As an employer, it’s up to you to attract and retain top talent for your company. If you don’t maintain a competitive edge, you may be overlooked by desirable candidates, leaving you with a shrinking hiring pool and a pile of mediocre applications to sort through.
Many well-known companies like Netflix, Google, and Facebook have built strong reputations as top employers by offering a wide variety of perks and benefits that attract the best employees in the industry.
Although you may not be in a position to offer the same or as many options as these tech giants, you can still work to make your startup or small business more competitive by reviewing and enhancing the perks and benefits that you do offer to employees.
From individual, team-based, companywide, and in-office perks and benefits, here are some of the most popular and in-demand extras that will help you to get better job applications and retain more employees.
Individual Employee Perks and Benefits
Individual employee perks and benefits are targeted to specific employees, either to recognize them for a job well done or to acknowledge a birthday or work anniversary. Individual perks and benefits can be personalized and may vary between teams, departments, and specific employees. Some include:
1. Holiday and Birthday Gifts
Holiday and birthday gifts are a simple way to show appreciation and gratitude for your employees throughout the year. Plus, they can be tailored to individual interests and hobbies, which adds a personal touch and demonstrates that managers, supervisors, and team members care about and take an interest in those they work with.
2. Welcome Packages
Welcome packages help new hires to feel just that — welcome. Onboarding new employees well and starting off their employment with you on a high note is a great way to set the tone for the rest of their time at your company.
New hires who feel valued, supported, and appreciated from the get-go will help to build your reputation as a good company to work for and encourage others in their network to apply for future open positions.
3. Gifts for Departing Employees
Alternately, gifts, lunches, and recognition for employees who are leaving your company on good terms can be highly impactful when it comes to your reputation in the hiring pool.
Potential hires want to know that they’ll be treated well throughout their employment, not just at the beginning. Planning out thoughtful gifts or social events when an outgoing employee moves on shows that you value people and not just the roles they fill.
4. Work Anniversary Recognition
Many employers offer employee recognition gifts at the one-, three-, and five-year marks that come in the forms of company swag, retention bonuses, or additional vacation. What you give to employees to recognize their time with your company is up to you. The most important thing is that you recognize their contributions and dedication to your business.
As an added bonus, knowing that an attractive reward awaits any employee who stays with the company can do wonders for retention.
5. Performance Bonuses
Not only do competitive performance bonuses and commissions attract great candidates, but they also encourage existing employees to work harder to meet goals.
As long as you stay on top of what others in your area and industry are offering and work to meet or exceed current standards, bonuses can entice amazing employees who will encourage others to join your team as well.
6. Growth and Development Plans
Having individual growth and development plans for each of your employees allows them to grow within your company instead of looking for opportunities elsewhere.
Career development plans can mean everything from vertical to horizontal promotions as well as individualized training, mentorship, and cross-department collaboration. Letting potential and existing employees know that their career growth matters to you will significantly boost your desirability as an employer.
Team-Based Perks and Benefits
Although team-based perks and benefits are generally overseen by accounting and human resources, they’re specific to teams and departments and can be left up to managers, directors, and supervisors to approve and dole out.
Some tried-and-true team-based perks and benefits to attract new hires and retain existing employees include:
7. Milestone Celebrations
Finishing a major project, reaching a departmental goal, or signing a major client or customer are all worth celebrating. Rewarding teams and departments for hitting milestones incentivizes staff to work together to achieve a common objective and shows potential hires what kinds of benefits are in store if they do their jobs well.
8. Team Events
Team events like competitions, lunches, social events, and group activities build relationships and reduce burnout, supporting stronger, more productive teams.
Camaraderie and friendship are huge aspects of your company’s culture and appeal to new hires looking for a workplace that promotes socialization and strong working relationships.
Companywide Perks and Benefits
Companywide perks and benefits are made available to all employees regardless of their department or position, although you may choose only to make some of these available to new hires after a probationary period.
Some of the most in-demand and competitive companywide perks and benefits include:
9. Paid Sick Time
Paid sick time is a great way to entice competitive applicants to apply for a position with your company. Colds, flus, and other illnesses happen, especially when your employees are all working in an office together, where germs are easy to spread.
