When it comes to benefits, your business is likely already offering some obvious ones. Healthcare. Dental. Vision. All of these things are important, to be sure, but in today’s recruitment market, you may need to go above and beyond to recruit great employees to your company. The sky is the limit in terms of what you can help your employees within order to keep them around.
60% of employees name benefits as “very important” when it comes to job satisfaction. People don’t just want a paycheck; they want flexibility, freedom, and financial resources. If you’re having a hard time recruiting new job candidates or seeing a high amount of employee turnover, it may be time to check out your benefits package and consider how you can improve it.
Benefits Beyond the Norm
Here are some out-of-the-box benefits that are gaining popularity in many industries. Before you jump in headfirst, keep in mind:
- The norms for your industry (you don’t need to go from 0 to 100 if it isn’t industry standard)
- The average age/family structure of your employees (the old and the young have different health and leave needs)
- Cost of living in your area (employees may prefer a higher paycheck to better benefits if your office is in a very expensive area)
- How satisfied employees are currently (if you regularly take employee surveys and no one’s ever voiced an issue with benefits, they probably aren’t something you need to change)
Once you’ve taken stock of your industry, your employees, and your needs, start brainstorming which benefits may improve the package you currently offer. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
Adoption in the United States is an incredibly expensive process. Some companies are getting creative by reimbursing their employees’ adoption expenses. Adoption reimbursement benefits are pretty rare, which means they can help employers with employee recruitment and also be a major sign of goodwill towards their employees. By demonstrating that you care about your employee’s family, you’re showing that you’re more than just a money-making machine—you provide a caring, compassionate workplace. At the risk of sounding cliché, you’re also making it easier for employees to do a good thing, and sturdier families will lead to a sturdier world (and in turn, a sturdier economy).
You give your employees a paycheck. But do you help them understand how to use that paycheck? Helping your employees achieve financial literacy will improve your employee retention and help them understand how to financially function. When employees are stressed out about finances, they aren’t productive: they’re stressed, scared, and distracted. They’re also more likely to jump ship in order to find a higher paycheck. Avoid that by providing a reimbursement for financial planning, or a planned speaker/guest lecturer on the topic.
Plenty of companies offer to help pay for employees to attend graduate school or get advanced degrees in exchange for the employee planning to work for them for a mutually agreed upon amount of time. But a continued learning stipend doesn’t have to be for a large amount of money or a formal education program. If an employee finds an e-course they’d like to take about your industry, an in-person class at a neighboring college, or a conference they’d like to attend purely for education, are those things you’re able to help pay for?
By helping employees learn more about your industry, you’re investing in your company long term. They’ll be able to use the information they’ve gathered to be better at their jobs, which will help your business to flourish. Even something as small as helping to pay for educational books can make a huge difference.
Everyone appreciates flexibility in the summer. Consider allowing employees to choose their working hours during the months of June, July, and August, so long as they’re getting their work done or working a set number of hours each week/month. With kids out of school and the weather being perfect for the beach, employees would love the chance to take an afternoon off and make work up in the evening. Summer scheduling can go a long way to helping employees feel flexible and free, while keeping them loyal to your business.
Obviously, for some positions or industries, this isn’t feasible—you may need customer service representatives to be on the phone for a certain number of daytime hours, for example, or colleagues that need to collaborate. But summer scheduling is something to consider if you’re able to do so.
Paid Volunteer Days
If your company is looking for ways to give back to the local community, paid volunteer days can be a great way to do so. Give employees a certain number of days throughout the year where they can get paid to go and volunteer for their favorite causes. By doing so, you’re demonstrating your care for the community and helping your employees become better citizens.
Furthermore, it’s been shown that volunteering helps advance your career and keep you physically healthy. Paid volunteer days are a win-win-win. You could also create opportunities for “group volunteer projects”, where entire teams can go volunteer at an event together.
There are a few standard holidays that companies tend to give off. But by making holidays flexible, you can give employees more freedom over their schedules. A Jewish employee may not see the benefit of taking Christmas off, and one employee might value the Fourth of July while another prioritizes Thanksgiving. By giving a set number of holidays instead of an arbitrary list, employees will be able to take off when they want to and work when they need to.
Studies have shown time and time again that better physical health leads to less stress, a more optimistic outlook on life, and higher productivity. By offering to reimburse the gym membership of your employees, you’re helping your workers become better at their jobs. You could even partner with a local gym to secure a group discount.