Employee happiness is critical to success. They’re the cogs in the machine, the heartbeat of your business. When they’re unhappy, unengaged and unmotivated, your company suffers.
This is likely why staff recruitment and retention was cited as a top concern by 79% of senior living executives in a survey conducted by Ziegler Investment Banking.
One way to keep workers happy is by offering unique benefits as an employer — more than just the flexible schedule or store discount. Here are nine examples of interesting perks you can use to keep staff happy and productive:
According to Sidekicker’s Temp Workforce Survey, 12% of ANZ temporary hourly workers said access to easier transport is a top desired perk. Transportation assistance for hourly employees is one way to not only make their lives easier, but also yours. Making transportation more convenient for workers also makes it easier for them to show up to work.
The Home Depot’s Boulder, Colorado store has an indoor bike station where employees can hang their bicycles out of the elements and in a secure location. This is especially relevant in a town where many use bicycles as a main mode of transportation.
If an indoor bike station isn’t feasible or doesn’t make sense for your staff, you can provide other transportation benefits. Here are some ideas:
- Free or discounted public transit passes
- Gas cards
- Financial incentives for using environmentally friendly modes of transportation, like walking, biking, public transit or carpooling
Sidekicker’s survey revealed that 18% of workers would benefit from receiving more information about financial literacy. And Gen Zers are facing financial stresses: 19% don’t save any money each month, and nearly a quarter save less than $50 per month, according to the LifeWorks report The Financial Wellness of Gen Z: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Whether it’s access to an online portal, free tax assistance or a company financial planner, there are many ways you can use unique benefits to help your employees financially — without increasing wages.
You can also help your employees set themselves up financially in the future. Real estate investment firm The Connor Group has a unique Partner Program which is open to hourly and senior executive team members. The 42 “partners” — comprised of grounds staff, sales associates, maintenance technicians, trainers and property managers — each own equity stake in the company and its properties. The annual proceeds can surpass an employee’s salary in five to 10 years.
Support employees’ education
Oftentimes, hourly workers have education goals that can be difficult to attain. Maybe they’re saving up for school or are currently enrolled, sometimes juggling more than one part-time job to help them meet their goals.
As such, Walmart recently added education-focused perks for their employees. According to Retail Dive, “full-time, part-time and salaried U.S. Walmart associates that have worked for at least 90 days in stores, throughout the supply chain, at corporate or for Sam’s Club are now eligible for financial and academic assistance to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business or supply chain management from three participating nonprofit universities: University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University.”
Starbucks is another employer that has been known to contribute to workers’ education. Their College Achievement Plan provides full tuition for eligible employees pursuing a bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program.
You can also offer student loan debt reimbursement and student loan payment assistance through your own unique employee benefits programs.
Amazon is a leader in unique family-friendly perks for salaried and hourly employees. Leave Share allows workers to share paid leave with their partner in case their partner’s employer doesn’t provide any paid time off, while Ramp Back helps moms make a slower transition back into the workplace.
Aeroflow Healthcare is taking a truly innovative approach to support workers with its family-oriented benefits. The comprehensive benefits include paternal leave, free diapers for a year, birth or postpartum doula reimbursement, maternity leave for up to six weeks and paternal leave for those who adopt or foster.
For some people, pets are part of the family. Including pet insurance, allowing pets to come to work (if feasible), or distributing petcare reimbursements and stipends are just a few ways to cater to the parents of “fur babies” on your payroll.
Health and wellness programs are on the rise, according to Robert Half. And as companies are expanding their offerings, they’re also getting more creative.
Aware Senior Care gives its hourly workers full access to their health benefits after 90 days of employment. At Allumé Home Care, employees receive a Curated Care Plan — just like the facility’s patients.
Snappy Salads provides free food to its hourly workers, but they pay careful attention to the nutritional content of what they’re serving. One employee lost almost 60 pounds after taking advantage of the complimentary healthy menu.
There are other ways you can incorporate health and wellness into your unique benefits:
- Host fitness, yoga and/or meditation classes at work
- Provide access to online fitness and wellness programs that employees can use at home
- Give workers free or discounted gym memberships
- Put on friendly health and wellness competitions
- Sponsor social sports leagues
Free or discounted products and services
We noted earlier that discounts on what you’re selling are pretty standard. But standard doesn’t mean they’re not worthy. Here are a few different ways that employers provide free or discounted products and services to their employees:
- Penguin Random House gives free books to all employees
- English Meadows Senior Living provides workers with free care at their place of employment after retirement
- Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream workers get free ice cream
- In-N-Out Burger staff earn a free Double-Double burger and fries during each shift
While food may not always support health and wellness initiatives, people won’t shun unhealthy offerings completely. According to Robert Half, the office candy jar doesn’t rub employees the wrong way:
At HealthLabs.com, hourly employees indulge in free catering twice a week. You can also give employees gift cards to local grocery stores or access to the fully stocked break room pantry.
Allumé Home Care has several employee perks that involve rewards, mostly performance-based:
- 6-Month Success Bonuses: All employees are eligible to receive performance bonuses every six months based on goals set with their mentor.
- Remarkable Care Awards: Employees with excellent attendance, timeliness, quality of work and willingness to pick up others’ shifts may receive the monthly award.
- Customer Satisfaction Bonuses: Patients/customers have the opportunity to approve a small bonus to the care providers who served them.
- Employee Referral Bonuses: Workers earn $50–$1,000 bonuses for referring new care providers.
- Milestone Celebrations: At each successive milestone, employees receive a celebration, card from the owner, gift and opportunity to have lunch or dinner with a supervisor.
IntegraCare has its own unique rewards program: the Continued Attendance Rewards program. Employees who meet attendance requirements can earn prizes. It’s resulted in a 46% increase in the number of employees with perfect attendance and reduced overall annual turnover by 12%.
Check out these just-for-fun perks that employers provide hourly workers:
- Naming competition: Sidekicker notes how one client held a competition to name a donut. Retailers and restaurants especially can emulate this tactic for new products and dishes.
- Ski passes: Burton Snowboards gives employees free season passes to local Vermont ski resorts, demo gear to test and lessons to learn how to snowboard.
- Employee days: For workers at outdoor retailer REI, Yay Days are the bi-annual company event where employees are meant to do one thing: Have fun outside.
- Free vacations: Aegis Living’s annual Dream Big Lottery rewards lucky winners with an all-expenses-paid vacation. The longer you’ve worked there, the greater your chances at winning.
Moving forward with your own unique employee perks
When it comes to developing unique perks for your employees, put yourself in their shoes. What’s important to them, both in their job and outside of work? How can you support them in their goals, be it personal, financial or professional? The most successful employers are the ones who understand their staff and develop programs to meet their needs.