Gone are the days when gym memberships and discounted health insurance would suffice as the core elements of employee benefits programs. Today's employees have more power than they used to, which has given them a louder collective voice – and they're using it to speak up about they want from employers. In turn, employers are recognizing the competitive edge they gain by offering employees what they want.
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Today's employee packages now consist of much more than straight financial compensation, partially because the tailoring of benefits has been linked with greater job satisfaction and increased employee engagement. This is important because, according to Harvard Business Review, "highly engaged organizations have double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations."
Exactly what kind of perks should you consider for your organization? Here are six unique benefits to think about:
1. Going Green
In the global quest to develop more sustainable ways of living, more and more companies are committing to greener policies with the view that going green starts in one's own backyard.
For example, architecture and engineering firm David Evans and Associates offers staff members a cash incentive of up to $6 per day if they ditch their cars and commute to work by walking, biking, carpooling, or riding the bus. These incentives also have associated payroll tax benefits for employers.
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2. Outplacement Services
Complimentary outplacement services are highly regarded by employees these days. As an employer, you probably hope that your good staff will stick around forever, but unfortunately, this isn't likely. Average staff tenure is currently sitting at four years in the U.S. Employees want the security of knowing they'll be supported through any unfortunate circumstances that may arise, like structural change or voluntary or involuntary departure.
3. Complimentary Weekly Lunch
Buying lunch every day is expensive, and packing lunch at home also comes at a cost. Offering staff a free weekly lunch is a great way to recognize and reward them for their work while generating more money in their pockets, where they need (or want) it most. The social benefits that come with lunch delivery are also vast, as staff tend to congregate and consume this meal in a social environment, where they naturally strengthen their connections in ways that benefit not only themselves, but also the employer.
4. Parental Leave
The U.S. has some of the weakest paid family leave benefits in the world. As Fast Company suggests, "You can immediately differentiate your company by making sure all employees are eligible for paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child."
5. Tech Neutrality
Offering staff the choice of a PC or Mac comes at no additional cost to your business, but it can make a world of difference to the individuals working for you. Similarly, consider offering the choice of an iPhone, Samsung, or other device for those eligible for company cellphones. Making it easier for people to complete their work means greater collective productivity for your organization.
6. Switching Seats
Traditionally, staff in most organizations are mandated to sit in the same place at the same desk each day. Although humans are creatures of habit, this requirement can become dreary after a while, particularly for employees who do the same job day in and day out and rarely leave the office during work hours.
One way for employers to mix it up and improve this dynamic is to offer selective seating, where employees choose where they sit each day. This creates a flexible environment in which employees are given choices. Today's employees appreciate having such choices and prefer to work for employers who offer such flexibility.
The landscape of company perks and benefits is continuously evolving. By recognizing the competitive edge that comes with offering tailored benefits, your company becomes more attractive to a wider variety of candidate and may even become alluring to some who may not have previously considered working for you. Ultimately, this creates happier staff who are willing to stay longer, and the company becomes a magnet for a greater range of talent than ever before.
Joe Flanagan is the senior resume consultant at Velvet Jobs, a resume builder, job search, and outplacement firm.