With the exception of the economic turmoil over the last couple of years, benefits usually are a standard or expected part of a total compensation package. Certainly, not all small employers could afford to do so, but if an organization is looking to attract and retain top talent, insurance benefits in the form of healthcare, dental and vision are usually the norm.
This being said, what is it that sets a company apart from the rest? When it comes to differentiating your company, nothing stands out more then offering your employees and potential employees creative, exciting perks. I’m not referring to the typical health benefits mentioned above, or even paid holidays, vacation, sick time and a competitive salary. We all know those are important and should be taken account into any compensation package.
What I am referring to are office perks. Regardless of the industry, from office to warehouse, perks show your employees that you care about their comfort, convenience and enjoyment during the 40-plus hours a week they are under your roof.
As an employer who offers office perks, the best part is that there is no cookie cutter set of benefits you have to offer. Your mind and the sky is the limit! You can and should tailor your perks to really match the needs and wants of your employees. Remember that the basic needs of employees are already being met with their salary, health benefits and possible retirement options your company might have.
Office perks are about the wants of your employees. Every employee has wants. Some voice them more than others, but everyone would like to see something additional in the workplace. As a human resources practitioner, it would be good to walk around, talk to your people and get a feel for what the general wants are in the workplace. Armed with this knowledge, you can then see what sort of perks can fit within your budget that will have the greatest positive impact on morale in the workplace.
There are many types of perks out there. Some of the more common and ‘cookie cutter’ office perks may include always having a fresh pot of coffee (and not the cheap stuff!), weekly bagel days, ice cream socials, monthly pizza days and of course the habitual casual Friday.
One of the best and most openly received perk is food. After all, “there is no sincerer love than the love for food.” The act of providing one free lunch, or one free breakfast a week to employees will impact the employee by not having to worry about bringing in a meal from home that day or from spending $10 eating out. This benefit usually is greatly appreciated!
Another option would be to subsidize costs for frequent purchases or recurring responsibilities. Some of the lesser expensive subsidies may include offering a vending machine with drinks at a reduced price. A soda that usually costs $1.50 at a convenience store can be bought at the workplace vending machine for 50 cents. Again, this one dollar in savings will go a long way in an employee’s pocket book! And usually by buying in bulk, this doesn’t come as an outrageously high expense to the employer. For those who do have a bigger budget, a subsidized option you can consider is childcare assistance – either having one on-site or assisting employees with costs.
Remember, perks come in many shapes, forms and sizes, and can range from monetary perks to corporate discounts to work-life balance options. It’s important to get a good feel for what would best benefit your employee group while aligning with your corporate strategy and budget. Most people consider their job their “home away from home.” As a human resources leader, you will have to consistently look for ways to make this home a place where your employees want to be, rather then a place they have to be.