It goes without saying: offering strong employee benefits is crucial to keeping your employees happy. Studies show that when employees are satisfied with their benefits, they’re more likely to stay with their employer. And of course, benefits are also a compelling recruiting tool.
But in today’s competitive labor market, quality health insurance, a competitive 401(k), and a host of voluntary benefits are the status quo. If you really want to excite your employees—and dazzle prime candidates—you need to consider something extra.
But don’t worry: not every employer is in a position to extend fertility benefits and extensive paid parental leave right now—and that’s totally okay. Instead, consider these nine innovative benefits that make a lasting impression and won’t blow your budget out of the water.
1. Extended Paid Holiday Breaks
It’s a given that employees cherish paid time off. While unlimited PTO may be out of reach, what about gifting employees a few extra paid days off per year? For example, consider closing the office for, say, the week between Christmas and New Year’s. For many businesses, it’s a notoriously unproductive time of year, anyway—and your employees will love you for it.
2. Happy Birthday PTO
One of the best ways to celebrate your employees is to turn each of their birthdays into their very own paid holiday. It’s another way to expand your PTO—in a limited, budget-friendly way—while showing employees you value them.
3. Financial Wellness Programs
Giving employees tools for improving financial acuity not only allows them to plan for their futures but may eliminate a common cause of stress that can become a workday distraction. A thoughtful program might include financial literacy classes and workshops, plus subsidized or discounted access to financial advisors.
4. Paid Volunteer Days
Employees love working for socially responsible employers. Providing your workers with one or more paid volunteer days per year is a great way to give back to the community while encouraging them to support their favorite causes. Want to create an even greater good will? Take it a step further—and make a modest donation to charities they choose to serve.
5. Pet Insurance
Nearly 70% of U.S. households have pets, but less than 15% of employers include pet insurance in their voluntary benefits packages. Access to pet insurance—which reimburses owners for potentially-expensive veterinary expenses—not only reinforces that you’re a family-friendly employer but helps protect your employees’ financial health, whether or not you choose to subsidize some of the premiums.
6. Pawternity Leave
Got a super pet-friendly workforce? Take your critter-related benefits to the next level by offering pawternity leave—i.e., a few days of paid time off for employees who adopt a new pet or have an ailing fur-baby. It spares employees from trying to work while distracted, and you just might become the talk of the dog park.
7. Kid-Friendly Holiday Parties
For some employees, attending the office holiday party is an obligation, not a pleasure. But when you invite the whole family and plan some fun surprises for the kiddos, you may find yourself hosting the best-attended, most-anticipated holiday parties in town.
8. Food Truck Fridays
Not every company can swing free employee lunches as some of the big tech giants do. But how about scheduling monthly visits from area food trucks? It’s a great way to support local small businesses, encourage peer interaction, and create a little interoffice buzz.
9. Personalized Reward Experiences
Employees love recognition programs, which are an effective way to honor special achievements and employment milestones. But if you really want to generate excitement, trade in those gift cards and prize catalogs for unique experiences: weekend getaways, spa days, or tickets to sold-out sporting events and concerts.
Providing your employees with personalized experiences demonstrates that you value them for who they are. And who won’t want to stick around to see what you come up with when it’s their turn to shine?
Adding some creativity and fun to an already-solid benefits package is a surefire way to differentiate from other employers, define your culture, and delight employees. Read How to Build a Benefits Package That Attracts Next-Gen Talent for more ideas on attracting and retaining workers.
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