Employee Perks: 10 Great Ways to Engage Employees
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This Week: Top 10 Employee Perks
Employee perks are more than just a nice way to say “Thank you.” They’re critical employee engagement tools.
According to Gallup, 70 percent of workers in the U.S. are not engaged. Not only are unengaged employees less productive than their engaged counterparts, but they’re also more likely to leave their companies. High levels of turnover + low levels of productivity = massive harm to a company’s bottom line.
While perks alone are not enough to solve the engagement crisis, they do play a valuable role. Powerful perks lead to happier employees, and employee happiness is strongly correlated with employee engagement. Perks show employees that their companies value them. When employees feel valued, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs and happy at work. When they feel satisfied and happy, they are more likely to be engaged.
With this in mind, we’d like to offer this list of our ten favorite employee perks. The perks you’ll find here go above and beyond the norm, and they help the companies that use them create thriving, engaging cultures.
Of course, the particular perks that a company offers will depend on a number of factors. What works for some companies may not work for others. Organizations should always consider their budgets and the needs and desires of their particular workforces before instituting any sort of perks programs.
That being said, if the perks on this list don’t work for your company, you should still be able to draw inspiration from them as you craft your own winning perks program.
1. Unlimited Vacation Time
And you thought two weeks of PTO was a sweet deal. At Netflix, employees can take as much time off as they need without being penalized. Reed Hastings, the CEO of the company, regularly takes six weeks off every year – and he encourages employees to do the same.
Not everyone is on board with the idea, but we think Hastings makes a pretty strong case for the benefits of unlimited vacation time: “Just as you would expect, you often do your best thinking [when] you’re off hiking in some mountain,” Hastings is quoted as saying.
We agree, Hastings.
2. Company Kindles
At Officevibe, employees have access to shared company Kindles. Not only does this perk give employees a nice way to relax and recharge during the day – what’s more relaxing than kicking back with a good book? – but it also helps build community, according to Officevibe:
“Another side effect of this program is that you get to know your colleagues through the books they like (and if we have any in common), and how they describe the book. When someone shares a book with the team and writes a whole paragraph about why they’re sharing it and why they enjoyed it, you learn a lot about who they are.”
3. ’20 Percent Time’
Google is well-known for its wide array of innovative perks, but none is more exciting than its “20 percent time” policy, whereby employees are allowed to take one day a week to work on their passion projects, rather than company-decreed tasks.
Of course, the rules surrounding 20 percent time are a little bit more complicated than that, but the general idea is what matters most for our purposes. If you want your employees to be passionate about your company, it’s in your best interest to build some (structured) creative freedom into their schedules.
4. Full Tuition Coverage
I studied English in college, a fact that will probably surprise none of our readers. During this time, it was common for my friends and peers to jokingly ask, “An English degree, huh? What are you going to do with that – work at Starbucks?”
I doubt it was Starbucks’ intention, but I see its partnership with Arizona State University (ASU) as a sort of winking kiss-off to the sorts of people who regularly make this joke. Thanks to the partnership, full- and part-time employees at the chain can earn bachelor’s degrees through ASU online, and Starbucks foots the entire bill.
Offering employees free degrees isn’t just a great way for Starbucks to show its workers that it cares about them – it also doubles as a smart workforce development program. Talk about maintaining a deep bench!
5. Subsidized Housecleaning
I bet it’s happened to you before: It’s crunch time at the office, and that means you’ve had to let a few domestic duties fall by the wayside as you and your teammates push forward on an exciting project.
According to an article on Business News Daily, Weebly employees don’t have to worry about that. The company gives them all a $50 monthly credit at Exec, a housecleaning service. Thanks to this perk, employees can focus on the task at hand, knowing that, at the end of the day, they’ll return to a sparkling home.
6. Hybrid Car Incentives
Employees like it when their employers support social causes that are important to them, and here’s a great way to do just that: Help your employees go green by subsidizing purchases of hybrid vehicles.
CLif Bar & Co. does just that through its Cool Commute program. Employees are given $5,000 to help with the purchase of biodiesel and hybrid vehicles. The company also gives employees $500 to buy bicycles for their commuters.
7. A Company Yacht
Yes, that’s actually a thing. At iCracked, employees have access to a company yacht, which they are free to use during the day. Forget eating your lunch in the local park – imagine eating it on a yacht. Heck, imagine impressing potential customers by taking them for a quick cruise!
8. Pet-Friendly Workplaces
At VMware, employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work. What’s more, the company strategically places waste bags and receptacles across campus, making life that much easier for the dog-owners who bring their pals to the office. It’s hard to be stressed when you have a bunch of adorable pups frolicking around the campus.
9. Nap Rooms
Of course Zappos has nap rooms. It’s Zappos!
But there’s more to it than Zappos being its wacky self. Research suggests that napping is a great way to boost productivity. So, not only will employees thank you for letting the sleep (a little) on the job – but they’ll also return from the nap rooms recharged, refreshed, and ready to do some killer work.
Maybe your company should invest in a sleeping pod or two.
10. Job Flexibility
According to Forbes, Web development and marketing firm MorrisCore goes further than flexible scheduling and telecommuting options with its commitment to job flexibility.
At MorrisCore, employees who feel they are stagnating in their roles have the opportunity to tweak and reshape their jobs in ways that suit them. Essentially, this acts as a protection against disengagement and turnover. When employees start to feel bored or uninspired in their jobs, they don’t have to go looking for new challenges elsewhere – they can find new and exciting things to do without leaving the company.
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