You’re a boss who isn’t satisfied with stagnation, so you want to think up some creative employee benefits for your workforce. Today’s labor environment is more competitive than ever, particularly with online possibilities, so you really need to work in your favor and energize your staff. If you want the best , you should think beyond basic benefits and try for something that inspires the interest of your personnel.
In this article, we will go over many different benefits that employers offer and how you can make each a little more creative and intriguing.
Employees who are skilled and knowledgeable are exponentially more valuable to you and your company. The more they study and practice the required skills for their job, the better they can be expected to perform. Many companies offer training programs as a benefit for their employees, but these programs are often focused on a very specific skill.
You can get creative. Instead of just offering a small training course or a workshop that will keep your employees’ knowledge up to date, why not encourage ongoing education and self-improvement? Providing access to or will encourage your employees to pursue learning, creativity, and curiosity as a matter of course. These will be employees who will seek out knowledge on their own and become more self-sufficient than you ever expected. Imagine a company where workplace policies, atmosphere, and environment are geared toward creative thinking. Productivity and creativity often go hand-in-hand.
Moreover, investing in the long-term advancement and wellbeing of your employees creates a positive workplace dynamic in which individuals feel professionally and personally valued.
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If your employees have families, including children, benefits packages will often include family dental plans or health plans that assist with the expenses of raising children. This is what everybody else is doing, though, so you should aim higher and boost your family benefits.
As we mentioned, online and work-from-home opportunities are becoming more common and more desirable. One of the reasons for this is because virtual offices reduce the need for childcare and provide immense flexibility and personal freedom for employees. Have you considered the value of on-site childcare? If you have the space, on-site childcare allows employees to never worry about overpriced daycare, nor do they have to add a drop-off or pickup to their day. On top of this, on-site childcare allows your employee to pop down on a break and play with their child. Just float this idea in a room with a parent of young children and see what happens.
But what about families with older kids? Paying for education is often a major concern, so you could offer education consultations for the children of employees as well. For teens planning to go to college or university, you could offer a benefits package that helps those up-and-comers get their head start, such as , , or .
If you need any incentive to add these perks to your benefits package, remember that your company will benefit, too. You get a more knowledgeable staff, a better pick of candidates – since you will receive more interested applicants with family benefits like these – and you will build multi-generational goodwill. Your employees’ families will appreciate your more inclusive policies and the generous benefits package, which may have a long-term impact. Maybe these will be future employees. Or maybe they’ll just tell everybody they know about this generosity, which will increase business.
Whether you offer these educational benefits solely for the edification of your employees, or because it will likely mean future rewards you can reap, you will always create the same win-win scenario.
Comprehensive health care plans are required in some countries and are simply a courtesy in others, but with many, many employers offering health plans, dental plans, and other benefits, you will have a hard time keeping up without one.
Basic coverage will include a small amount of medical and dental coverage, and maybe some optometry. You don’t need to get too creative here to boost your benefits: just offer more than your competition, and you’ll shine a little brighter in would-be employees’ eyes.
However, what you are looking for is something a little more inspired. You should offer to tailor the health care to the employee. Not everybody needs glasses, so extensive optometry isn’t going to appeal to them – even if they may need those glasses someday. Offer the simple ability to opt in and out of certain benefits. This flexibility allows your employees to customize a benefits package that suits them and their families. Maybe a single employee doesn’t need childcare benefits at all but does need a therapist. Why not offer to cover the needed benefit and not the other, keeping expenses down for both of you and avoiding the unnecessary.
Additionally, you should think broadly about health care:
Remember that these will not only help employees who get hurt, but also provide peace of mind and confidence for the whole team. See if you can think up the most creative, flexible health care benefits perks you have ever heard of, and then assess feasibility. Cover everything you can for a boost in gratitude, confidence, and effectiveness of your staff. After all, a happy, healthy, secure staff who have their physical and mental needs met will be far better than the alternative. Imagine if you couldn’t afford medications and had chronic back pain. Would you be able to work better with the medications? Absolutely! If for no other reason, you should consider the boost you’ll get to productivity.
A lot of companies know that their employees need to travel, require specific specs on electronic equipment, or must access a certain level of reliable communication. To that end, companies will provide equipment owned by the company, such as company laptops, vehicles, and cell phones, for employees to utilize. It might seem difficult to imagine a creative approach here, as what your employees require to do their work may be strictly prescribed by the type of task or business needs.
With that said, a certain amount of flexibility is key. Employees might have insights into the equipment they need more than you do. Do you give them a cell phone or allow them to select one? Now, obviously, we aren’t suggesting that you become the piggy bank for employee shopping sprees, but allowing their input will get them the exact right equipment, which might mitigate the need to replace the equipment as frequently.
You also could simply allocate a budget for such equipment and offer to “subsidize” your employees’ own equipment purchases. In other words, when they buy a new laptop, offer to cover some of the cost if they make sure it includes certain features and can double as a work machine. An employee is more likely to jump at the chance to use an equipment budget than just get to drive the company car and return it every day.
