As employers, we have to consistently think about the perks and benefits that will serve our employees. Our employees matter, and if we want to stand out in a crowded workforce, we have to offer the incentives that our employees will find most useful.
Today we are going to chat about five employee perks that will incentivize your workers, but creating an employee perk program takes effort on your part. What do your employees need in their lives right now? Get to know them, what they are stressed about, and how you can use your perks program to alleviate some of their pain points.
Student Loan Assistance
Right now, there is a tremendous amount of student loan debt. Getting at least a Bachelor’s degree has become the norm when it comes to 9-5 employees, and this debt is catching up to many Americans. In terms of numbers, student loan debt was estimated at $1.52 Trillion in the United States in 2018. That’s an enormous amount of money that is crushing the souls of millions of adults across the country. It’s hard to focus on the work you are doing when you have tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt hanging over your head while you work in a cubicle.
Creating a student loan assistance program as an employee perk will help your employees feel some relief. You don’t have to pay down every bit of their debt. Creating a program where you pay a certain amount for every year they work with your company could increase your employee tenure while providing an excellent service to your employees.
Four-Day Work Week
We are used to the same 40-hour work week that’s broken into chunks of eight hour days. While this worked in the past, it may be time to rethink how you structure your workday. We know that during a typical eight hour work day, many people are only productive for about three hours. That means most of those other hours are filled with office chatter, thinking about what to have for lunch, worrying about to-do list items for the rest of the week, et cetera.
So, an eight hour work day doesn’t work for most people, but we still make people sit in a cubicle and pretend to be productive for 40 hours a week. Many companies are seeing the light and shifting the way their employees work.
Some employers are instituting four-day work weeks where their employees have a permanent three-day weekend. Other companies are experimenting with ways for employees to optimize their time, so they don’t have to sit in a cubicle if work isn’t getting done. Your employees know when they work best so giving them more flexibility over their schedules is critical.
Creating an environment that welcomes parenthood is critical. Many employers don’t have paid parental leave at all, they only have the option for mothers, or they have the opportunity for particular types of parents even though parenthood looks different in the 21st century.
It’s essential for companies to take parental leave seriously. You should offer this courtesy for both mothers and fathers, adoptive parents, and you could even provide this for new guardians who became parents through means like a death in the family. The path to parenthood looks different in 2019, and our parental leave policy should reflect that.
We also need to make sure that our employees feel good taking their parental leave. Do we treat our employees fairly once they accept and return from parental leave? Perks are only excellent if we put resources behind them to make them successful.
Our employees want to feel safe that if they get hurt or sick, they will be able to seek treatment. Many employers offer health insurance, but the plans they pick aren’t very comprehensive or reasonably priced. What’s the point in having health insurance if your employees can’t afford it on the salary they have?
You also want to think about the cost of your plans when it comes to adding family members. If your family plans are relatively inexpensive for employees, that will make you stand out even more. It’s easy to have a cheap plan for your employee, but what if they want to add their spouse or child to their health insurance? Does your insurance plan allow them to cover their family without creating a substantial financial issue?
Last, but not least, one of the best perks you can add are vacation days. PTO can help your employees travel the world, have new experiences, and return with renewed vigor to accomplish your company’s mission. Your employees may also need a bit of a staycation to get their mind off of work at the end of a huge project. However your employees use their paid time off, having access to this benefit will help them.
Some companies offer unlimited PTO, but you don’t have to go that far (especially if you don’t have the resources for an unlimited PTO policy.) Offering at least a week of PTO is customary, but you may want to increase this as your employee’s tenure with your company increases.
Perks can give your employees more incentive to work with your company. Many employers don’t spend enough time analyzing which perks they should offer while making sure those perks are genuinely useful. Having perks, in theory, is not a great practice. Companies must devote time to making sure that they offer perks they can excel at.