Benefits and Compensation

Unique Employee Benefits

Does your organization offer paid vacation? What about a 401(k)? Or sick days? Or health insurance?

These are all fairly standard benefits to offer, and most employers do exactly that—at least for full-time employees. But, what about some of the lesser-known or less frequently offered benefits? For an employer looking to distinguish itself from the crowd, there can be a big benefit (no pun intended!) to offering things that make it unique.

Let’s take a look at some employee benefits you might not have considered. Some are gaining popularity but are still not common, while others you might think are a bit “out there”—but they might be worth considering to get that edge in the marketplace!

Employee Benefits You Might Not Have Considered

  • Unlimited vacation policies. Perhaps you’ve seen this one make the news. Some companies are ditching the standard 2 or 3 weeks and are offering a vacation policy that doesn’t have constraints in terms of the number of days allowed.
  • Memberships to local gyms or other facilities. Offering a gym membership at either a free or discounted rate is something that’s been around for a while. But now some companies are taking it a step further and are offering memberships to other places like warehouse shopping clubs or are giving out passes to local attractions (such as golfing or skiing).
  • Free food. The saying might be “There’s no such thing as free lunch,” but that doesn’t stop companies from offering free lunch, free snacks, or free soda/tea/coffee/etc., for employees. This can go a long way for employee morale.
  • Discounts on unexpected insurance options. While health insurance is fairly standard, many employers are now offering discounted premiums for employees (through the magic of group rates) on policies that the employees would normally have to purchase individually. Some examples include discounted premiums for auto insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and even long-term care insurance.
  • Pet benefits. Some employers extend the idea of “bring your dog to work day” to the company culture by allowing some pets to accompany employees at any time.
  • Household help. Some employers are offering on-site services such as laundry facilities or salon services to allow employees to get these tasks done during work hours with minimal work disruption. Others are offering vouchers to use at local housecleaning companies that give employees housecleaning services for free or for a discounted rate.
  • Childcare benefits. This could take various forms, such as providing a daycare service for employees on-site or providing a discount with a local daycare provider.
  • Other wellness initiatives. Beyond the usual fare in wellness programs and gym memberships, some employers are opting to provide things like free or discounted yoga or Pilates classes at work, game rooms for employee down-time during the work day, free bicycles to use locally during the day or free bike service for the employee’s personal bicycle.
  • Charitable contributions. Employers are tackling this issue in various ways. One way is to offer specific days off set aside for volunteering for charitable organizations. Another is to offer an employer match of employee contributions to charitable organizations.
  • International meetings. While many employees dread having to travel for work—and never seeing more than the inside of a hotel and conference room—that attitude could change if employee meetings were held in exotic, international locations with extra free time built in to explore.
  • Massage therapy. Want less-stressed employees? What about offering therapeutic massage either on-site or in the form of vouchers to use at a local business?
  • Other on-site options. Besides the idea of a gym or daycare on-site, what about going even further? Could you offer a convenience or small grocery store? A restaurant?

Obviously, this list is just an idea starter—there are nearly unlimited options for employers to consider. What other perks have you considered offering to employees? What have you offered in the past, and how was it received by employees?

*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.

About Bridget Miller:

Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.