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Not everybody likes to work 9 to 5. Likewise, not everybody likes to work Monday to Friday, or 40 hours a week, or take breaks in order. The name of the game here is flexibility. Maybe your employee has certain times of year when they are very busy and others when they are not. Maybe they need afternoons to pick up groceries or kids from school. The reality is that everybody has their own wavelength, their own life, and their own preferred working style, and while many people will fit into the Monday to Friday, 9–5 daily grind, others won’t, and they might feel that grind more harshly as a result.
How flexible can you afford to be? For some workforces, it may be impractical. Everybody needs to be on site to do construction work, for instance. However, you might consider finding out what times your employees like to start work. Maybe you have whole teams who want to start a little later, and maybe that’s feasible. Why not? Is conforming to a set standard of hours ideal, if your teams are more effective and efficient when they make their own schedules? If your workplace will be happier, less stressed, and more productive as a result of staff setting their own hours, why not let them? For in-person environments, extend flexibility to breaks as much as possible while respecting occupational health and safety regulations.
You might be thinking that this will reduce productivity, but you’re conflating two issues: hours worked does not equate with productivity. Productivity is represented by tasks completed on time and up to your standards. If that takes 45 hours or 25 hours, does it matter? As long as the job is done, done right, and done by the deadline, more flexibility can benefit your employees and support an efficient business.
Although money isn’t a “benefit,” but the baseline for compensation, you might re-think how you pay employees. As in the last point about flexible hours, we often conflate and confuse hours worked with work accomplished. However, if you paid employees on a task-by-task basis, or simply as a salary with weekly expectations, this would allow you more flexibility with hours as well; when neither the company nor the employee is worried about hours, the work takes priority. This incentivizes great work over staying at the office for 40 hours a week.
Be very clear about promotion and advancement structures, so that your employees know how to climb the company ladder fairly. Allow them the opportunity to grow and build themselves up, and the hopeful promise of advancement in exchange for work. Employees like to know their career is going somewhere meaningful and relevant to them and their futures, so providing clarity here will go a long way. In fact, clarity in general is extremely valuable to employees.
You also need to ensure that employees are being challenged at work. They don’t want to feel like they are punching a clock and just hammering out meaningless tasks they don’t need to think about. None of that is fun; it’s just drudgework, and it turns your company into a place people don’t want to be. If they feel challenged, needed, and appreciated – accomplished with challenge and advancement – employees will be happier and more productive.
How we can help with all of this is through , which is our ability to help your employees gain access to programs – particularly educational programs – and the training they need to advance themselves. Our programs suit any individual, and we can work with your company to let you provide educational benefits at affordable rates. Through our , we will work with your employees to support their advancement.
You’ll wind up with a dedicated, satisfied, highly trained, and motivated workforce that can self-direct their work and improve themselves whenever possible. The benefits are for you as much as for your employees. The company is the total of people working for it and the work that they do. If you want the best for your company, that is intrinsically the best for your workforce, and they will work that much harder for your business if they are appreciated and properly compensated.
Stay competitive with the tips we have given you, but don’t let it rest there. Challenge yourself to think up some more wonderful benefits that nobody else has. If you can offer a package of perquisites and benefits that surpasses those of competitors, you won’t need to fight as hard for the best talent, and that will benefit everybody. The best possible workers will beat a path to your door, which will translate to a more solid and dependable workforce. Plus, these added benefits will make work and life easier for those employees, making them more productive.
1. I can’t afford all these benefits.
Offer what you can and leave off what you can’t.
2. Which benefits are most important?
Health care is almost universally offered among serious employers, so leaving out health care will be a big deficit. If employees need particular equipment for their jobs, you will have to provide that as a benefit. But those two perks are practically forced. The best elective is training. Offering training packages to employees and their families strengthens and sharpens your workforce.
3. What if an employee demands a perk?
If the demand is rude, well rudeness is never acceptable, and you should deal with that diplomatically but decisively. However, if the demand is just the employee letting you know their “deal-breakers,” you should carefully weigh whether you can afford the perk vs whether you can afford to lose the employee. Even if only minor advancement is possible in a company, establishing a rewards system based on time and experience can still motivate employees.
4. Nobody uses a particular benefit. Should I still offer it?
If nobody is interested in the benefit, you could strike it. You might want to still offer it to new or prospective employees, however, since you never know who will want it.
5. Is it better to have a few impressive benefits or a lot of little ones?
Only you can truly answer that for your business, as you know your employees best. If you think they will prefer or need a wide array of perks, do that. If you know they only want certain perks, do that instead. If you feel like you don’t know your workforce very well, find ways to survey their needs and interests.
6. What if an employee abuses a benefit?
Close the loophole, retract the benefit, speak with the employee privately or – failing that – let the employee go. But be careful not to punish the whole office for one person’s actions.
7. What benefits do employees expect?
It varies, but a popular “theme” right now is flexibility: online work, for example.
8. How do I know which benefits to offer at the start?
Check what your competition is offering and beat them at their game.