Until very recently, employee benefits didn't vary dramatically from employer to employer - the major variables were the price of the insurance and the network plan. Perspective employees looked most closely at the salary as a differentiating factor between companies. Nowadays, the employees surveys can attest - it's the benefits that employees are after. According to one study, 4 in 5 employees prefer benefits or perks more so than a salary increase. With so many different types of benefits (and of course different employee "groups") what sorts of perks should a company offer?
We wanted to know for ourselves and ran a contest to find out. Specifically, we wanted to know what employee perks were most desired by working parents vs. millennials and those who want better life-work balance and other perks employees desired. Turns out, some benefits are easy-enough and inexpensive to incorporate, and can go a long way to keeping your employees happy and loyal. Here are some of the entries we received:
Birthday Time Off
"It would be great for an employee to have their spouse and children's birthdays as a paid day off. Employees may have a limited number of vacation days and knowing that they could have their child's birthday off would be nice." K.V.
Help Us Ease Back To Work
"As a working mom I would love a policy that eases new mothers back to work. Having a baby and being home with the baby 24/7 and then going into an office is really jarring. Being able to ease back into a work schedule with short days, short weeks, or flex time could help make the transition easier." C.M.
"New parents should be given an option for a staggered transition back to work. For example, if an employer allows 16 weeks paid leave the new parents should have an option of coming back to work after the 16 weeks either “part time” with part pay or taking extended unpaid leave. Both with job security. It will attract new employees and increase loyalty." T.R.
Summer camp at work for kids when there is no school - but something meaningful that will teach the kids valuable things related to work (for example for a hi tech company to have a summer camp connected to computers - teaching the basics). This way the kids will also better understand what their parents do :) Doesn't have to be for free and the employee can pay part of the costs. Yael G.
Help Pay Our Phone Bill
"I wish my workplace would pay my cell phone bill! I am constantly checking work emails, and my phone is the easiest way to do that." RT
"I am in so much debt from college, even 5 years after graduating. Would be great if my employer helped pay off some of that debt" BR
"I'm considering grad school, but don't want to quit my job. If my employee offered tuition support, I would definitely consider staying longer at this job, and attend grad school in the evenings." YM
"I'd love to be able to work from home sometimes. I feel like I get a lot more done without meetings and other interruptions. Plus I'd save so much time not commuting that day" MB
Expanded Health Benefits
"We spend so much time sitting at computers that it would be great to have our gym time (or physical therapy) covered financially and it would incentivize people to exercise. KK
Mental Health Days
I wish for mental health days, with a cultural expectation that they actually be used. While it's great to have vacation time, vacation days must be planned out far in advance. The ability to also take downtime right when it's needed (without having to fib about being physically sick) would go a long way toward safeguarding employees' mental health. JH
Support Our Interests
A grant to support personal interests/projects. It would help facilitate work-life balance and self-care as well as make me feel valued. KG
I want a travel stipend because I believe travel enriches the mind and the soul. PC
Better Work Schedule
"6 hour workday, with choice to work 8-2:30 or 10-4:30. Nobody is productive for 8 hours, and this schedule allows time to run errands, get more sleep, and see the sun in wintertime" KM
I wish my office would adopt a more casual dress code (jeans ok, sneakers/sweats not allowed). I feel more like myself when I’m dressed in jeans and as a result, feel more confident. For me, being comfortable in my own skin translates to more motivation and productivity. KF
Free haircuts in the office every other week! Would make getting a haircut much easier, as office hours are long, and would be free! FC
I'd love a clothing gift card, once a month. You're expected to look nice, but sometimes other expenses can get in the way. CG
I wish for more team-bonding opportunities. I think they are fun and bring the entire company together. I look forward to continuous outings that form lasting relationships past the office life. KR
Thanks you everyone who shared their ideas! We're looking forward to running more contests on the topic and incorporating some of these into our own benefits package.
If you need a hand at reconciling your new and or existing benefits at the end of the month, check out our Benefits Reconciliation solution or schedule a DEMO at the top of the page.