employees would like to know that, if they decide to take part in the opportunity, that they won’t permanently lose their job— even if they’re gone for a few months. Having sabbatical leave options available for your team will give them peace of mind in that they won’t have to sacrifice their dreams in order to keep their job— plus, who knows what awesome skills they’ll return with? Forming clear policies around sabbatical leave will ensure that both your employees and your company can benefit from life’s opportunities.
People also love their pets. More and more businesses are moving to a pet friendly office space— and who doesn’t love a friendly shop dog or cat? If you’re concerned about behavior, consider requiring a basic dog training course for any dogs on site (places like Petco and Petsmart often offer them) to make sure any new furry assistants at least know how to sit and stay.
Employees often want to feel like their job helps them grow in some way. This can look different for different people and companies, but professional development is something many people hope for out of their jobs. This could be additional training and promotion opportunities, specialized training, or sending team members to conferences. Professional development can also be beneficial to your company; if you find that you outsource your web development, consider paying for a few courses for one of your technically inclined employees. While the up-front cost is on the higher end for this type of training, the long-term benefits could be huge cost savers.
Many companies also offer dedicated volunteer hours, so their employees can still contribute to their communities in a meaningful way. Volunteering can be done solo by employees, or as a team; either way, volunteering is an excellent break from day-to-day work and provides meaningful service to your local community.
Health & wellness
While health insurance is always a top preference for employee perks, there are some other great options as well. For instance, no one wants to live off of typical vending machine snacks while sitting at a desk all day. Helping your employees stay active and eat healthier will benefit everyone! Consider keeping healthy snacking options around for your employees instead of just candy and donuts (although donuts on Mondays are an excellent way to kick-start the week). You can also implement a fitness goal incentive program to encourage your employees to keep at their fitness goals. It’s easy to give up on fitness challenges when you only hold yourself accountable, so why not get your whole team involved?
Including a fitness or gym membership as one of your employee’s job perks is another great, highly valued way to help them meet their health goals. You could either purchase a membership at the same gym for all of your employees (look for one that offers classes, for variety and interest) or reimburse employees for their memberships. On a similar note, offering periodic health coaching (such as personal trainers or nutritionists) is another great way to support your employees on their fitness journey.
You pay your employees regularly, but then they are left to their own devices with that paycheck. Offering third-party financial planning or counseling resources is a great way to encourage your employees to make responsible decisions with their money, but also allowing them plenty of freedom regarding their investing and retirement decisions. Student loan repayment is a highly sought after business perk, but we understand that it may be a challenge for small to medium sized businesses. However, it is a sure-fire way to retain good employees on your team, so it’s worth considering!
Transportation reimbursement is a must if your employees are making deliveries or driving while on the clock. Many employers are expanding reimbursement to cover public transportation for their employees to get to and from work, as well. This is definitely a great perk that small businesses can include if they are located in a major metropolitan area, such as New York City or Washington D.C.
Identity theft protection is another highly valued perk that employees can offer their team members. With more and more people ordering online, cases of identity and credit card theft are on the rise. Providing this service to your employees will not only give them peace of mind, but also help reduce or eliminate the need for them to take off work to file a police report in the event that their information is stolen.
Ultimately, creating a happy working environment for your team means caring about their lives outside of the workplace. You and your employees spend a significant amount of time together, so it is important that they feel supported and cared for— not much feels worse than your employer only thinking of you as a number on a page. Provide options, within your budgetary capabilities, that help your team feel more like a family, and you’re sure to retain good employees.