Americans work harder, and longer than any other nation in the world. In fact, 66.5% of females, and 85.8% of males spend more than 40 hours a week at work. What’s more, Millennials — who make up the majority of the workforce — are expected to be accessible out-of-hours, with up to 70% working 20 or more hours outside of the office. These statistics leave many of us asking: Are employees getting enough back, for what they’re putting in? Employee perks can be an ideal way of adding value to a workplace.
In a particularly difficult environment, they can even be the factor that keeps staff motivated when times are hard. A survey conducted by “Glassdoor” learned that out of 2,000 American employees, 79% claimed they would prefer additional benefits over a higher salary. If you want to appeal to the needs and hopes of your staff, then you need to understand the perks they really want.
1. Good Physical Health
Studies indicate that health insurance is perhaps the most essential perk an employer can offer. Health insurance offers staff members a safety net that makes it easier for them to look after their own health, and the needs of their families. While a health insurance policy might not seem like the most innovative of modern benefit available when you consider company spa-rooms and nap chambers, Entrepreneur found that basic employee perks are the ones that they value most. Staff members — no matter the industry — want generous life insurance and retirement policies, paid vacation time, and health, dental and vision plans.
However, promoting good physical health and exercise can extend beyond healthcare and dental. Employee wellness programs are emerging as a strategic workplace initiative, and 24.1% employees list gym membership as their most desired perk. Implementing strategies for healthier living, such as healthy menus, and gym access, could make workers happier and more productive at work. In fact, a survey by Business News found that employees who exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes are 15% more likely to show improved work performance.
2. Opportunities to Grow and Learn
Further research suggests that employees don’t only want their workplace to nourish their body, but also provide opportunities to expand their mind. Data taken from the American Psychological Association indicates that employees want to feel as though they are making a difference. In other words, understanding your staff and providing them with opportunities to grow and contribute is one of the best ways to improve company satisfaction.
One great solution is to provide free training seminars and classes to employees who want to improve their skills. If you want to take it even further, you can even provide learning opportunities that have nothing to do with the company, as a way of encouraging socialization between workers. A more educated workforce often translates to a more productive workforce, and if employees don’t have to worry about the costs of enhancing their knowledge, they’ll be more inclined to explore and maximize their talents.
3. A Better Work/Life Balance
In the fast-moving and chaotic world of business, the fight for work-life balance is a never-ending battle. As technology continues to break down the barriers of communication, it’s harder for staff members to leave work. A study by Gallup found that two-thirds of U.S. employees continue their work outside of office hours through mobile technology. While constant working may seem to have positive effects on your bottom line, it also contributes to employee stress and burnout.
If a workplace can encourage better work/life balance, then they’ll often benefit from happier, healthier employees. Research by Oracle suggests that 54% of employers consider work/life balance to be essential to employee engagement. Numerous benefits can improve work/life balance, from childcare vouchers, to flexible working solutions. What’s more, employers that allow staff time away from work generally see lower absence rates as a result of higher morale.
4. Flexible Schedules
While every business may not have the luxury of offering flexible work hours, listening to your employee’s needs regarding schedules is one of the best perks you can offer. Studies suggest that 31.8% of employees would cite flexible schedules as their most-wanted perk. Some people have other commitments, such as family and school, that requires them to adjust their work hours. Providing flexible schedules shows your employees that you respect their needs as a human being.
Allowing staff a chance to organize their own schedules, within reason, is a great way to motivate your workforce and attract and retain strong performers.
5. A Sense of Community, and Recognition
Finally, most employees appreciate feeling like part of a team. By encouraging teamwork and community, you provide a sense of belonging to staff members that may positively improve employee engagement. This means scheduling office field trips, team-building activities, and even weekly challenges or sports games that encourage people to work together.
At the same time, show your employees that you are part of that time by offering recognition for the work they do. If you accomplish something huge for your business, take some time to celebrate with every worker in a party, or group outing. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to continue applying maximum effort to everything they do.
Perk Up Your Workplace
Because employee perks can come in many shapes and forms, they can also serve as a way of genuinely showing your company’s appreciation and support for employees; benefits boost morale. Which benefits do you find to be the most effective in your office? If you’ve conducted a recent poll, what do your employees think are the most valuable employee perks? Let us know in the comments below.