Want to Offer Employee Perks? Here Are 13 Great Ideas
Employee perks are a great way to reward staff – and savvy employers love them too.
Employee perks and benefits can help attract and retain top talent. According to research by Glassdoor, nearly 60% of job seekers say perks are a big factor when deciding whether to accept a job. That’s especially important in today’s tight job market.
Creative perks help people to see how organizations stand out from the competition. Prospective employees see that the company takes good care of its people, while current employees remain engaged and satisfied.
Employee perk programs say a lot about the personality and culture of an organization as well. Benefits don’t create a company culture, but they do reinforce it. The best ideas for your employee perks and incentives are the ones that will be a natural fit for your culture and the types of people within it.
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What are Employee Perks and Incentives?
Perks are non-cash extras that are offered to employees to increase their job satisfaction and help enhance their quality of life. Incentives are rewards (sometimes including cash) that encourage or acknowledge great job performance by individuals or groups.
The line between employee perks can seem fuzzy as people often use the words interchangeably. After all, a perk can be something you have to earn, and something given freely can create the incentive to work harder.
By those definitions, many items in our list could be considered as either a perk or incentive. Don’t worry too much about which are which; keep your eye on their shared objective – improving the employee experience.
How to Choose the Right Employee Perks and Incentives
With so many options available, how do you choose the right ideas for your employee perks and incentives? It may help to follow these three steps:
- Define the perk or incentive’s role or purpose
- Consider the cost
- Consider the impact on individual employees and your organization.
Employee perks and benefits may include one-time events (say, having an artist give a group painting lesson), recurring events (employee-of-the-month celebrations), or continuous features (such as keeping a pantry stocked with snacks).
Having a mix of all three, and adding new ones from time to time, will help keep your employee perks program appealing and fresh.
Some of the best ideas for employee perks may only appeal to a fraction of your employees—and that’s okay. It’s impossible to come up with ideas that every single employee will like. The goal is to offer a variety that includes something for everyone.
If you have already implemented some great ideas for employee perks and incentives, you’re well on your way. But if you’re just starting out, or if you’d like to add something new to your program, you’ve come to the right place. Below you can discover our top employee perk ideas.
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The 13 Best Types of Employee Perks
1. Free Food
Offering tasty snacks and lunches is a great option. These can be a range of healthy nibbles and sweet treats as well as themed lunches, like taco Tuesdays. Organizing team lunches is also a great way to encourage employees to socialize while they enjoy a delicious meal.
2. Fun Work Activities
Some great games will energize co-workers day after day. All you need is a room where players won’t disturb their colleagues while they’re working.
Here are our top ideas:
- Golf Simulator
- Ping Pong
- Video Games
3. Team Sports
Employees can form a team to join a local league or play pick-up games in a nearby park or sports facility. You can support them by encouraging attendance, or by paying for equipment, team T-shirts, membership fees, or postgame refreshments. What better way to build team spirit?
They could take part in:
Promoting a social atmosphere at work is a great way to encourage a healthy work-life balance. You can offer social opportunities such as:
- Organized group breaks
- Books clubs
- Happy hours
- Coffee mornings
5. Self-Improvement and Career
An employee perk that supports a person’s career development can be very beneficial. Tuition reimbursement is a great idea if you can supplement it, making life-long learning more affordable. Even partial reimbursement will help. Lunch and Learns are also useful.
You can allow employees to bring their own lunch to a TED Talk-style event, where an expert talks about a subject they are passionate about. Other career development ideas could include:
- A lending library – Consider stocking a workplace bookshelf with volumes on business knowledge, self-improvement, and other educational and interesting topics.
- Mentors – The attention and guidance provided by a more experienced person can be invaluable to a fledgling employee.
- Cross-training – Employees who are eager to explore different roles and learn new skills will welcome opportunities to do this within their own workplace.
Career coaching services – Help your workers envision and plan for the future of their careers.
6. Rewards Schemes
Rewarding your employees can help to boost morale and motivate them. Whether it’s cash bonuses or something more material, like a voucher for an experience day, your employees will always appreciate being rewarded for their exceptional accomplishments.
Certificates of achievement are also a great way to honor an employee’s outstanding achievements throughout the year.
7. Outings and Travel
How about offering an employee perk they can use away from the office? Unlimited vacation leave offers greater freedom for people to take time off when they can. A giant leap forward in work-life balance. You can also promote:
- Off-Site Meetings
- Movie Nights
8. Workplace Upgrades
Employee perks don’t just have to be about enhancing their life outside of work, they can also include ideas that make the job more comfortable and enjoyable.
Offering things such as a convertible or standing desk can be a big benefit, as can free home office equipment, for example. Studies say sitting all day isn’t good for employees’ health—so give them a way to stretch their legs while getting their work done. You can also have:
- Diversity program
- Flexible work hours
- Pet-friendly office
- Casual work attire
9. Financial Perks
Financial perks are always welcomed. Whether it’s student loan pay downs, paid maternity/paternity leave, an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP), or Company-Sponsored Retirement Accounts, any financial assistance is likely to be appreciated and is a big draw for a company.
10. Health and Wellness
Exercise is essential for feeling our best. If your office has a little extra space and a place to shower, there are plenty of ways to help your employees stay fit. Here are just a few options:
- Fitness Equipment
- Instructor-Led Exercise Classes
- Workout-Video Classes
- Fitness Center Passes or Discounts
- Group Walks
- Fitness Monitors
- Meditation Room
11. Personal Employee Perks
Corporate-branded merchandise, such as t-shirts, ball caps, and water bottles is always a hit, and your options are only limited by your imagination. You could also offer:
- Paid time off on their birthdays
- Public transportation passes or discounts
- Music streaming subscriptions
- In-office massages
- Childcare vouchers
- Employee discounts
12. Time Savers
Many local businesses and professionals are happy to make their services available at your workplace. Whether or not you pay for these perks, employees may appreciate the convenience of services such as:
- Dry cleaning
- Car washing/detailing
- Medical or dental clinics
- Tax services
13: Giving Back
Offering employee perks where they can help others can be very rewarding. This could include the opportunity to take part in charity walks and runs, volunteer days, mentoring school kids, or even CPR training.
Watch for Other Employee Perk Opportunities
As you can see, our employee perk and incentive ideas include options that can suit a wide variety of interests and circumstances, for businesses large or small. But these ideas aren’t your only good options. Use your imagination, and look for unique opportunities in your area. For example, consider treating your employees to a beach party if you’re on the California coast, or a ski day if the Colorado Rockies are nearby.
Also, if you wonder whether employee perks and incentives will distract people from their work, relax. Responsible employees know they still need to get the job done, and they will. Perks and incentives help employees maintain peak performance by keeping them refreshed and engaged. More enjoyment for them, and greater productivity and retention for you—everyone wins!
No matter which employee perks and incentives are right for your organization, achieving excellent results with them may be simpler than you think. People like to be appreciated and rewarded, and that’s what these incentives are all about. Chances are, your employees will respond enthusiastically to your efforts.
Remember, great ideas don’t have to break the bank. Even simple, inexpensive measures can be remarkably effective and memorable. Just take the time to ensure they’re thoughtfully selected to suit your people and company culture.
And if you’re still not sure which employee perk ideas to choose, why not ask the team themselves? They’ll love the opportunity to help make their great workplace even better.
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