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Salaries and traditional benefits, while vital parts of employee satisfaction and retention, are now expectations—they’re the baseline you have to meet. Employee perks are now the best method for keeping employees engaged, satisfied, and loyal to your organization.
When we say employee perks, we’re not only talking about ping pong tables or fruit snacks in the break room (although those aren’t bad). We’re talking about near-limitless perks that will satisfy all your employees, regardless of their needs, interests, or life situations.
Understanding Employee Perks
Employee perks are extra benefits that the company provides to recognize, reward, and engage their employees. If health insurance and salary is the cake, perks are the icing and the sprinkles on top. Common perks are things like:
- Games and snacks in the break room
- Fitness equipment or gym reimbursements
- Bonuses and gift cards
These classic perks can still be great for employees, but just like the classic movies from the 60s, we’ve come a long way since then.
Employee Perk Trends for 2023
Employee needs and preferences have changed a lot recently, especially since the pandemic. They expect more from their companies, especially in the perks that are offered. Here are some trends to be aware of:
- Mental health. 80% of employees feel stressed on the job, so you can use perks to show your employees that you care about their mental health and wellness.
- Recognition and appreciation. Employees are 3X more loyal to an organization that has a culture of recognition and appreciation. They want to feel valued by their company.
- Personalization. Employees want perks that are meaningful for them specifically. They’re not satisfied with generalized, traditional perks that don’t actually give them benefits—they expect companies to provide far-reaching benefits, customized to their people.
These reasons are why you hear us say “ping pong tables aren’t enough.” While games and snacks are a decent place to start, you need perks that support employee health, recognize their hard work, and fit their personal needs.
Benefits of Employee Perks
Here are the benefits you can enjoy when you offer the right fringe benefits and perks for your employees:
- More effective recruitment. Nearly 60% of job seekers consider perks as a big factor when looking for a new job.
- Minimized employee turnover. Perks that show you care about employee well-being and happiness will create greater feelings of dedication and loyalty, which lower turnover.
- Healthier workforce. Physical, mental, and financial perks that support the all-around wellness of your employees will help them stay focused, productive, and healthy.
- Improved culture and morale. When your fringe benefits create a culture of making employees feel valued, they are happier and more satisfied. Everybody wins.
Cost of Employee Perks
There’s no denying that offering new and improved perks and fringe benefits can be costly. First off is cash—implementing new resources, support, food, or recognition software is going to cost money, and there’s no getting around that. Secondly, HR admins and managers may be required to spend more time and effort handling new perks, which can cost valuable resources.
However, the ROI mentioned above (better recruitment, retention, health, and culture) can easily offset the extra dollars you spend—and many digital tools make new perks a breeze to implement and use, too! As long as the perks are wanted, helpful, and inclusive, they will more than make up for their costs.
Often, a simple reallocation of your existing budget is a great strategy, as well. For example, if you’re spending an arm and a leg on gym benefits, but your research shows only a handful of people use them, consider restructuring that budget for a more effective perk.
The Role of Perks in Company Culture
Culture is a popular buzzword nowadays, but there’s a reason for that: companies with good cultures enjoy 72% higher employee engagement. On the flip side, 71% of employees would look for a new job if they weren’t happy with the company culture. To top it all off, 56% of employees say that a good culture is more important than salary!
Your company culture is the foundation of your employee experience. Culture leads to retention, happiness, morale, and productivity. And the perks you offer can contribute heavily to your culture. Offering perks that show support and value will reinforce those values in your culture.
11 Examples for Modern Employee Perks
You have the background, and you know the ROI—the only thing left is the inspiration! Here are some examples of the most efficacious perks you can implement in your company.
1. Work Incentives
Incentives can be a great way to reinforce behaviors and values. For example, incentivize employees to be collaborative, healthy, or punctual. Small cash incentives can show that you notice employees’ efforts and value their hard work.
2. Lifestyle Spending Accounts
Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSAs) are one of the best benefits you can offer. In a nutshell, they’re employee accounts that you contribute to regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) Employees can then use the funds for qualified expenses, such as wellness, groceries, or classes. You decide what expenses qualify, so you can encourage health, wellness, travel, or whatever you want!
3. Employee Discounts
Offer discounts on things that are important to employees, whether that’s a product your company sells or through reimbursements for things like healthy groceries or child care. Helping your employees save money on things they value is a hugely impactful perk.
4. Retirement Plans
Perks should show that you care about employees’ immediate happiness but also their long-term well-being. Offering a competitive retirement benefit is something 80% of employees want. Set your retirement perk apart by offering a good match or financial planning guidance.
5. Employee Rewards and Recognition
Employee effort should never go unrecognized. If it does, your people will be quick to find work elsewhere. Use a mixture of digital and physical recognition, such as notes, public shoutouts, and digital messages to recognize as many employees as possible. Tie rewards in with the recognition and let employees choose what they want.
6. Employee Growth Plans
Employees want to know how to move up, gain responsibility, and make more money at your company. A growth plan will help motivate your people by clarifying expectations and giving them something to work toward. Include career development training in the plan to help your people develop new skills and abilities.
7. Mental Health Support
Let your employees know that you care about their well-being with mental health support. Stress and burnout are higher than ever, and you should offer resources, therapy, and coaching to help your employees maintain a good work-life balance.
8. Wellness Programs
Get employees excited about their health with wellness programs that encourage healthy behaviors, such as eating enough vegetables, getting enough steps in, or participating in lunch-time yoga sessions.
9. Flexible Schedules
Remote and hybrid work aren’t new, but you can take flexibility one step further with perks like a four-day work week, an extra day off each month, or having employees choose their own hours. Give employees the freedom to work when, how, and where works best for them.
10. Pet Insurance
Employees who own pets cherish their furry friends—help them keep their pets healthy with pet insurance plans. This perk gives them peace of mind and shows that the company cares about what the employees care about.
11. Bucket List Experiences
Everyone has a personalized bucket list of things they want to do or see, and you can help them experience those things as a perk! Reward employees for their work or loyalty with experiences that fit their interests.
Perks Provide the Payoff You Need
Employee perks are the best way to tip the scales in your company’s favor when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best talent. That’s because when employees feel that the company cares about them, their health, and their interests, they are more satisfied, motivated, and happy. Create culture and drive behavior with customized perks and see the benefits for yourself.