You may not know it, but the greatest asset that your company has is its employees. So, for your business to become and stay successful, you’ll need to invest in your team. Great work perks are one of the keys to maintaining a happy and productive workforce.
Of course, there are several benefits required by law, such as paid holidays and maternity/paternity leave. These will vary depending on your country of residence. However, there are also job benefits that are not required by law that companies provide their employees on top of their regular salaries.
Below, we’re discussing the different types of employer-provided benefits and perks.
What Are Employment Benefits?
Employee benefits, also known as perquisites or perks, are a form of compensation provided to employees alongside regular salary or wages. Employee benefits come in many forms. They can include free meals, medical insurance, and even profit-sharing. Benefits like these can be quite valuable (medical insurance alone can cost several hundred dollars per month without employer benefits).
While benefits do hold monetary value, the employee’s salary remains the same, and the employee doesn’t have the option to cash or trade-in the benefits for a higher salary. It’s also worth mentioning that in most countries, most types of employee benefits are taxable to at least some degree.
Why Are Employee Benefits Important?
Employee benefits are important for a number of reasons, the top 5 of which are:
- A solid employee benefits package can help you to attract and retain top talent, both young and more experienced.
- Impressive job perks can help to differentiate your company from its competitors.
- Offering job benefits to your employees shows that you care for them and their overall happiness and well-being.
- Health and well-being related benefits can help you increase your employees’ engagement and productivity.
- Benefits lead to the improved health of your employees, resulting in a lower number of sick days that your employees take overall.
Popular Employee Perks
Employee benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Group medical insurance plans to assist employees with health care costs like coverage for visits to primary care physicians and specialists, hospitalization, and emergency care. This perk is particularly attractive if the public health system in your country does not function too well. It may also be made available for an employee’s spouse or partner.
- Dental care plan coverage that helps pay a portion of the cost for dental treatment and care (e.g. routine teeth cleaning every six months, fillings, emergency pain relief). Employees love this benefit, as dental services are universally expensive. It may also be made available for an employee’s spouse or partner.
- Disability and life insurance policies will give your employees peace of mind by ensuring that they and their families have financial support in the event of unforeseen circumstances (such as accidents, serious illness, or death). This benefit may also be made available for an employee’s spouse or partner.
- Retirement and pension plan contributions will help your employees to invest funds over time in order to save for retirement. This is particularly welcomed in countries where the state-provided pension is usually unsatisfactory.
- Profit-sharing is the designation of a percentage of annual profits set aside for a pool of money to share with all or select employees. It increases your employees’ interest in the efficiency of your company, resulting in more engagement from your employees and better effectiveness overall.
- Stock options are when you offer your employees a specific number of shares that they can purchase on a specified date. If they do decide to purchase them, their overall wealth grows alongside your company’s.
- A company-paid gym membership is a great way to help employees build strength, stay fit, and avoid chronic health conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many other life-threatening illnesses. It’s also a fantastic way to improve their mood and morale. This is another benefit that may also be made available for an employee’s spouse or partner.
- Fitness goal incentives, or in other words, extra money in their paycheck for cycling or jogging to work. This adds to the previous benefits of a company gym membership and is particularly handy if the number of parking spots at your office is limited.
- A fully equipped and stocked kitchen with a selection of tea, coffee, cereals, toasts, snacks, fruits, and whatever else your employees desire. It encourages regular coffee breaks and allows your employees to take their watercooler conversations to a whole new level.
- Free meals for your employees, either ordered from an external catering company or prepared in an in-house cafeteria. This is particularly attractive if your workplace is a fast-paced environment where people happen to work overtime — it takes away the burden of preparing lunches at home and prevents employees from taking prolonged lunch breaks outside.
- Provide on-site healthy snacks (fruits, nuts, etc.) at no cost to employees instead of high-sugar, low-nutrient vending machine snacks.
- Offer flexible work hours, including options to work remotely for part of the time. Bear in mind that not everyone is a 9-to-5 person, and some people focus and engage significantly more when they are allowed to work in their preferred surroundings.
- Employer-provided or employer-paid housing — offering a place to live that comes in the form of a benefit of the job at no cost (or minimal cost) to your employee. This is usually expected at jobs that require relocation and is normally seen for people in the military and people in the medical profession.
- Relocation assistance can take a form of both qualified relocation assistance, and reimbursement of costs related to finding, renting, and moving into an apartment in a new city or even a new country.
- On-site childcare for working parents will help them stay in the workforce and focus on their work better. This one is especially attractive where the state-provided childcare is insufficient or expensive, and when your employee’s job occasionally involves working overtime.
- Insist on pet-friendly offices so that your employees can enjoy the company of their cats or dogs while they work. This allows them to relax a bit more and makes it easier to do extra hours if needed. An additional benefit here is that other coworkers can enjoy the company of their pets as well — free of charge 😉
- Public transport reimbursement will help to minimize your employees spending on their commute to work — and depending on the ticket system, it will help with spending on private transportation as well. Additionally, it helps by saving a few more parking spaces at your office, and by decreasing the overall traffic and pollution in your city.
- A monthly student loan repayment will attract and retain recent graduates who are then more likely to become your loyal employee base.
- Sponsoring professional development — whether it’s online learning, workplace-hosted events, offsite seminars and workshops, membership in professional organizations, or employer support for schooling costs.
- A sabbatical program, which is a paid — or unpaid — break from work that can last anywhere from a month to a year. It can be taken to avoid job burnout or to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities.
- Free entertainment in the form of tickets to movies, theaters, and theme parks — or even gift vouchers for websites like Amazon and other similar sites.
- A professional library with a wide selection of books and magazines related to your employees’ different areas of expertise (such as sales, marketing, IT, or project management). This benefit is particularly attractive when such publications are expensive or difficult to come by in your country.
- Mobile phone usage if the job requires your employees to carry an employer-provided mobile phone. They can even drop their phone line and have the expense picked up by you. This may seem trivial, but every little bit helps!
- Discounts on company products and services. This one is great if you manufacture or sell goods such as clothing or food, as it allows your employees to save a lot of money on their regular expenditures. However, as an example, it can also be a discounted loan or a discounted mortgage if you’re a bank.
- Providing a company car with a petrol allowance that comes with a particular position at your company. It adds prestige to the job and can be used by the employee after hours for private business.
- An employee referral program encourages your employees to refer candidates (such as their friends, previous coworkers, etc.) for particular openings at the company. If a referred candidate is hired, then the employee receives a bonus.
As an employer, you can see that you have a lot of options to choose from. However, if you combine a competitive salary with some of the above benefits, you can greatly improve your employees’ effectiveness and reduce turnover.
While choosing from these perks, make sure to mix traditional and non-traditional benefits to be competitive and appeal to both more experienced and younger candidates.
It’s also important to remember that it doesn’t always have to cost a fortune — some of the perks we’ve listed above are low-cost (a stocked kitchen, healthy snacks, public transport reimbursement, work mobile phone usage) or even free (flexible work hours, working remotely, a pet-friendly office). Your employees will appreciate and value anything you can do for them.