March 9, 2021

7 Lesser Known Benefits that Make Employees’ Lives Easier

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Tags: HR

When job hunting, candidates are no longer solely looking for competitive wages. Attracting top talent also entails providing a positive company culture and great benefits for your employees. According to a study by SHRM, 92 percent of employees say benefits are important to job satisfaction. 29 percent of employees look to switch jobs because they aren’t satisfied with their current benefits package.

But 401k matching and healthcare plans aren’t the only benefits that employees care about. While they certainly find these plans important, they also want a better work-life balance and perks that make them feel valued. Putting effort into offering benefits that employees care about and establishing a positive work culture will allow your company to source top talent, boost employee morale, and reduce turnover.

Offering desirable employee benefits doesn’t have to break the bank, either. Some just want free coffee. We’ve come up with a list of seven lesser known, unique benefits to offer employees that will boost their morale, show you care about them, and make your company more attractive.

If you’re looking for an HR solution to manage your benefits, try our Product Selection Tool. Answer a few short questions and you’ll get a short, unbiased list of software tailored to your needs.

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7 lesser known benefits for happier employees

Employee wellness program

A wellness program could look like an on-site fitness center, gym membership reimbursement, encouraging alternative methods of transportation such as biking, or something as simple as providing a healthy lunch for employees once a week. Whatever you choose to offer, begin by administering an anonymous survey about the current health of your employees and what personal wellness interests they may have.

Big or small, all businesses can benefit from offering wellness initiatives at the workplace. This will spur productivity in employees and also allow them to feel good because they’re able to nurture their health. A wellness program benefits the employer, too, as it can potentially lower health care costs.

Flexible work hours

Having a flexible work schedule is ranking higher and higher on candidates’ preference list, especially in a post-COVID landscape. Over 80 percent of people would give heavy consideration to a lower-paying job that had flexible hours than a higher-paying job without it. This benefit is especially attractive to parents, who are better able to balance job duties and care for their children with a flexible schedule.

Offering flexible work hours can improve recruitment and retention, augment diversity efforts, and increase employee engagement. Of course, it presents the challenge of possible communication difficulties if everyone works whatever hours suit their work style. If you’re contemplating offering this benefit, consider requiring that employees work certain core hours that overlap with relevant team members, so that important meetings can still happen.

Child care

Companies are still in a state of “figuring out” child care benefits. How many weeks should you offer for paid maternity or paternity leave? Should your company provide options for child care reimbursement? Is it worthwhile to provide on-site child care?

The average cost for license-based child care is $1,230 per month. Offering on-site child care is a highly effective but very expensive benefit. If possible, consider subsidizing employee child care bills by making direct payments to employees with children. If you’re unable to do that, negotiate discounts with local child care providers. Employees are happier knowing they have affordable care for their child and that their company is willing to support their life at home, too.

In-house employee mentorship program

A mentorship program is great for employees who want to take ownership of personal and professional development. Those who don’t want to feel stagnant in their roles can use this benefit to gain valuable skills and experience. This is a great low-cost option that rewards both employee and employer. Here are some helpful steps to take in creating a mentorship program:

  1. Define the program’s goal (where the employee is in their professional journey, what developmental needs the program will address, the degree to which individuals will participate, etc.)
  2. Outline the mentoring process in the workplace
  3. Provide mentorship training to interested mentors
  4. Gather program participants
  5. Match mentees with mentors
  6. Offer to sponsor events or provide a stipend for dinners, books, or events to keep up morale and facilitate progress.

To continually improve your mentorship program, follow up with participants, evaluate their results, and make consistent improvements.

Death benefit

Part of Google’s benefits package includes paying a surviving spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50 percent of his or her salary for 10 years after his or her death. It’s a benefit you’d hope you would never need to use, but it would supply invaluable peace of mind to employees.

If you’re unable to provide something this lofty, consider offering bereavement leave to employees for when a loved one has passed. To make sure you give employees the appropriate time and space they need to navigate personal loss, try to offer at least three days of paid time off. As the grief will certainly last longer than three days, providing employees with grief counseling services can help them deal with the loss.

Mental health subscription

COVID-19 created new challenges—such as a shift in work structure— and fresh anxiety. So now more than ever, mental health awareness and support is important in the workplace. Even if employees are not currently experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, including a mental health app subscription in employees’ healthcare plan is a great way to offer proactive support.

Not all mental health apps are the same. Some help evaluate and link users with tools and providers. Others support users looking to change their behavior, get better-quality sleep, or increase happiness levels. Consider asking multiple mental health app providers for references from organizations with similar employee demographics to help you make the right decision for your unique employee makeup.

Unlimited PTO

Unlimited PTO is a great recruiting tool and allows employees to manage their own time off, as long as it doesn’t damage the business. Sufficient time off to relax and rejuvenate promotes productivity. As added benefits to an employer, there is no end-of-year rush to take unused vacation days, and they don’t have to pay out a leave bank when the individual leaves.

There are drawbacks to providing unlimited PTO. Perhaps the most obvious, there’s the threat that employees will take advantage of this benefit and take too many days off. Businesses can have a de facto understanding of a set amount of days employees can take off, but this may lead to an unofficial policy that is difficult to enforce, since it’s simply an understanding. If you plan to add this benefit, present employees with expectation of minimum and average time off in addition to expectations for requests.

Find the right HR solution to manage your benefits

If you’re looking for an HR solution that will help you manage your benefits, or aid you in implementing new ones, use our Product Selection Tool. We’ll ask you a few basic questions to get an idea of what you’re looking for and then match you with five solutions we think you’ll love.