What is an employee perk?
By definition, “Employee perks are non-wage offerings given to employees that extend beyond salaries and benefits (like health insurance, dental, vision, etc.).”.
Perks serve as a means to support employees beyond their standard salary and benefits and are more of a discretionary nature. It includes:
Perks that are purchased such as catered lunches, books, insurance, student loan forgiveness, etc.
These are policy-driven advantages of working at a company such as remote work opportunities or being pet-friendly.
Are ways on how your office is set up - meditation rooms, gaming rooms, slides, and just overall space in the office.
What are the perks of a company?
Perks are those benefits of a more discretionary nature. Perks are given to employees who are doing notably well or have seniority. Common perks are take-home vehicles, hotel stays, free refreshments, leisure activities on work time (golf, etc), stationery, allowances for lunch, and when multiple choices exist-first choice of such things as job assignments and vacation scheduling. They may also be given a first chance at job promotions when vacancies exist.
An example of perks is take-home vehicles, hotel stays, free refreshments, leisure activities on work time (golf, etc), stationery, and allowances for lunch. They can be given to employees who are doing notably well or have seniority.
What are examples of employee perks?
Health & Wellness
Healthy vending machines or options
Gym membership reimbursement
Wellness activities like yoga, meditation, and walking clubs
Free healthy snacks
Onsite flu shot clinic
Nutrition programs and workshops with a nutrition specialist
Incentives for participating in wellness programs
Health & wellness stipends
Free library membership
Paid paternity leave
Paid maternity leave beyond 8 weeks
Free park or museum passes for employees and their families
College scholarship or savings program
Remote or work-from-home options
Dedicated mother’s rooms or nursing rooms
New parent welcome back package
Casual dress codes
Bring your pet to work days
An employee of the month parking spot
Bonuses through time-off
Dress up to work events
Professional recognition events
Sponsored travel to industry conferences
Career coaching services
Online learning classes, courses, and certifications
Continuous learning stipends
Cultural events & initiatives
Conferences & training
Continuing education, upskilling, and reskilling
What are the best employee perks?
We’ve listed 16 of the best employee perks that you can offer to your employees:
Unlimited paid time off
It's becoming a more common job perk that employers are offering to help create a better work-life balance. As long as employees are working hard and getting their work done on time, they can take as many days off as they like.
Flexible working hours
Instead of a rigid start time, you can give employees the option to come to work whenever they want, as long as they work the required number of hours. Flexible working helps employees, especially those who care for children, and other family members or who have frequent appointments and personal commitments.
Some employers either pay for their employees’ gym membership or provide an on-site gym at work to promote health and fitness. If you choose to build an on-site gym, also include a shower facility so the employer can freshen up after enjoying a workout.
Shorter days near the holidays
As the holidays approach, employees may become busier with family obligations. On workdays right before a holiday, give employees the option to leave work early. This lets them take less paid time off and get an earlier start on their holiday preparations or travel plans.
Extended Parental Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a law that provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a 12-month period. This includes offering extended paid parental leave to both parents with a newborn, or an employee that needs to take care of an ill family member. Employees appreciate having more time with family and return to work feeling better about the experience.
Stocked fridge and pantry
Having free food available to employees is a great way to keep everyone fueled and satisfied throughout the day. Provide healthy food options for employees who are trying to eat better. With a more balanced diet coupled with exercise, it’s easier for employees to stay energized throughout the day.
Throughout the year, fun company-sponsored events give employees ample opportunity to get to know each other better and improve collaboration, both of which can boost morale. Ideas include office parties, happy hours, virtual get-togethers, team lunches, company intramural sports leagues, and retreats.
Paid volunteer days
In addition to paid time off, consider giving employees a set number of days they can get paid to volunteer outside of work. This is also known as VTO (volunteer time off). This job perk can be a great way to promote community relations and provide a meaningful way to take a break from work. To document employee participation, have them send you a confirmation email from the organization’s event.
Pets are known to boost mood and lower stress, which is why having a pet-friendly workplace may appeal to many employees. If you don’t want pets at work every day, create a policy where employees can bring their pets once a week.
By investing in your employees, you improve workplace productivity. One of the best company perks is to host educational seminars or provide skill-based training opportunities. Another option is to sponsor and fund courses employees are already taking via tuition reimbursement or allow them to take time off to attend advanced educational opportunities.
Remote work options
Remote work, also called telecommuting, has significant cost savings for workers, and the majority of the costs come from transformation. But remote work isn’t just about saving money; it’s about the level of freedom and flexibility workers have to do their job, which contributes to increased job satisfaction.
Commuter benefits ensure that companies cover employee commuter costs, perhaps up to the IRS maximum of $270 per month. These costs include reimbursing employees for their highway commute to the workplace, offering reduced-cost transit passes for those who take public transportation, and providing vouchers for qualified parking.
Child care assistance
Businesses that provide childcare assistance alleviate the stress and costs some workers have to deal with so they can continue to do their jobs. Childcare assistance comes in many forms, including on-site care, flexible schedules, and backup childcare. Under specific circumstances, employers who provide child care subsidies can earn up to $150,000 in annual tax credits.
Employee recognition program
Every employer wants to get the most out of their workforce, and implementing a recognition program leads to employees feeling valued and validated by their supervisors and peers. These programs are about increasing employee engagement, which drives company growth and profitability.
