Compensation and benefits are key tools in the ongoing challenge to recruit and retain quality employees, but in many cases company perks can play an equally important role. Employees often spend eight to ten hours every day in the workplace environment, and because of this many are wanting to spend those hours in an office culture that provides lifestyle or creature comforts.
But the rewards aren't solely employee-focused. Many experts contend that "perks and other unstructured activities do get creative juices flowing, which then translates into benefits to businesses" –including a greater sense of teamwork, personal fulfillment, and pride in being part of an "enlightened" company.
So what company perks should you consider offering to your workforce in 2017? Here's a look at some popular perks to consider offering to your employees:
Flexible Work Schedule
Increasingly, employees are looking to businesses to provide a flexible work schedule, enabling them to work on-site as needed, but also remotely whenever possible, with the understanding that they are always responsible for getting work done, regardless of where they're located. Technology exists to facilitate this type of work arrangement, so there's never a question of an employee being "out of reach" at any time during work hours.
Paid Time Off
In order to achieve a satisfying work/life balance, many employers are offering various paid time off options, such as time off on an employee's birthday or (especially if business is slow during this time) a day or two off around the holidays. This can be especially appealing to employees who find the holidays a stressful time of year.
Extended Maternity and Paternity Leave
Speaking of work/life balance, consider offering extended maternity and paternity leave to new parents, above what your local or state laws may require, as an additional employee perk. Take this approach a step further and consider implementing on-site childcare (as long as you have space and can get a licensed daycare agency to operate on your premises).
On-Site Education or Subsidized Off-Site Classes
Many businesses offer free, in-house workshops where employees can acquire added skills in work-related areas or in ways that benefit them personally (such as financial and investment planning). Another approach entails paying tuition for community college courses that are directly related to an employee's job responsibilities; if the result is better performance on the job, the investment could be well worth it.
Consider the "healthy employee" vein by installing a small gym on-site or offering discounted membership at a local gym appeals to many employees. The benefits, of course, aren't all one-sided. "Healthy employees cost you less, and they work harder," notes veteran entrepreneur Brock Blake. "Not only that, they're happier, and they're more likely to form bonds with co-workers. If you want your employees to stick around, here's a great way to do it."
You can't go wrong providing your team with free food and drinks during the work day. We're talking a smattering of nutritious snack options, not fancy catered meals (though that can work for special occasions).
Chances are, you already have a breakroom where employees gather to exchange personal news and check Facebook on their mobile devices. Why not get them up and moving with a few board games or table-top games like ping pong or foosball? Adding some playful breakroom decor encourages employees to be active during their breaks. "It's amazing to see how few employees actually take their daily breaks," notes Deborah Flomberg of Examiner.com, "so by providing them with a breakworthy [sic] space, you'll find you have happier, healthier, and more productive employees."
A relatively inexpensive perk involves giving employees gift cards to a favorite local restaurant or movie theater from time to time. Reach out to local businesses and negotiate special employee discounts for their products or services--another way to help your team save money while patronizing community businesses.
In 2017, providing the right array of company perks might prove to be the "tipping point" which helps you land the next talented crop of employees as well as retain current quality employees.