When thinking about job benefits, health insurance and paid time off are most likely the first two perks that come to mind. But companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix have raised the bar for employee benefits, and now businesses across industries are using similar techniques to attract the top talent.
Nontraditional benefits can be a major factor in the decision process for a prospective employee, and it’s important to consider how these unique offerings could positively impact the entire structure of an office. For companies looking to increase their employee retention and boost morale between coworkers, check out these six ideas for unusual, but effective, benefits.
While it’s critical for employees to maintain a high level of productivity throughout the week, being cooped up in the office for five days straight doesn’t guarantee maximum efficiency. Instating Work from Home Fridays will allow employees more flexibility and control over their day, and in turn increase productivity by doing away with traditional, rigid schedules.
Keep an open channel of communication during work hours or update a shared spreadsheet throughout the day to ensure employees are still putting in a full day’s work.
Plenty of companies offer the occasional catered meal, but try boosting office morale by providing employees with fun food-themed events throughout the month. Perhaps a waffle bar on Monday mornings to jumpstart the week or a potluck every Friday for employees to share home cooked recipes with each other.
Bringing the office together over unique and exciting food will blend the office environment with the comforts of home, and help employees maintain a positive attitude towards their time at work instead of viewing it as a chore. Not only is this unique benefit a token of appreciation to reward employees for their hard work, but it also increases office camaraderie by acting as an in-house social hour.
In addition to paid vacation time for each individual employee, take a company or department trip once a year to boost coworker relationships. Whether the destination is an hour away or on another continent, be sure that these trips are purely for fun and not for business.
Encouraging co-workers to get to know each other outside of the office is a great way to build a company where employees care for and rely on each other. Plus, it’s just an incredibly fun perk for everyone involved. If employees perform exceptionally well for the company, they should be rewarded with an experience that motivates them to continue striving for more.
Allocate a budget for employees to use on tickets to conferences, networking events, certification courses, and any other professional advancement opportunity. Companies that provide this perk signal to employees that they care about the personal growth of each individual they hire.
Not only is it a great way for employees to feel valued, but it’s also a good investment for the company to have employees who are constantly learning and expanding their skill set. The budget should also take into consideration the cost of travel, food, and hotel stay if the company is serious about giving their employees the best opportunities to develop their professional passions.
Many popular companies offer on-site childcare or subsidize childcare services, but employees with pets aren’t usually offered any benefits to help take care of their furry family members. Providing a pet-friendly work environment, or at least specific days where pets are allowed in the office, will make a huge difference to employees who take care of animals at home.
While it may seem like having pets in the office could be distracting, animals often have a soothing effect on employees and bring joy into a stressful environment. This perk also signals to employees that the company cares about maintaining a good work/life balance, and recognizes that sometimes personal responsibilities will bleed over into the professional space.
A little bit of healthy competition can go a long way to boost employee drive and productivity, especially when there are prizes involved. Try dividing departments into teams and have each employee set weekly or monthly goals that are more difficult to complete than a simple daily to-do list.
By setting goals that are challenging yet still achievable, employees will push themselves to go above and beyond their normal workload. But of course, there has to be a prize for the winning team. Use perks like a free lunch or cash prize split amongst the team members to incentivize the next round of competition. Be sure to make this a regular occurrence in the office instead of a sporadic event, this way employees will constantly be striving to produce their best quality work.
Ryne Higgins is the Senior Manager of E-Commerce at Peacock Alley. For 45 years Peacock Alley has created luxurious bedding and linens that bring both beauty and meaning into the home. All fabrics are sourced from the highest quality mills and then sewn in the Dallas, Texas, workshop by skilled local artisans.
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