Google and Apple game rooms are legendary, but they aren’t the only companies that can offer this luxury perk. Having a well-designed no-stress zone can be attractive to employees because it provides valuable insight into the company culture, showing that it’s all about achieving work-play balance as a means of fostering creativity and productivity.
Remote work stipend
If your workforce is fully or partially remote, consider offering a remote work stipend, which is a fixed amount of money given to an employee in addition to their base salary. This money is intended to cover the costs of working from home or to improve their home office (e.g., internet bill, office equipment).
How can I choose the right perks?
Now that you’ve got a list of possible perks you can offer to retain or attract an employee, the question is, how important is it to the company and what are its benefits to the team?
If you’re hiring new team members, standing out with unique perks is a plus. Who doesn’t want an office space where you can bring pets? They’re a great stress reliever and a great companion! Flexible working hours can also give employees the option to come to work whenever they want, as long as they work the required number of hours.
It’s a good way to show gratitude to your employees. When they feel appreciated and valued for their hard work, they’re more likely to stay with the business and brag about the awesome perk you have in the office!
Makes employees more productive and happier. You can have unlimited paid time off to create a better work-life balance, shorten work days as holidays approach to give more time for their family or have a huge pantry that’s always stocked. No matter what perks you choose, what they really want is to have better, more productive, balanced, and happier lives. This shows your willingness and desire to support your employees and their goals.
Helps to attract, engage, and retain superstar talents. Why superstar talents? They’re high performers and one way to bring out the best in them is to provide the best perks out there to make them feel appreciated.
Helps with employee engagement. Nowadays, it’s easy to get an idea of how much employees are worth, so, what can you offer? They’re on the lookout for the three things they care about: career, community, and cause. This is a major factor in choosing the right career home for them in the long run, and a carefully chosen perk is a great way to fulfilling this need.
Reinforces & strengthens the company’s purpose, values, and culture. They should reinforce values that reflect what matters most in your company. For example, if you’re a health company, you can offer wellness benefits; or if you have an “Always learning” value, strengthen it by investing in a books program, an annual conference budget, or bringing experts to the office to have workshops to help employees learn and grow.
How do I choose which perks to offer?
It’s important to choose perks based on what you think your employees will appreciate the most. You can do this by sending out a survey to your current employees to ask them which perks would be the most important to them. Additionally, if you notice employees aren’t using a perk you offer, you can ask them if they were aware of it or if they prefer that you replace it with something else.
Consider the perks’ purpose - the reason why it’s being implemented, and reflect on the differences between each perk. Do they bring convenience to your employees? Does it bring continuous education or a career path? Does it give them a sense of connection and belonging? Does it give them a work-life balance? These questions are a good place to start.
You also have to think about how much these perks will cost, but we believe company culture shouldn’t be about the size of your wallet but the size of your heart. There are multiple ways to customize a perk that seems out of the budget. For example, if you can’t get a gym membership for all your employees, you can develop a fitness contest and reward them with a free massage if they hit a certain goal related to that contest.
Consider the number of employees your perk supports as well. If you’re providing free beer, there can be some team members that don't drink beer. Be sure to give an honest assessment of how many people and who they’ll apply to when choosing a perk.
Last but not the least, think about the impact they’ll have on an individual and the business as a whole. There are different types of impact: proactive and reactive. Proactive perks are those that are offered to proactively align with new company values or industry trends, while reactive perks are in response to the competitors in the industry or when you realize that there’s something that needs to be addressed within the company. An example of a reactive perk is when you notice that the team is getting stressed out lately, you can institute a bring your pet day or a happy hour to let them lose that stress.
Now that you have an idea of which perks to choose and their importance to your company, you’re all set!
What are the 4 major types of employee benefits?
Traditionally, most benefits fall under these types:
However, the list of employee benefits continues to grow as time passes. We listed the different examples of employee benefits:
Benefits at work
Working hours & leave. This includes additional holidays, paid parental leave, or anything that relates to the possibility of an employee to deciding about their working hours.
Skills development. Paid training, reskilling, and upskilling are some examples. Skills development is essential for organizations to remain competitive.
Food & Beverage. Free lunches, fruit, and coffee fall into this. This is a good way to promote healthy eating habits at work.
Employee clubs, activities & gifts. These are knitting clubs, running groups, game nights, Secret Santas, anniversary gifts, and more!
Benefits for health
Health and wellness. Employee wellness programs have been increasing and the possibilities are endless. They vary from simple gym membership to full-suite solutions that include physical, mental & financial wellness.
Healthcare. Physiotherapy, chiropractic sessions, fertility treatments, and psychological support can be included in this category.
Benefits for financial security
Pension plans. These are important for every generation, but they’re not among the top ten most appreciated benefits.
Insurances. It sometimes comes with the simple fact of being an employee. While other types of insurance benefits include parental leave of injury.
Financial benefits. Commissions, bonuses, and the possibility of buying company shares they work for are examples!
Personal finance benefits. A good example of this is employee financial wellness.
Work-life balance. Childcare, grocery delivery, and legal services are some examples.
Mobility. This means the flexibility to work from home or elsewhere. They’ll still have to come into the office regularly, though. This category covers things like public transport, cars, bicycles, carpooling, etc.