14 of the Most Popular Employee Perks – Job Perks Employees Love more than a Salary Raise
Employers are taking employee enjoyment much more seriously – and for a good reason. According to a 700-person employee experiment, being happy at work actually boosts your productivity. If you are able to keep employees happy, you can benefit in terms of productivity and even financial gains. So, how can you achieve these happier and more productive employees?
One of the easiest ways is by looking into employee perks – those additional benefits you can provide to your employees to keep them more satisfied in their roles. Rewards can help create a more positive and caring work environment. By providing perquisites, you tell to your employees that their wellbeing matters to you and that you are willing to listen to them – you put employee satisfaction above pure profit.
These perks can be attractive to employees and in keeping those employees that already work for you committed in your business. If you provide good enough benefits and you focus on keeping employees happy, they are unlikely to want to leave.
While salary increase is often the go-to perk, there are perks many employees actually love more than a salary raise. In fact, a Glassdoor employment survey said 4 in 5 employees want other benefits more than a pay increase. Let’s look at 14 of the most popular employee perks and examples of companies implementing them right now.
THE PURE MONETARY PERKS
It goes without saying that money is an important employee perk. Who would ever say ‘no’ to a salary increase? But monetary perks are not just about the salary raise. Other purely monetary-based benefits exist for employers to provide to employees.
1. Paid time off
On top of the list of employee perks workers want is paid time off. Everyone needs some time off from work but you don’t want it to cause you to suffer too much financially. If a company can provide both time off and to compensate financially for the break, it can attract plenty of workers. The Glassdoor employment survey showed 37% of employees appreciate paid time off more than a pure salary increase.
The perk is also one that a lot of companies have jumped on board. TranswerWise makes sure its employees are able to attend an all-expenses paid holiday every year. In fact, the perk is slowly moving away from a few weeks of paid time-off to an unlimited amount of time. Yes, you read that right: companies are now offering employees the option to take as much time off from work as they want. Here’s Kathryn Minshew, CEO of the Muse, discussing why she thinks the perk is beneficial.
Paid time off can also include paid sick days. There are still occasions where employees won’t receive any compensation for the days they need to take off for sickness. In fact, recently there have been news stories of companies charging employees that can’t find a replacement to cover for them when they need to take time off when ill. Therefore, an option to be sick without financial loss can seem lucrative for many.
2. Performance bonuses
Employees also appreciate performance bonuses. These are different from salary increase, as they tend to be one-off payments based on certain pre-determined metrics. The bonus is either based on the company performing well – a bonus paid for all employees if the company profits go up – or on the performance of the individual employee – a bonus based on achieving specific sales targets.
Software company Huddle is an example as it gives employees around $6,000 joining bonus and an annual $600 gift. Interestingly, the performance bonus might not always relate to work performance. CloudApps has implemented a system of ‘green bonuses’, which are rewards given to employees for taking positive environmental actions, such as recycling at work.
3. Retirement and pension plans
Employees are not just interested in monetary perks that support them in the current situation. Smart employees are also looking for future – securing their retirement is an important part of financial planning. It’s not a surprise then to find retirement and pension plans at the top of popular employee perks. The benefit is about providing employment with a proper retirement or pension plan or some sort of other financial incentive for the future.
The list of companies that offer some sort of retirement plan is a long one – again, showing it is such a popular perk. Quartz listed companies that offer defined-benefit pensions plans in 2016, with the list featuring companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Prudential Financial Inc.
THE PERKS TO STAY HEALTHY
Healthy employees are happy employees. When it comes to employee perks, health-related benefits are becoming more popular. These can boost employee performance and help them feel more valued as well.
4. Medical insurance
Healthcare provision is not quite the same around the world. Some countries provide quality healthcare without much cost to the person, while others require you to pay for your own healthcare through insurance payments and other such systems.
The mixture of healthcare and the regional differences have turned medical insurance into a popular employee perk. In the Glassdoor survey, additional medical insurance provided by the employer actually scored the top spot. Employees want to stay healthy and they appreciate it when the employer is willing to help them.
Aside from pure medical insurance, dental insurance has become a popular perk. Allen & Overy, the UK-based law firm, provides on-site dentistry, ensuring employees’ teeth are in top-notch condition at all times. Indeed, the opportunity to visit a doctor on-site is a popular perk, especially if part of the costs are covered by the employer.
