By | Charlie Fletcher
Listen in on the break room chatter and you’ll likely hear employees talking about benefits other companies provide to attract and retain top talent. They include perks such as on-site bike repairs, free soda, and an indoor basketball court. But do the best and brightest employees actually value those types of perks? Not exactly.
A Careerbuilder survey found that although the majority of job seekers say salary, job benefits, and commute time are the top three factors they look for in a company. When pressed about the types of benefits they’re looking for, quality of life ranked high. The respondents named half-day Fridays (42%), on-site fitness centers (23%), and award trips (21%).
Employees aren’t swayed by the all-you-can-drink soda fridge any longer. They’re looking for work-life balance to focus on the things they find important, such as experiences, more free time with friends and loved ones, and better health.
As you move forward past the challenging first half of 2020, it’s time to revisit your company’s benefits to cut back on items that don’t create value in your employees’ eyes and focus on providing employee benefits that matter most to your team. Delivering what they’re looking for can help you retain talent and keep them engaged and productive.
Consider the following benefits that resonate with your team’s core values and enhance their personal and work lives. They’re a great complement to the top traditional employee benefits, such as healthcare, performance bonuses, and retirement plans.
Prioritize Your Company’s Wellness Factor
Health and wellness are top of mind for existing and prospective hires. And they’re things a company should invest in — a healthier employee is absent less, resulting in higher productivity.
While employees prefer the convenience of an on-site fitness center, space may be an issue. There are ways to work around this. Your company could bring in fitness instructors to provide employee guided workouts in a company’s reception area or conference room before or after hours. Or you could partner with a nearby gym to provide employees free or heavily discounted memberships.
Another way you can improve your company’s health and wellness program is by bringing reflexology or acupressure therapists to provide employees treatments on a specific day of the week. These two types of therapies can be performed in just a few minutes while employees sit on a standard chair. Or if there’s an onsite cafeteria, revamp the menu to use more natural and organic ingredients.
PTO or paid time off is essential to retain employees these days. Employers aren’t federally required to provide PTO, but states may have their own regulations. For example, the State of California classifies vacation pay as wages. And in the State of Illinois, you must pay a departing employee “the monetary equivalent of earned vacations.”
Nevertheless, PTO may not be mandatory but it’s a valuable tool pre- and post-coronavirus. Award trips and travel are among the top perks new and existing hires are looking for. And if your company is fast-paced and high-pressure, providing employees with paid time off so they may recharge their batteries is beneficial for the company overall — they’ll come back from their PTO fresh and ready to conquer the world.
In order to make PTO work like it’s supposed to (for the benefit of your team members), consider setting certain guidelines to your new PTO or by making changes to your existing policy. They include:
- Establishing a “use it or lose it policy”: Setting an expiration date of 10 or 12 months on earned days off, for example, ensures your team is taking breaks, whether they like it or not. They may be reluctant to step away from work for a week or two, but they’ll thank you after they do.
- Create a general PTO: Instead of breaking down paid time off into vacation and sick leave days, create a general PTO pool and let your employees use discretion on how and why they will use their paid time off.
Expand on Your Company’s Remote Work Program
Many employees had no choice but to work from home during COVID-19. Although working from home may have initially had its challenges, it’s likely that many found their groove and appreciated the flexibility, as well as the time and money saved from not having to commute every day.
As mentioned, one of the biggest dealbreakers for top talent may be the length of commute time. Many employees would like to spend more time on pursuits that don’t involve being stuck in rush hour traffic or on a train for significant parts of their days. Your company could attract talent that may not necessarily consider your company before due to geographical distance if you provide them the opportunity to work remotely.
A remote work program is not that expensive to implement, either. Most employees already have a laptop and internet connection at home. All you may need is to invest in is an enterprise virtual private network (VPN) solution for more secure data transfers and anti-virus or malware software to secure remote computers. You could offer to pay to upgrade your team’s home internet service to a higher-speed tier as a bonus.
Another option is to offer laptops for your employees. There are many details and options among laptops, including premium price brackets that offer extra security precautions or small, easily portable machines that can be replaced regularly. Depending on the machine and internet speeds there could be a significant reduction in connection lag times so your staff can work efficiently and join in on video conference calls without technical issues.
Update Your Company Policies and Communicate It Effectively
Once you’ve chosen and finalized your company’s perks, use a benefits and perks template to clearly draft, print, and distribute the new plan among employees and new hires. Designate a few days for an open-door policy to address any questions your employees may have about the new workplace perks and to communicate the benefits more effectively. Ensure everyone understands what’s available and how they can take advantage of the investments the business has made as a show of employee appreciation.