The best companies in the world recognise that employees are the foundation of an organisation’s success. Ivan Widjaya, founder of award-winning blog Noobpreeur and Startup. Press, phrased it eloquently in his tips for small businesses article. He said that a business is only as strong as the people running it – which includes everyone down to the person who mops the floors and locks up at night.
This is the reason for rigorous recruitment practises, ensuring that only the best candidates are employed. Beyond the hiring process, companies then go the extra mile to offer job perks to keep their staff happy and satisfied. It has been proven time and again that happy employees perform better in their work and are more productive. These added perks serve as an excellent way to make employees feel valued and motivated.
Companies also use perks to attract top talent as these can also be the crucial point when employees are trying to decide which companies to join. Career site Glassdoor reported that 57% of employees say perks and benefits are among the top things they consider when deciding to accept the job and that almost 80% of employees say they would prefer new benefits over a pay raise. But are companies providing the incentives that their employees really want? Here are the top 5 most popular job perks that will surely keep employees happy.
1. Health and Wellness Programs
Corporate wellness not only helps the employees but entire organisations as well. In fact, it has been shown that these programs can deliver a 271% return on investment. Other benefits include helping decrease employees’ stress levels, helping them stay calm under pressure and also reducing absenteeism.
However, not all wellness programs get employees excited. Avoid programs that feel more like an obligation rather than a perk. Not everyone wants to run a 10K on a Saturday off or attend a compulsory 6 AM yoga class. One-off programs are also often seen as a hassle that only adds stress to the employees’ workload.
Instead, select initiatives that can help employees in the long-term. When encouraging nutritious food choices, for example, a smart idea is to install a healthy snack vending machine that can promote a healthy snacking habit. In terms of exercise and relaxation, free massages, spa vouchers, and non-compulsory gym memberships are also popular options that can endorse healthy lifestyles without forcing it on their throats.
2. Flexible time
Being given the option to customise working hours is an employee job perk that creates a great work-life balance for employees. This is because the strict 9 to 5 workday can present different types of personal conflicts. Allowing employees to work flexible hours means they no longer need to miss their child’s school play or take a sick leave to meet their dentist appointment. When employees are able to get their personal tasks done while still working full time, their productivity also increases. This is because they can focus more on their work, rather than worrying about how to meet their personal time demands.
Employees also have different working styles and habits. Most people, for instance, are not early risers and are more productive when working later in the day. Flexible time erases this issue as companies can get the best out of their employees at their most productive time, rather than paying them for idle hours in the office.
3. Work from Home
Working from home or remote working is another job perk that employees want. While flexible time allows them to tailor their working hours, remote work gives them the free rein to work outside of the office and complete their tasks in a place comfortable to them.
Technology has made remote work become more efficient. Through video conferencing, employees can attend meetings without being physically present in the office while laptop cloud storage means shared files can be easily accessed with a click of a button. While traditional managers may still be doubtful of the benefits of remote work, it has been shown that employees can be more productive when they are working in a place they are comfortable in.
With remote work, employees do not need to worry about dressing up, spending on meals out, gas, parking and dealing with rush hour traffic. This work structure also benefits those who live far away from the office as they do not need to suffer through a long commute especially during bad weather. This can help lessen employee tardiness and sudden absences as the employees can get straight to work wherever they are.
4. Additional Vacations Leave
Companies do not necessarily need to enforce an unlimited vacation policy like LinkedIn or NetFlix to offer this perk. Just giving employees more than the typical paid vacation period will be much appreciated. With travel becoming more affordable and accessible, allowing employees to take more frequent breaks to recharge will go a long way to make them feel that they are valued.
Some companies even go the extra mile by not only paying for the time off but also paying for the vacation expenses. Airbnb, rated as the best place to work in 2016, provides its employees with an annual allowance of $2,000 to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world. Other companies who also pay for employees’ vacations include Evernote, Afar Media, and BaseCamp.
Don’t worry about the time they are away from the job. Employees who come back from vacations are often refreshed, reenergised and excited to work. This attitude can result in new creative ideas and more efficient outputs.
5. Employee Discounts
Discounts on clothes, shoes, accessories, food, and groceries can go a long way to stretch employees’ monthly budgets. This job perk is popular especially for retail staff who like to enjoy an upgraded lifestyle at a lower price point. For the company, this is a way to increase sales as well. If offered a significant discount, employees will most likely patronise the company’s products rather than choose the competition. This can even convert employees into brand ambassadors. When they regularly buy the products, they become dedicated customers as well.
When implementing discount policies, make sure that employees are offered a more attractive deal than the regular consumer. This gives them a feeling of being special, making them more frequent customers.
The Win-Win Scenario
Perks should not be seen as an unnecessary expense that only benefits the employees, rather, companies should recognise that keeping employees happy and making them feel valued is a win-win situation that greatly impacts productivity. These perks contribute to a positive company culture that will make employees feel satisfied and more likely to stay.