5. Gym and other such member programs
Of course, you can stay healthy by staying fit and employers have understood the benefit of keeping their workforce in good condition. The healthier your employees are, the less you lose money on sick days. The revelation has led to the increase in employee perks such as gym membership programs.
It doesn’t need to be a gym necessarily, wellness programs whether it’s yoga or spinning are popular. Some organizations have on-site fitness facilities while others simply provide vouchers to the local gyms and fitness centers. Pentland Brands offers an on-site swimming pool, gym and even a football pitch to help employees stay healthy and fit.
Another interesting take on this health perk is the support companies can provide for keeping fit. An UK developer of online games provides its staff free bicycle repairs – it acts as an incentive for employees to cycle to work and maintain better health. Jagex has had quite a success with this unusual take on this health-related employee reward.
Naomi Pelley, regional director in Account Management, has given an interesting interview on the benefits of helping employees stay fit, especially in terms of stress management:
6. Extra time-off
Finally, aside from keeping employees fit and ensuring they have access to proper healthcare, employers have also understood the value of extra time-off. You can recharge your batteries by simply switching off for a bit and allowing your mind and body to rest. As mentioned in the previous section, employees appreciate extra time-off from work, especially if they don’t lose out financially during the break.
The extra time-off can be proper vacation time or it can be the option to take a few extra hours of or to get an extra day off near a holiday. For example, insurance company Swinton Insurance provides its employees with an additional day off to do Christmas shopping.
These sorts of extra moments away from work can be crucial for staying healthy and motivated and are definitely among the favorite employee perks companies can provide.
THE PERKS TO PERFORM BETTER
Good employees are passionate about their work and they want to help the business to succeed. Therefore, it can be easy to attract employees with benefits that boost their work performance and make working just a bit smoother.
7. Flexible schedule
Nine to five work hours are clearly becoming a thing of the past. Studies have shown that productivity can go up if employees are able to be more flexible about when and where they work. This kind of flexible scheduling of work is quickly increasing in popularity when it comes to employee perks. Employees appreciate if they are able to:
- Occasionally work from home
- Decide their own work hours with more flexibility
- Leave the office to work from a café or a local library, for example
The perk has gained popularity among companies. The consumer goods giant Colgate-Palmolive allows its employees to set up flexible work hours, ensuring they can start later or work more on certain days, while spending less time in the office on others.
8. Free development programs and courses
As mentioned at the start of the section, employees who are passionate about their job want to improve their skillset – they appreciate companies that push them to improve and support them during the process. Employee perks like development programs for skills and courses that support career development are therefore popular options aside from a salary increase.
Companies could provide free seminars that develop skills the employees use as part of their job or allow the personnel to take courses on skills like leadership. The perks are popular because they provide the employee with more potential to earn more in the future!
Culture Amp recently listen 10 companies that help employees increase their future career potential. The list included companies such as:
- Pixar, which provides both required training programs as well as optional classes on a variety of disciplines for employees
- Etsy, which has employees take classes on things like tap dancing and communication
- Digital Ocean, with its individual development program for each employee
9. Tuition coverage of reimbursement
Related closely to the above point is an employee reward under which the company provides tuition coverage or reimbursement for its employees. This is popular, especially in countries where higher education is not cheap.
The benefit is about the company covering some or all of the cost of education the employee has either gone through or will go through. It can be a great way for the company to attract highly educated people and it can ensure employees are willing to re-educate themselves further
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline announced back in 2011, it would pay off tuition fees for graduates, as part of its response to the government’s decision to increase tuition fees in England. The commitment only lasted for two years, but its popularity shows that employees definitely appreciate perks like this.
10. Commuter assistance
Even when you enjoy and love your work, you don’t necessarily love getting to work. Crowded cities and failing infrastructure in many places in the world have made commuting a rather painful experience. Getting to work is not always easy and it definitely isn’t cheap – help from the employer will be greatly appreciated.
Commuter assistance can range from things such as company shuttle service that gets employees from home to work to financial assistance to cover the cost of train or bus tickets. Microsoft is among those well-known companies that have understood the advantage of commuter assistance. The tech-giant offers free bus-services and free cycle tune-ups for those that cycle to work, for example.
