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Are Epic Employee Benefits Worth the Investment?

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Many famously successful startups are just as well known for generous employee benefits as they are for their innovative tech products. Creating a unique employee culture is essential but companies may not need to spend a lot on over-the-top benefits to do this. Here are a few ideas for perks that can help foster a sense of team building and employee satisfaction.

Employee Wellness and Fun

Many companies provide in-house fitness centers or offer gym discounts at local establishments. Others like Zynga take leisure activities a step further with built-in basketball courts and video game lounges available for use when break time rolls around. These fun and physical activities can help employees balance out the hours spent working at a desk and offer a chance to interact with coworkers on a more casual basis.

Free Food

Free food is one perk that's always appreciated by employees. Whether it's just bagels or donuts on Friday mornings, or free lunch, snacks and dinners like those provided to employees of Pinterest, food and drinks are always a perk employees talk about. To add a unique twist, try to think of something related to an individual startup or a food with local flavor to help celebrate company culture.

Letting Employees Work Around Their Lives

Some startups such as Lendio offer unlimited PTO to help encourage a proper work / life balance. Allowing employees to set their own work hours, vacation schedules, or to work from home as needed demonstrates an employer's trust in the workforce. The results are usually happier workers and better employee output.

Personal Support Activities

Helping employees take care of their life outside of work is another great option for startups looking for unique employee perks. On-site daycare is one much appreciated benefit for working parents. Tech companies like Weebly give employees a monthly allowance which can be used for items such as housekeeping and assistance running errands. Commuter benefits are another way to provide assistance and differentiate a company's perks.

Don't Forget the Basics

Even with the heavy competition among startups striving to attract and retain talent, basic benefits packages are still important and successful for a reason; they give employees things they truly need. Yes, employees still get excited about a 401(k) plan. In fact, a recent Transamerica Retirement Survey revealed that 60% of millennial workers are already saving for retirement and 76% believe that retirement benefits will be a major factor in the decision to accept future job offers. A solid medical, dental and vision care plan also count as a check in the plus column for prospective employees. Even if younger members of the work force don't use all of the benefits available, they still want the comfort of health insurance coverage.

If a startup has trouble deciding which perks will attract the best employees, it's important to consider what adds the most value and best reflects the company's culture. Surveying existing employees about their current benefit likes and dislikes can help. Also, setting up some degree of self-service where employees can choose to spend benefits dollars on the items that mean the most to them can stretch a limited benefits budget a bit further. And don't forget the employee benefits that are relatively low cost but still make a company unique. A foosball table in the lounge or an upgraded lunchroom with new appliances can go a long way toward making everyone happy and comfortable at work.


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