Just how valuable are employee perks? According to Glassdoor’s Q3 2015 U.S. Employment Confidence Survey, nearly four in five employees prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase.
From increased parental leave and unlimited vacation, to free food and work-from-home policies, more and more companies are providing generous benefits packages. These days, however, attracting top talent takes more than a competitive salary. In today’s increasingly progressive work environment, it’s important to offer more than what is already expected.
Looking to retain and engage talent? Consider these five creative benefits to win over both your current and prospective employees.
1) Volunteer Hours
By 2020, nearly half of all U.S. workers will be millennials. And of all characteristics that make this generation unique, their socially conscious mindset is one of the most defining. 61% of millennials are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference, according to the Center for American Progress.
Smart companies have taken note of this fact and have implemented volunteer hours into their benefit packages. Many organizations provide paid time off or flexible work hours for their employees to engage in volunteer projects.
One of these companies is Zimbra, a cloud-based communications solution provider. As chairman and CEO Patrick Brandt said in Business News Daily, “civic engagement creates bonds among employees, encourages a value-based company culture, and increases the overall morale of the organization.”
2) Student Loan Reimbursement
Piggybacking on the millennial mindset is the specter of student debt. According to the Institute of Politics at Harvard, 42% of all 18- to 29-year-olds have student debt. And as many workers struggle to pay of these loans, companies are starting to take note.
Social Finance (SoFi) recently announced a platform called SoFi at Work that would allow employers to make contributions to their employees’ student loans. The company hopes the platform will effectively act as “the third leg of employee benefits alongside healthcare and 401(k),” said Catesby Perrin, SoFi’s head of business development.
Currently, only 3% of employers offer some kind of repayment benefit. But if third-party startups like SoFi are any indication, student loan reimbursement may become as common as (401)k plans.
3) Flexible Work Hours
Want to ruffle a few feathers in the corporate management world? Start a conversation about unlimited vacation. While corporate giants such as Glassdoor and Virgin Group defend their generous policies, others denounce them, saying they actually discourage employees from taking off.
As an alternative, other companies offer flexible work hours, including Netflix, where vacation days and works hours aren’t tracked. And just because Netflix emphasizes flexibility, it doesn’t mean they ignore accountability. Rather than micromanage, management focuses on what really matters—employee performance.
Whether you’re interested in implementing unlimited or limited policies, flexible work schedules can result in increased morale, engagement, and commitment.
4) Continued Education
Millennials want more than a paycheck; they’re looking to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to grow. According to a PwC survey, millennials consider training and development more important than financial benefits.
Instead of traditional on-the-job training—which often exists to meet compliance or policy requirements—employers are now implementing enrichment programs that cater to employee passions and career goals. While some companies invest in lunch-time and extracurricular educational sessions, others are taking things a step further by offering higher education as a perk.
No matter what you choose, offering your employees opportunities to acquire and refine new skills and abilities to remain competitive, can make waves.
5) Travel Perks
Forget big homes and fancy cars. According to a study led by the Harris Group, 78% of millennials choose to spend money on “experiences” over “things.” In other words, travel—and the experiences it offers—has never been more important to employees.
These days, 85% of millennials check multiple sites before booking their travel to get the best deal possible. Save your employees time by providing them with exclusive access to discounted hotel rates—for both work and play.
Encouraging your employees to travel with generous PTO is one thing. Facilitating their travel experiences is another. Enhance your workforce benefits with Hotel Engine by offering up to 60% off rates at thousands of hotels across North America, Latin America, and Europe—all at no cost or inconvenience to you.