Taking the stress off your employees when they’re ill and giving them paid time to recover helps to reduce the transmission of illnesses and shows that you care about the people who work for you. Some employers offer a certain number of paid sick days per year while others choose not to set a limit.
10. Flexible Hours, Remote Work, or Reduced Workweeks
Redefining what a normal workweek is has become a huge trend as millennials enter and shape the workforce. Flexible hours, remote work, and reduced workweeks are some of the most sought-after benefits by job seekers, which gives any employer willing to challenge traditional office norms a major advantage.
Letting employees choose their hours, allowing them to work from home full-time or even just a few days per week, or standardizing a 32-hour workweek are some of the best ways to support a healthy work-life balance and attract the best and brightest to work for you.
11. Unlimited or Additional Vacation
If you can’t offer unlimited paid time off (PTO), then consider offering more than the standard number of vacation days to new hires. For example, if you typically offer new employees two weeks’ vacation each year, up it to three.
PTO mitigates burnout and allows employees to take time when they need it instead of coming into the office while dealing with personal stresses or work-related fatigue.
12. Health Coverage
Health insurance and health care coverage are extremely important to most prospective employees and current workers and make up an essential part of the overall benefits package that your company offers.
From covering prescriptions and routine procedures to fertility treatments and life insurance policies, any and all health coverage options are considerable assets to have when it comes to positioning your business as a competitive employer.
13. Parental Leave
Parental leave, like maternity and paternity leave, helps new parents to adjust to having a newborn baby. Welcoming a new child into your home comes with a lot of different emotions as well as lack of sleep and a disrupted routine.
Offering your workers time to get to know their family’s newest addition and to become accustomed to their new family dynamic without having to worry about what’s happening at the office or whether they can afford to take time off is a huge weight off of their shoulders.
Consider your current parental leave policy and whether it could be improved to attract potential employees who may want to start a family in the future. If they know you’ll be supportive, they’ll be more likely to accept a position with your company instead of a competing business.
14. Professional Development
Professional development budgets can cover seminars, training, and even tuition reimbursement for college programs. How much you offer to each employee can depend on their role and time with your company, but helping your workers to improve professionally means that you build a workforce of highly-skilled and educated employees who are up-to-date on industry standards and best practices.
Of course, you can limit professional development budgets to only cover approved courses and events that are related to an employee’s role within your company.
15. Extended Bereavement Leave
The death of a loved one is an extremely difficult life event that, unfortunately, most of your employees will experience in their lives. Providing enough time for them to grieve, make any necessary arrangements, and heal is essential in maintaining their mental and emotional well-being.
Some employers also offer bereavement leave for employees whose pets have passed away to give them time for grieving and making arrangements.
Upping your bereavement leave by even just a few extra days can make a loss more manageable for employees who need to travel or who need to support loved ones who live alone. You may even wish to allow employees to work reduced or part-time hours until they are ready to come back on a regular basis.
16. Student Loan Assistance
Student loan debt weighs heavily on many professionals. Developing programs to help employees pay off their student loans is a significant factor in attracting and retaining highly educated talent.
Your program could take the form of salary top-ups to cover monthly minimum payments, repayment matching, or annual budgets employees can access to pay down their education-based debt.
17. Mental Health Support and Time Off
Mental health and wellness play a big role in your staff’s productivity, engagement, and overall job satisfaction. Providing benefits that cover counseling services and PTO for mental health and well-being encourages employees to get the help that they need when they need it, without having to worry about the cost or missing work.
If you decide to add mental health support and time off to your benefits package, make sure to involve your human resources staff to ensure that you do it by the book so you don’t infringe on employee privacy.
18. Health and Wellness Budgets
Supporting your workers’ overall health and wellness can also include providing spending budgets for such expenses as gym memberships, fitness classes and equipment, online workout subscriptions, nutritional planning, or massages.
The physical health of your employees is just as important as their mental and emotional health, and offering to cover the cost of certain fitness or wellness expenses will give your team an opportunity to improve their health without having to worry about whether they can afford it.
Some employers stick to the basics, like gym memberships, while others cover everything from hiking gear and training shoes to technical apparel and treadmills.
