Despite what employers may wish were true, it’s no longer a buyer’s market. Highly skilled people have lots of opportunities, so employers who get creative about enticing candidates will often “win” the best and the brightest people. These days it’s about more than a 401k and a foosball table—employees want inspiring perks that make a difference. According to a recent poll by Glassdoor (plus our own experience), some of the most appreciated 21st century benefits are truly creative, and not all that expensive! Take a look:
Traveling creates more open-minded and tolerant people and this can certainly have a positive impact on employee energy, creativity, and perspective. Investing in travel sends a message that you value mental health and endorse time away to rest and recharge. This can be a real investment, or even something more modest. Airbnb gives employees a full $2,000 per year to travel and, of course, stay at their listings all around the world. But what employee would turn away any level of travel investment that would help defray the cost of a long-awaited trip?
Paid Maternity & Paternity Leave
While there is mandated Family Leave via the FMLA, companies can always choose to do more. For example, Netflix is extravagant and offers a full year of paid leave—and they let new parents elect to return to work part-time if they choose. An honorable mention goes to Spotify—they offer six months of paid maternity leave and the same flexible options for returning to work. Does this kind of investment build long-term loyalty? The jury is out, but what new parent has time for a job search? Grateful parents + sleep deprivation may just equal increased loyalty.
Just Because Days
Don’t feel like coming in to work one day? How about a “Yay Day” to spend on your favorite outdoor activity? Seattle-based sporting goods store, REI gives employees two paid days each year to play outside!
Paid Volunteer Days
Salesforce offers the generous perk of being paid to give back. They give six paid volunteer days each year and if an employee uses all six days, their charity of choice receives a donation. Other companies offer a day of paid community service time. Find what fits your budget!
Get Paid to Read
Dr. Seuss famously wrote, “The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Twilio gives employees a Kindle and $30 a month to spend on books. Research shows that people who read regularly are more confident, less stressed, and happier over all.
Kids are expensive! Facebook gives a cash payout to employees who have a newborn baby at home. They give $4,000, but as any parent will tell you: any amount helps.
Student Loan Assistance
PwC helps employees pay off their student loans by giving them up to $1,200 a year toward loan reimbursement. Can’t afford that much? Contributing an extra $500 a year onto an employee’s student loan balance will still save them a surprising sum.
While perks like these are a great way to court potential employees and get them excited about joining your team, they should not be confused with bigger picture items like a defined company culture, career advancement opportunities, and strong senior leadership. Perks will definitely help reel in new people, but they won’t keep you from losing a valuable employee, so remember to examine the big picture when evaluating what your company has to offer.