When deciding which perks and benefits to give your employees, there are many factors to consider. While the base salary remains an important consideration, you can also offer attractive benefits to improve your employees' job satisfaction. This affects your employee retention rate and fosters a healthy corporate culture for you and your staff. In this article, we define what perks and benefits are and discuss the most common perks and benefits you can offer your employees.
What are workers perks and benefits?
Perks and benefits are non-salary compensation given to workers. Some people use the terms "perks" and "benefits" interchangeably. However, there are some fundamental differences between them. Benefits are non-wage and considered need-to-haves, while perks are non-wage nice-to-haves. Some benefits are legally mandated and include health insurance and voluntary benefits such as paid vacations. Perks are additional ways employers support the needs of their employees beyond the salary and benefits. A perk could come in the form of extended paid parental leave, employee discounts, or free gym memberships.
To find and retain talented team members, employers are devising ways of attracting the best candidates to their organization. There's more emphasis on healthy corporate cultures and employee perks and benefits to improve job satisfaction. Employees weigh several factors before applying for a job or accepting a job offer. A good mix of a generous salary, perks, and a benefits package is crucial in attracting and retaining top talent. Some employees also prefer additional benefits and perks to a pay rise. Perks are not a legal requirement and may also not be a part of the employees contract.
Most common perks and benefits
The type of perks and benefits available to employees varies between organizations. Large corporations can typically provide more benefits that may be unaffordable to a medium or small sized business. Regardless, some perks may not require significant financial investment. Here are some of the most common workers perks and benefits to consider before accepting a job offer:
1. Health insurance
Health insurance is the most common type of employee benefit. Most companies, large or small, provide their employees with health insurance to cover doctors' visits, medical tests, medications, and emergency rooms. The type of health insurance varies between organizations. While some policies cover certain ailments, others may be more comprehensive, covering pre-existing conditions and employees' immediate family members.
2. Dental and vision insurance
On top of health insurance, some employers provide cover for dental and eye care for employees. Dental insurance may be part of the health insurance or may be a separate cover. Many employees consider it as a critical benefit that covers dental work such as teeth filling, cleaning, surgeries, and tooth replacement. Vision insurance covers employees' eye problems such as the eye exams, corrective lenses, and eye surgeries.
3. Life insurance
Some employers insure their employees in the event of their death while working for the company. The employer may choose to cover the entire life insurance policy payments, or the employee may need to contribute some of their paycheque to the premiums. Employees take comfort in knowing their immediate family remains financially stable in their absence.
4. Retirement planning
Some companies attract and retain their staff by providing retirement planning. This involves contributing to the employees' pension fund by matching the employees' own contribution. Companies may enrol their employees in different retirement programs depending on their affordability, company policy, and existing regulations.
5. Flexible working hours and remote work options
Some employers are exploring offering their employees the choice to work flexibly. This includes plans such as having employees work four days a week instead of the standard five days a week. This arrangement is an attractive prospect for employees as it saves money and time that could have gone into car fuels and public commute.
Besides flexible working hours, some employers are allowing their employees to work from home. This is workable for jobs that do not require an employee's physical presence and which rely on computer technology and internet connectivity.
Read more: What Is Remote Work?
6. Professional development
Professional development is an important consideration for workers who want to improve their career growth prospects. Some employers offer their employees opportunities to undertake further education, such as granting them time off work to attend classes. Other employers pay for course or certification exam fees for their employees to motivate them and help them develop their careers.
7. Paid vacations
Some companies offer paid vacations to their employees to allow them to recharge and stay motivated. Employees are entitled to pay even when they are out of office. Some companies also pay their employees a vacation allowance to allow them to pay for their travel and accommodation while on vacation. Some companies manage vacation properties or time-shares and offer discounts or free stays to their employees.
8. Wellness programs
The well-being of employees is an important aspect for the employer and the individual worker. Some companies are capitalizing on worker's desire for a healthier lifestyle by introducing workplace wellness programs. This may entail activities like biometric screenings, nutrition, physical fitness, and mental health.
9. Paid sick days
Paid sick days involve staying away from work as you recover from an ailment. Most companies allow their employees to take some days to recuperate without deducting their salaries for those days. This is also beneficial to the company as it reduces the likelihood that illness can spread to other team members.
10. Learning stipends
Tuition costs form a substantial part of the cost of attaining higher education. To motivate their employees, some companies pay learning stipends to workers who pursue advanced studies. Employees can study and work, saving both real and opportunity costs.
Read more: What Are Stipends and How Do They Work?
11. Performance bonuses
Monetary rewards may have their limit, but they still matter to employees. A performance bonus is a monetary reward given to employees or teams who meet or exceed performance expectations. The bonus is a reward for the winner and a gauntlet to others to encourage them to work harder.
12. Discount on company products and services
Depending on the industry, giving workers a discounted access to the company products and services is a great way of motivating them. For instance, a smartphone manufacturer may give its staff the product before release to the market. Similarly, bank employees may receive loans at discounted interest rates.
13. Commuter assistance
The cost and time spent by workers on commuting is substantial. Some companies provide employees with commuter assistance to reduce this burden on their employees. This may involve providing shuttle buses, public transport passes, or additional reimbursement to contribute to the cost of commuting.
14. Childcare assistance
Parents who are both working may need help in taking care of their children. Daycare costs are immense, and parents may find it difficult raising their children on their salaries. Employers who provide childcare assistance are more likely to attract and retain employees.
15. Employee ownership plans
Employee ownership plans involve giving employees a slice of the company's' ownership. Employees are more likely to work harder and stay longer in the company since they are also drawing returns on capital besides earning a salary. Ownership plans also create an emotional connection between employees and their work, creating a more engaged team.
16. Rewards and recognition perks
Companies that recognize the contribution of their employees foster a relationship of mutual appreciation between the employee and the company. The employee is likely to stay longer while the company benefits from the workers' contribution. Recognizing and rewarding employees may cost little to nothing and can entail sharing the employees' name via company emails or sending a handwritten note from the supervisor.
17. Paid parental leave
Paid parental is a benefit given to employees who become parents to allow them time to take care of their newborn children. Some companies are going beyond the government mandated parental leave benefits by allowing extended parental leave. Other companies offer parental rooms or daycare services to enable their employees to continue working and caring for their children at the same time.
18. Scholarships for children
Granting scholarships to employee children is a novel way of motivating your employees. Workers whose children benefit from scholarships are likely to stay with the company for longer. This is important for highly skilled staff performing critical tasks and whose demand is high in the job market. Employees feel appreciated when they believe their company cares for them and their family.
19. Financial planning assistance
Employees may need help with their finances, such as paying student loans, financing their mortgages, and saving for future needs. Some employers offer this kind of assistance to allow their employees to enjoy peace of mind. Employees with sound financial grounding are more likely to feel satisfied, translating to higher productivity.
20. Team bonding events
Some companies organize events where their employees can mingle and have fun away from the daily grind of work. Besides events, some employers provide spaces for employees to take a break and engage in games or a cup of coffee with colleagues. Such activities increase the focus of workers and keep them motivated.