While every employee is different, they all have one thing in common: They want great benefits. Ultimately, employees want to feel valued. When they do, they're happy. When they're happy, your business benefits.
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According to SHRM's 2015 Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, 63 percent of U.S. employees say benefits are very important to them. If a great benefits package helps increase job satisfaction and retention while reducing absences and encouraging healthier lifestyles for employees, then it's a valuable investment – no doubt about it.
To help you figure out what kind of benefits you can offer your employees to make them happier at work, let's take a look at some of the coolest benefits out there today and why people love them:
Coordinate team-building exercises that have an educational element to them. For example, Evernote hosts group classes through "Evernote Academy." Employees can take courses in various fields, from typical management and career curricula to fun, creative ones, like making Bloody Marys, baking macaroons, and even barista training.
It's always a good idea to help your employees strengthen their connections through team-building. It's also a great idea to give employees the chance to step outside of their comfort zones and explore new things. Combining those into one the way Evernote Academy does is a surefire win.
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Consider bringing in specialists or arranging classes off site. This is a great way to engage your staff and get their creative juices flowing.
Speaking of creativity, why not encourage your employees to follow their artistic pursuits with paid leave?
Epic offers a four-week sabbatical to tenured employees who want to pursue creative endeavors. So, for example, if a an employee wants to self-publish a book of nature photography, they can do that without feeling too much pressure about taking time off from work.
This type of benefit shows employees that you care about their work-life balance and support them in both their personal and professional lives. Helping employees attain work-life balance is one of the best ways for companies to show their employees they care, according to a 2015 survey conducted by Virgin Pulse.
When companies treat employees like people, employees feel valued and motivated to work hard and stay loyal.
New Parent Assistance
This is another great way to show your employees you respect them. If you offer new parents time off or cash bonuses, your workers will feel like they can start their families on their own terms – with your help.
Several major companies offer some version of assistance to new parents. Facebook, for instance, provides $4,000 in cash to employees with newborns. Spotify gives employees six months of paid parental leave, plus one month of flexible work options for parents returning to the office. The company even covers the cost of egg freezing and fertility assistance. Pinterest has a unique take on the parental leave policy, which consists of four paid months off, an additional month of part-time hours, and two counseling sessions.
These types of packages ease the financial burden on new parents while helping them smoothly transition back to work. You don't want your company to be an obstacle for your employees and their families. Help them during this exciting time – don't hinder them!
Serve Your Employees Like Customers
Rewarding employees with the service your company provides is a great way to educate them about how the service works for your clients and customers. For example, Airbnb, which earned the title of "Best Place to Work in 2016," gives its employees an annual stipend of $2,000 to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.
This encourages employees to adopt the company's core values and helps them develop a deeper understanding of the company's mission. When you do this, employees feel a greater sense of ownership and engagement at work.
Companies are getting more creative with employee perks and benefits than ever before. You'd do well to follow their example: Invest in keeping your employees happy and healthy, and you'll see major returns.
Josh Tolan Is the founder and CEO of Spark Hire.