Offering Non-traditional employee benefits is a great way to not only attract, but retain top talent. Compensation will probably always be one of , but today, that goes beyond salaries. The way that we work and what employees value in a benefits package has been rapidly evolving over the past decade. Especially in the wake of the pandemic and the mass layoffs, furloughs, growing economic uncertainty, and general work/life disruptions that followed. The traditional health and dental packages are no longer be enough to entice potential applicants and keep employees satisfied. The question then becomes, what are the to offer? Well, keep reading because, in this blog, we will be sharing ten different non-traditional employee benefits that can make your organization stand out.
You are most likely familiar with the traditional employee benefits that are usually part of overall compensation packages. They usually include the benefits required by law and a few additional perks that have become common for employers to offer through the company or through . For example, if you are an employer in Canada, then you are required to give your employees time off, take money from their paycheck to contribute to their Canada Pension Plan (CPP), and you most likely offer additional medical and dental care coverage. These are the traditional benefits that employees have to expect from employers.
When we talk about "non-traditional employee benefits," we are referring to some of the unconventional perks that organizations can offer their employees in addition to the basic compensation packages, such as the BeMo employee benefits program that helps your colleagues to grow and flourish professionally. BeMo's allow you to offer your employees and their families access to admissions experts and career coaching. Have an employee who wants to go back to school to get their MBA? Does an employee's child have plans to attend medical school? We can help them get there and allow you to save money at the same time!
We will go through a few examples of more non-traditional employee benefits shortly, but before we do, let's talk about why you would want to include them in your compensation package.
Why offer non-traditional employee benefits?
- Attract top talent
- Increase current employee satisfaction
- Retain your most valuable employees
What’s in it for Employers?
Going beyond the basic health and dental benefits will make your employees feel that their needs are being met, which will then make them happier. It’s no secret that your happiest employees are usually also the most productive ones. Happy employees who feel supported and satisfied are more engaged and tend to be more loyal to the company. So, if you want to ensure that your employees are motivated and working to the best of their ability, then you need to make sure that they feel looked after. Offering a competitive salary is no longer enough to stand out because employees are looking for companies willing to support them and invest in them. This is especially important for saturated industries. Furthermore, the reality is that life is getting more expensive, and even the most attractive salaries aren't always enough to cover an employee's expenses. So offering non-monetary benefits that allow them to cut costs or take care of these expenses is not only a great way to attract potential employees, but is also one of the best .
For context, here is an example: Let's say that you are looking for , and three companies have offered you a position. All three companies have missions you believe in and appear to have a great workplace culture. The main difference between them is the compensation package that they are offering:
In this example, it is obvious that Company C offers the most competitive salary among these three companies, but its overall compensation package is also the least attractive. An employee with a family or who plans to stay with the company long-term may feel inclined to choose a different job that can better take care of them and their family, and that clearly wants to invest in their future. Company A and B both offer a few non-traditional employee benefits that could make them more attractive to employees. The candidate would then need to choose between those two companies based on their needs – Company A is offering more while Company B is more focused on employee’s health, wellness, and professional development.
Now that you have a better idea of what non-traditional employee benefits are and what they can mean to your employees – present and future – here are ten different non-traditional employee benefits that you should consider for your organization:
In the past, employees only expected the companies they worked with to help them with retirement in the form of 401(k)s or RRSPs, but now, as more and more employers have started offering financial incentives such as student loan debt repayment programs, this expectation has shifted.
Personal finances are a great concern and source of stress for many people, even employees who receive what many would consider "a good salary". As an employer, you can choose to offer help with finances in the form of student debt reimbursement, debt repayment assistance, or investments. Alternatively, you can also choose to provide access to information, which can be just as valuable. The reality is that not many people are as financially literate as they could be, and paying for financial planning services costs money that employees who are already stressed about finances obviously do not have. You, as an employer, can help with that by providing financial counseling or financial planning services. Thus, employees can learn about topics like debt management, identity theft protection, budget creation, home buying, etc.
These perks are especially impactful because they show employees that you care about their financial well-being, and it makes it possible for their salaries to go even further in their lives. For example, let's say that you run a clinic and you just hired a few physicians who were not too long ago. By giving these doctors access to financial planning services so that they can learn , you are making it possible for them to have access to more of their income in a shorter timeframe. This would definitely have a significant impact on these employees' lives.