11. Volunteer time
Employees also appreciate companies with a social conscience. The ability to do good for your community can be an attraction to working in a specific company, with companies also benefitting from its workforce doing good. It can build a better business reputation, but also help employees feel better at their own work. Therefore, a perk such as the ability to volunteer is popular among the modern workforce.
The Body Shop is one of the companies that understands the power of this perk. The beauty product company allows its employees to volunteer for three days a year for causes they care about. The time-off from work doesn’t cost anything for the employee – it’s like paid time-off, but instead of going on a holiday, these employees do something good in the neighborhood.
THE PERKS TO RELAX AND UNWIND
Some perks are quite quirky. Those rather small gestures that can make the employee feel more relaxed at work and those that can help them unwind.
11. Office perks
Office perks are popular and range from the common – such as relaxed dress-code on Friday – to the unusual – such as the ability to play table football during the work day.
The main idea behind office perks is to make the work environment a bit more fun and to take things less seriously. It’s about generating an atmosphere of laughter and comradely. So, what are the most common office-based employee perks companies offer? They include:
- Smart casual dress code, either at all times or for a specific day
- Free office treats like cakes, healthy food or drinks
- Allowing the employees to unwind during the day, including provision of time-off for naps or walks to parks
- Office games and other such additions to make the environment more relaxed and playful
Google’s offices are perhaps among the best examples of office perks for employees. The headquarters have free cafeterias, sleeping pods and even a giant slide to play with. Check out this introductory video to understand more:
Furthermore, software company Jive Software offers an example of these quirky office rewards. The company offers free food, such as Bacon Thursday, to keep its employees happy and hunger-free!
12. Employee discounts
The other example of quirky perks include employee discounts companies can offer. These are not just discounts to use the company’s own services, but special discounts employees can enjoy when going out or shopping for things.
The most popular option is discounts to shop at specific retailers. ASOS staff benefit 40% off from online shopping, for example. AutoTrader UK has started a wine club that delivers cheaper wine to its employees each month.
The discounts can also be applied for specific events, such as cheaper cinema tickets, concert tickets or sports tickets. Some companies even offer a stipend that helps employees enjoy cheaper travel. Airbnb gives staff up to $2,000 in travel vouchers – a great way to help employees experience the world and unwind.
THE FAMILY PERKS
Finally, there are certain perks that attract to employees with families or those that are planning to start one in the near future. Family-related benefits are popular because they allow employees to have the career of their dreams and have a family at the same time.
13. Paid maternal/paternal leave
Depending on the country you live, your rights might differ a great deal when it comes to work and having a family. While Finnish mothers are able to enjoy over 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, new mothers in the US aren’t in as strong legal position when it comes to paid maternity leave.
What’s more, Finnish fathers also get up to six weeks of paid paternity leave, while again, the US dads are left for fighting for time-off. It’s no wonder than parents in countries like the US are impressed if the company voluntarily offers paid maternal or paternal leave. It will ensure having a baby isn’t a financial liability and takes a bit of the stress away from starting a family.
A lot of companies have understood the value of paid maternal and paternal leave. Netflix is among the companies that provide up to 12 months of paid parental leave – for both mothers and fathers.
14. Childcare assistance
Parents also appreciate help after it’s time to get back to work. Organizing childcare isn’t easy – sometimes the child is sick, the work hours might be unexpectedly long and so on. Not to mention, the cost of childcare can place quite a burden on parents.
Therefore, when it comes to childcare assistance as an employment perk, two specific benefits are at the top of the list:
- On-site childcare facilities – allow the parents to check up on the kids during the work day and it gives extra guarantees everything are going well with the kids. On-site childcare can also make the commute easier, as you don’t need to drop off the kids at a different location.
- Financial assistance to organize childcare – could be vouchers that cut down the cost of childcare or specific bonuses for slashing the prices.
CA Technologies is an example of an employer that has taken this perk seriously. The American software company provides on-site day care service for company employees’ children.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While it would be hard to find an employee who says ‘no’ to a salary raise, there are a number of other perks that can weigh more in making a specific company seem more attractive.
The above 14 employee perks are popular, often more so than a pure salary increase. They are attractive because they help the employee succeed better at work and at home – they make life easier and happier. Therefore, companies should pay attention to employee satisfaction – happier employees are more productive.
Perhaps more importantly, companies should understand that it isn’t just the paycheck that matters, proper rewards can make the workplace seem attractive and help the employees feel passionate about the company and its mission.