As the job market rebounds, with 1.1% of layoffs and discharges compared to a quit rate of 2.1% (2016 analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), employees are looking for fresh benefits packages. How can companies hang on to top talent? Here are five perks that are rising in popularity with both employees and employers alike because they boost production as well as morale.
- Forget formal vacation days or sick time. At VMware, a Fortune 100 Best Company to Work For, employees can set their own hours in accordance with management goals. Likewise, Urban Airship’s unlimited vacation policy (“Seriously, take the time you need to recharge.”) is a great recruitment lure. So long as the work gets done, forward-thinking firms don’t care when or where employees do it. Conversely, however, underperformers quickly earn a one-way ticket to the unemployment line.
- Elevate a “workplace culture” to “workplace community” status. Companies boasting unscripted opportunities for social interaction at work or after hours is proving to be a real H.R. magnet. Dropbox offers a stocked music room, juice station and exercise classes, but perks don’t have to cost a fortune. Urban Airship invites employees who need a break to “grab a game of ping pong and a beer.” VMware has “community think areas where you can spark new ideas with your peers in informal and fun settings. Clear your thoughts and make room for fresh ideas by meeting and connecting outdoors.” They all sound like fun places to work, right?
- Help employees do (more) good in the world. Offering an allotment of paid time off or flexible work hours to engage in philanthropic activities strengthens a belief that the company is a “good place to work”. Opportunities to do pro-bono work for charitable organizations or disadvantaged clients is particularly rewarding for employees and likewise boosts a company’s public relations profile. This is important because Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2014revealed that 61% of Millennials who rarely or never volunteer themselves still would weigh a company’s commitment to community before deciding whether or not to accept a job offer. Also good to know: 43% of Millennials do volunteer or belong to community organizations, so upholding this value could positively impact retention efforts.
- Acknowledge great work with extra credit and longevity with paid sabbaticals. It’s hard to imagine a better work environment than at Epic Systems, where the company provides over-market salaries for its highly-educated workforce, an on-site cafeteria with multiple food offerings, and fascinating art around every corner of the labyrinth campus. But there is another stand-out perk: four-week paid sabbaticals for every five years of employment. If sabbatical travel is a goal, Epic will help finance the trip for the employee and a guest. Likewise, Deloitte offers four weeks of unpaid sabbatical, and up to six months of partially-paid leave to pursue a career-building endeavor. The reported challenge for employees at both institutions is being willing to disengage long enough to take advantage of the breaks – and wouldn’t that be a great problem to have? At other companies, another emerging trend is giving employees overachievement credit in the form of pre-paid credit cards.
- Offer on-site concierge services. Companies like SC Johnson & Son, Atlantic Health System and Genetch offer an onsite employee concierge who will do everything from picking up dry cleaning to standing in line for theater tickets to researching airline prices. The benefit is that employees aren’t distracted with unfinished chores and they go home feeling they’ve accomplished personal goals as well as professional ones. It’s not a new idea, but it is definitely gaining traction.
What will appear in the benefits cafeteria in 2017? Stay tuned!