While there were many companies that already offered remote or hybrid work, the pandemic has made the practice much more popular. For many employees, that resulted in many unplanned expenses. One of the benefits that employers can offer is to help alleviate some of these expenses by paying for or at least covering part of the cost of getting a comfortable and ergonomic Work From Home (WFH) set-up.
This would be especially great for employees who have recently transitioned to a more hybrid schedule or who are new to the WFH life. These employees want allowances to set up their workspace properly so that instead of working from the kitchen island or dining table, they can get a desk and ergonomic chair. Offering stipends can help people set up workspaces that will make them more productive at home.
It is also worth noting that employees who have always worked from home can also profit from this type of non-traditional benefit because it shows that the employer cares about their comfort and health. You do not need to break the bank as an employer to do this. Something like partnering with another local company to get a discount on ergonomic standing desks, for example, may cost the company very little, but it would be very impactful for employees.
Regardless of the stage of their career, employees need ( and most want) the opportunity to develop their skill set. As the world continues to change and evolve, upskilling and reskilling have become necessary. Employees are looking for organizations willing to invest in them by offering them the opportunity to learn more and grow.
Most companies offer some form of employee development, usually in the form of coaching or web seminars, but this is not enough to keep employees engaged and give them new, valuable skill sets. A good employee development program requires much more than an annual meeting during which managers discuss employee shortcomings and highlight improvements. Instead, you should consider implementing training or certification courses to allow professional growth within the company. Mentoring programs where tenured employees assist in the personal development of their newly hired colleagues through coaching, shadowing, and advising can also be great.
One of that you can implement is access to the services of admissions professionals. These experts can advise your employees on the best academic steps to take for the career path that they want and help them as they take those steps. You can even go further and offer a continuing education program or fund ( we will discuss this option in more detail shortly).
In this ever-evolving labor market, more and more employees are concerned about their work-life balance. Or, to put it differently, employees are craving more time away from work. It is important to make sure that your company policies and culture not only give employees adequate time off from work, but that employees feel comfortable and encouraged to take that time away from work. Well-rested employees with a decent work-life balance tend to be more engaged at work and are less likely to burn out, so it is in your best interest as an employer.
Furthermore, time off work doesn't necessarily mean taking a proper vacation. Even though increased vacation time and even unlimited vacation policies can be great, you should also consider other things that could work for your company. For example, 4-day work weeks and company-wide three-day weekends are gaining in popularity. So are mandated week-long shutdowns, holiday closings, and time off to volunteer or engage with the community.
Speaking of work-life balance, one of the non-traditional benefits we are seeing lately is the cultural experience fund or Experience spending account. Essentially, this is a specific amount of money that organizations make available for employees every year to spend on experiences that would be considered culturally enriching - this includes things like concerts, ballet recitals, art galleries, theatre, and so on.
On the surface, this may seem like employers paying for their employees to have a good time. To an extent, this is definitely the case, but it also has great benefits. Not only does it encourage employees to have a good work-life balance, but it also shows them that you care about their mental wellness. Even providing a small amount of money to use toward an experience that is completely unrelated to work would show your employees that you view them as more than just another clog in the machine and would make them feel taken care of.
As mentioned earlier, employees are looking for companies willing to invest in their professional development, which can include returning or going to school to further their education. For some employees, this can mean enrolling in a certification course, and for others, it can be enrolling at a university for a specific program or degree. As an employer, one of the non-traditional employee benefits that you can offer is support in this endeavor. This support can be financial or non-monetary.
In terms of financial support, you can consider providing your employees with an education stipend that they can use over a specific amount of time. This is not only great because, once again, it shows your employees that you believe in their potential and want to invest in their future. But, it is also a great way to retain top talent that is actually improving on its skills and abilities. For example, imagine that you hired someone for a remote with great leadership skills, and they start showing interest in a management position down the line. If that employee wants to get into an MBA program to develop their skills further, covering at least part of the cost of this employee's tuition is a great way to encourage them and build loyalty.
If you'd prefer to offer non-monetary support, you certainly can. You can opt for a more flexible work schedule that allows them to attend classes, give them a chance to work on the type of projects that could help them with their degree or provide them access to services that will make it more likely for them to follow the educational path that they chose.
For instance, let's assume that the individual we used in the example earlier did not have a great GPA in college, then giving them access to for free or at a discounted rate would be of great use to them. Or, even if they did have a great GPA and overall profile, the reality is that and Canada are quite challenging so working with an admissions professional can make a huge difference.