19. Commuting Allowance
Parking fees, subway tickets, and bus passes all chip away at your employees’ salaries and can total a significant amount of money each year. Helping out by providing free parking or a monthly commuting allowance will make a big difference in the lives of your staff members and position your business as a competitive place to work.
In major tech hubs, some companies even provide shuttles for employees, which pick them up and drop them off at home each day. However, if you don’t happen to be a major tech company with a massive budget, helping out with a monthly commuting allowance is a good place to start.
20. Employee Discounts
Discounts for your own products or services as well as those of partner companies are small perks that can help employees to save money. From partnering with clients to using a discount platform like Perkopolis, there are a variety of ways you can offer your employees products, services, and subscriptions at a lower cost.
21. Social Events
Social events at work can come in a variety of forms. They help with team building, office friendships, and to break from the usual everyday tasks and duties. Workplace social events can include:
- Holiday office parties and celebrations
- Contests and competitions
- Office sports teams
- Lunches or barbecues
- Board game nights
- Fitness challenges
It can help to have a dedicated social committee to plan and organize social events so that they can conduct surveys to gauge staff interest, set and adhere to budgets, and come up with ideas that will suit all different kinds of staff, from introverts and extroverts to families, foodies, and video game enthusiasts.
22. Top-Notch Office Supplies
High-quality office supplies — like desks, computers, monitors, keyboards, and whatever else your staff need to do their jobs — boost employee morale while improving your office space.
Everyone wants to be comfortable while at work, which can mean standing desks, anti-fatigue mats, ergonomic chairs, or high-performance equipment, depending on the employee and their role.
Letting potential employees know that their comfort matters while on the job may seem like a small perk to offer, but it can make a big difference in the everyday lives of your employees, so make sure to mention it to star applicants during the interview process or in your job ad.
Office Perks and Benefits
Office perks and benefits are specifically related to your office space and can be used and accessed by everyone at your company. They vary based on the office space that you occupy but are sometimes even offered in coworking spaces. Attractive office perks and benefits include:
23. Office Snacks and Coffee
Free on-site snacks and beverages are a relatively simple and hassle-free perk to offer. If you choose to provide food and drink options to employees, make sure to accommodate a variety of diets and allergy requirements so that everyone can take part. You can offer:
- Healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables
- Water, coffee, and tea
- Chips, chocolate bars, or other sweet treats
- Sandwiches and wraps
- Baked goods like muffins or bagels
24. Game Rooms
Game rooms can have equipment like ping pong tables, video game consoles and TVs, and board games. You can also choose to include these items in your office break room instead of dedicating a separate space to them. Games are a fun way to break up a typical workday, let out frustrations, and bond with work friends.
24. On-Site Fitness Centers or Classes
Some employers have on-site gyms and fitness centers, while others pay for yoga instructors to come in on a regular basis. Because many employees use time outside of their work hours for exercise and physical health, making fitness options available during the day can free up their schedules.
Plus, group classes can double as social events, helping with team building and boosting mental health and wellness on the job.
25. Pet-Friendly Office Spaces
Pet-friendly office spaces are popular and it’s not hard to see why. Spending time with dogs, cats, and even office hedgehogs can be therapeutic and help to lower stress.
Of course, you’ll need to develop office rules and policies when it comes to your employees’ furry friends, but other than the potential for some extra cleaning costs, allowing in-office pets is a simple way to boost morale and overall happiness at your workplace.
26. On-Site Day Care
Finding child care can be a struggle for many parents, which is why some employers offer on-site day cares. If this is outside of your reach, you can offer a monthly child care stipend instead. Both options are great for enticing professionals who have a family already or who want to have one in the future.
The perks and benefits that you offer to employees are essential when it comes to building and maintaining your company culture and reputation as an employer. From health and wellness programs to basic health benefits and office snacks, there are a variety of options for you to choose from to build out a comprehensive benefits package that matches your budget and goals.
Remember that any benefits and perks you offer not only benefit your existing employees but influence the types of applicants that apply for open roles within your company. If you want to hire and retain top talent, providing competitive benefits and perks is a great place to start.