There are businesses across the globe that offer unique and exciting benefits to their employees. Google, for example, provides free meals to their employees (and cooking classes!). The search engine giant also has a free onsite gym, massage therapist, and even “decompression capsules.”
While all of those perks sound nice – and free food is always a plus – they’re not necessarily what skilled employees are really looking for when they choose to work for a company. Google still gets it right (as usual) by offering an 80% work, 20% play policy for its employees to enjoy their hobbies. They also have a great maternity/paternity leave policy and even a “death benefit” that allows spouses of Google employees to continue to receive 50% of their salary in cheque form for 10 years after that spouse’s death.
Companies like Amazon, Yahoo!, Timberland, and AOL have also jumped on board to provide their employees with benefits that motivate the best workers to apply and keep talented employees on hand.
So, which benefits should your company be offering to attract and retain top talent?
Why Are the Right Benefits Important?
First, it’s important to understand why employees are so focused on benefits, to begin with. If you’re offering a competitive salary, that should be enough, right? Wrong. Think about what you want for your business and set goals for yourself. Most companies want to continuously grow and expand in order to see success. By using SMART goals, you can effectively know what that looks like and decide how you’re going to get there. SMART goals are specific and can be measured. When it comes to recruiting new employees and retaining the best ones, your goals could include offering benefits that attract top talent, so your business stays relevant and ahead of competitors.
Offering the right benefits to your employees is a great way to recruit new hires and encourage them to experience the best work environment possible. If you’re part of a competitive industry, a benefits package can make all the difference when it comes to where the most skilled employees want to work. At the end, when you have the best people on board, your company benefits and you can see an increase in profit.
What Do Employees Really Want?
Striking the right balance of benefits is important. Yes, financial compensation is a great start and offering a competitive salary and employee stock options can be attractive to prospective hires. But, it’s not usually enough to keep them on board when other companies are competing with you to offer more.
It’s also about more than free snacks.
What employees really desire is a chance to balance their work lives and personal lives. Companies can take a lesson from Google here with their 80/20 model. Giving employees more time to do the things they enjoy can reduce stress, make them happier, and more productive at work. Installing fancy coffee machines and giving free meals tends to make people think you want your employees in the office at all times, without giving them a break. Some companies have adopted a four-day workweek, which has been shown to cut costs, create happier employees, and boost recruitment and retention.
You should also give your employees more of a chance to be themselves at work. That might mean adopting a more casual dress code or allowing employees to bring their pets to work on certain days. When they feel more comfortable and less pressured, they’ll also feel less stressed.
People also don’t want to remain stagnant. Providing opportunities for growth within your business is a great way to attract new talent and keep your current employees interested and working hard to achieve their goals.
One example of this type of benefit is work-based learning. Work-based learning has become increasingly popular across Europe, and it’s effective in helping employees to hone in on their skills while learning new ones that can help them to advance in your company.
The Right Environment is Just as Important
For many people, the right company environment can be the biggest draw or turn-off when deciding whether to take a job or stay in a position. What does that mean?
Take a look at your overall company culture. What are the core values of your business? Do you give to charitable organizations or have any environmental or social initiatives you participate in? Because people spend so much time at work, they want to be a part of an environment that means something and an atmosphere that shows care and understanding for its employees.
Gender equality is extremely important in the workplace and something people look at when deciding whether they feel comfortable with a business or not. Giving men and women equal pay, providing childcare (or covering the cost), and training managers to treat everyone equally will foster an environment of equality that will attract the best men and women to your business.
An environment that welcomes employees of different sexual orientations, races, and ages is also often a big draw when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. London-based Ernst & Young offers equal benefits for same-sex partners as it does for opposite-sex couples, which is a huge draw for a wider pool of talent.
An encouraging and supportive environment will also help existing employees to stick around. It shows that you truly value what they have to offer, even if they’re interns you can see working at your company in the future. Offering things like professional orientation in the workplace can show new employees and interns that you’re willing to walk with them and help them learn and grow.
By offering employee benefits that show your workers you care about them, they’re more likely to give your business the same care in return. It can feel a little scary to offer so much, especially when it comes to extra time off work or encouraging your employees to leave early and go have fun.
But, keeping your employees’ content will allow them to be productive in a shorter amount of time. It’s about putting people first, and your business second. If you’re able to loosen the reigns enough to do that, you’ll not only be able to hire the best talent, but your employees will put in the work to make your company successful because they’re appreciative of all you do.