Both the family planning landscape and labor market have changed drastically in the past decade. Currently, we have an increasingly diverse workforce that is led by millennials, and one of the concerns they often express is related to family planning. Women, in particular, often have to decide between starting a family and figuring out how to re-enter the workforce or having children later in life when they have a more stable career to support them. Having a more family-friendly workplace and support in areas like adoption and fertility treatments can go a long way toward making them feel supported by their employer.
That said, family planning as a benefit goes beyond just supporting women; it should extend to every person looking to expand their family. It is important to incorporate LGBTQ+ friendly family planning benefits and policies to ensure that your offerings are equitable across all employees. Here are a few inclusive family planning benefits that you should consider:
For employees with children, daycare is often an important factor in any decisions they make about their careers. First, they need to consider the cost. According to , parents in Ontario - the country's most populous province- currently pay just over $8000 a year for childcare. In the US, this amount can get even higher depending on the state that you are in. Additionally, employees have to consider daycare availability. Parents who don't have additional help often have to call in sick when the daycare center is closed, and many of them come in late or leave work early because they have to make their daily commute work around the daycare schedule.
Offering onsite daycare, childcare allowances, office learning pods during school closures, or backup childcare options is one of the that you can offer. Not only does it show your employees that you care enough to make it easier for them to manage their family responsibilities, but it also allows them to save money and get that much more out of the monetary compensation they are receiving.
Academic consulting is one of the best non-traditional employee benefits that you can offer because it is relatively unique, while being very impactful. Academic consultants are admissions professionals who guide students and applicants through the admissions process for different forms of tertiary education - there is , , MBA consulting, and many more variations of this service. This makes it a particularly great benefit because it can be used by so many different people, from employees looking to continue their education to their children who are just preparing for college applications or trying to decide if
This benefit is a great tool for employee professional and personal development and a great family-friendly practice as well. Employees with children who are about to finish high school or in college are often worried because of the complicated admissions processes that they will have to face and the cost of tuition. Academic consultants can help those employees and their children navigate this process and even find funding opportunities to help alleviate the cost.
The terms 'self-care' and 'wellness' have almost become buzzwords, but there is a reason for their rise in popularity: people want to be healthier - physically and mentally. As an employer, you can support that goal by offering different wellness programs and perks. For some employees, access to resources and information is the only thing standing between them and a healthier lifestyle, while others may need a bit more of a push. Either way, here are a few wellness perks that you can offer as part of your non-traditional employee benefits:
In this ever-evolving and competitive labor market, if employers want to find success, they need to adapt and adopt new strategies. This means out-of-the-box recruiting strategies, employee retention programs, and non-traditional employee benefits packages. These unconventional perks can really help your company stand out to potential employees while also increasing job satisfaction for your current employees, which typically results in higher productivity. So to conclude, we'd say that they are well worth the cost of implementation. Keep in mind that whatever you choose to include, these employee perks should align with your company culture and organizational goals. So consider the list above, along with your company goals, employees' needs, and current job market, to ensure that you are implementing the best non-traditional benefits for your organization.
1. What are non-traditional benefits?
Essentially, this term refers to the unconventional monetary or non-monetary compensation that organizations can offer employees. Benefits such as continued education funds, discounted rates for childcare, etc.
2. Why should I consider offering more non-traditional employee benefits?
These extra perks are a great way to attract and keep top talent, thus saving the company thousands of dollars. It is also a great motivator for employees, which means a more engaged and productive workforce.
3. What exactly is academic consulting?
Academic consultants are admissions professionals who provide expert advice and guidance on all things education. This includes but is not limited to educational planning and help with applications.
4. Why is academic consulting a great employee benefit?
The services of an academic consultant can be useful to employees looking to further their education and their families. This makes it a family-friendly benefit and a great tool for professional development.
5. What is a cultural experience fund?
This is a specific amount of money that employees can use on various culturally enriching activities. This money can be given to employees in advance, or they can have a process for requesting reimbursement for those activities - the same way they do with healthcare benefits.
6. What are family-friendly benefits?
Family-friendly benefits are perks, policies, programs, or options that employers offer their employees in order to help them balance work and family responsibilities. For example, Parental leave, childcare & education benefits, elder care, etc.
7. What non-traditional benefits can be used for professional development?
Academic consulting and professional enrichment funds are just two of the many benefits that can play a role in an employee's professional development.
8. Are non-traditional benefits good for employee retention?
In short, yes! Satisfied employees tend to be loyal employees, and unique employee benefits play a significant role in keeping employees happy.