Christmas BonusHiring exceptionally talented individuals and motivating them to perform at their highest levels is critical to the success of any business – but this critical activity is also intensely difficult to do.

Because the best talent is constantly in demand, some companies have begun to offer more than generous pay and benefits packages to attract and retain top employees. But here’s the thing: People spend the majority of their waking hours at work, and they want to enjoy that time as much as possible. Sources suggest that these days, many employees are willing to sacrifice status and money in exchange for meaningful work at a company that appreciates them and their efforts.

In light of this, some companies have realized that attracting and retaining great employees takes more than just a nice salary – though, that is often important. These companies are finding more creative ways to make their employees feel valued and appreciated.

Here’s a small sampling of some of the benefits that successful companies are using in the battle to attract and keep their best workers:

1. Additional Time Off

Rather than the traditional two weeks of vacation and a few paid holidays here or there, some companies have begun to offer employees additional downtime. Along with regular vacations, organizations are granting time off for community service and personal development.

Deloitte provides employees several paid and unpaid sabbatical leave options to pursue career-enhancing opportunities or to perform volunteer work. Employees at virtual phone system provider Grasshopper Group enjoy flexible work hours and half-day paid Fridays during the summer, as well as four weeks of vacation. In a sign that it trusts employees to manage their workloads, Lendio offers unlimited time off. Along with helping to defray the costs of adoption, Mattel provides 16 hours of paid leave for employees to attend their children’s school-related activities. The extra time enables employees to not only rest and return to work more energized, but also to grow as individuals.

2. Onsite Amenities

To create a stimulating work environment, companies are now providing onsite amenities that go well beyond free snacks and coffee in the break room. Google has become legendary for its onsite amenities, which include a community garden, sleep pods and cafeterias that serve free lunch and dinner. The company also gives its employees end-of-year holiday gifts like Chromebooks. Facebook has an onsite barbershop and micro-kitchens in addition to its campus cafeterias. While several companies like Yahoo provide on-site fitness centers, Cisco Systems also offers primary care and a pharmacy. Chesapeake Energy has an indTrophyoor rock-climbing wall. Along with its generous parental leave program, AOL provides onsite daycare for parents who are returning to work.

3. Offsite Rewards

While these onsite amenities are great, companies are offering their employees offsite perks as well. Many organizations without onsite fitness and daycare centers provide free or subsidized gym memberships and daycare. To bolster team morale, some firms offer employees passes to sporting events and entertainment venues.

In addition to barbecues and other team-building activities, companies are sponsoring football, softball, and various other sports teams. These intramural activities also provide an opportunity for companies to keep their organizations in the public spotlight. Some firms support the outside club activities of employees by providing supplies and transportation. Employees consider these gestures as symbols of an organization’s strong commitment to the lives of its workers outside of the workplace.

4. Bonuses, Profit Sharing, and Discounts

Profit sharing and stock options are time-honored employee rewards. Rather than limiting these benefits to top management, some companies are extending them to employees at all levels.

In addition to bonuses and profit sharing programs, some companies are also taking steps to give employees significant discounts on goods and services. Timberland, for example, gives its employees generous discounts on company apparel, footwear, and accessories. Southwest Airlines offers complimentary travel for employees and their families on the airline, as well as discounts at several rental car companies, hotels, and theme parks.

5. Personal Services

To help keep employees focused on the job instead of worrying about running life’s little errands, some companies have started providing a variety of personal and concierge services. Google offers complimentary cars for employees to run errands, while S.C. Johnson & Son has an onsite concierge service that takes employee cars in for automotive services and picks up their groceries. At Twitter’s San Francisco office, employees can take advantage of laundry and dry cleaning services.

6. Other Benefits

FlightThere are plenty of other perks and benefits that companies are using to attract employees as well. Here are just a few examples of these unique initiatives from a variety of organizations:

- Online rental coordinator Airbnb provides its employees with an annual stipend for travel around the world.

- Financial services company Square offers massages, acupuncture, and chiropractor services.

- Umpqua Bank provides its employees with a clothing advance to help them build their professional wardrobes.

- Google employees enjoy $12,000 in annual tuition reimbursement.

3M helps its workforce lose weight, quit smoking, and manage stress.


Employees value benefits that demonstrate an organization’s commitment to employee satisfaction and success. While paying top employees market value for their skills is important, studies show that money is not the only factor that keeps employees happy at work. Today’s top companies have figured out that offering amazing perks is a great way to attract, reward, and retain the very best employees.

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