Dear time-traveler from the 1970s, we’ve got news for you: employees now expect to be treated fairly. (Also, disco is dead.) Indeed, companies can no longer get away with providing the bare minimum for their employees if they want to stay afloat.
In addition to getting paid fairly, employees now want perks that ensure a good work-life balance and a positive company environment. Basically, they don’t want to hate their job. It’s not a huge ask considering the dedication and work ethic that is expected of them.
For employers, providing perks makes business sense too: satisfied employees are more productive. In fact, economists at the University of Warwick found that happiness increased productivity by 12%.
Here are nine of the most desired perks that every company should consider offering.
A lot of things changed as a result of COVID-forced telework. Dog happiness went up. The number of weekly showers went down. Productivity — mostly stayed the same. And even though the pandemic is waning in the US, there’s really no reason to send employees back to the office full-time if their job can be done remotely.
A Bloomberg study actually predicts a 5% productivity increase for work-from-home employees in a post-COVID world. Giants like Google and Twitter have joined the work-from-home revolution and companies should follow suit if they want to attract top talent.
Flexible work hours
Everyone’s circadian rhythm is different: some people are early birds, others are night owls. As such, imposing a stringent schedule on employees can be counterproductive. In addition to flexible work-from-home policies, many in the workforce want flexible hours too, according to Flex Jobs.
After all, who cares when you get your work done as long as you get it done? Companies that are currently enforcing an old fashioned Dolly Parton 9-to-5 might want to change course. (Of course, some time constraints should be set to allow for meetings and collaboration.)
Generous paid time off
Not only is it a great perk for the prospective employee, it’s a great perk for a business! According to a SHRM study, 75% of employees who take most or all of their vacation time perform better than the rest.
Working for a company that not only gives you generous paid leave but encourages you to use it can only benefit both parties. Make sure that is the attitude of the company you decide to work for.
Generous parental leave
Deciding between having a family or a career isn’t a choice anyone should have to make. European countries have set the gold standard for parental leave policies — Swedish mothers get about 16 months of paid maternity leave — but companies stateside are starting to catch up.
As a result, many employees expecting a child or wanting a family are now opting to work for companies that offer generous parental leave policies and child-care assistance.
The world moves fast and very few jobs today are exactly as they were 10 years ago (or three weeks ago if you’re in tech). A lot of workers nowadays expect their employers to provide training and development so they can stay on top of their field.
For companies, there are many ways to help provide those resources: workshops, online training, industry conferences, mentorship programs and more. It’s a mutually beneficial proposition: employees get to be more employable, employers get highly skilled and more productive employees. Everybody wins!
Higher education today costs an arm, a leg and probably some other limbs too. US News reports that tuition at an in-state, public school runs about $10,000/year. And that’s not even counting room and board, books and all the other fun expenses. So it should come to no surprise that many younger job seekers are prioritizing companies that can help them with their school debt.
Many national and local companies have reacted accordingly, like Biofire Diagnostics, which offers up to $8,000/year in tuition reimbursement.
Employees are tired. Stressed. They have limited free time. And so very often, the last thing they want to do when they do have a moment to spare is to exercise. Besides, isn’t dealing with life’s curveballs basically playing a sport? For many, long and tiring days at work prevent them from having the motivation to work out.
To remedy that, many employers have started providing wellness benefits. Those can include access to fitness classes, gym membership reimbursement and company-sponsored sports teams. Such benefits result in healthier and happier employees that can run from one conference room to the next in record time.
Free lunch and snacks
Buying food is expensive. Making food takes a lot of time. Time and money are some of the scarcest resources to most people. Free lunch, breakfast and snacks are perks that almost every employee will enjoy (unless they hate saving time and money). The caveat is that those food options, or at least some of them, should be healthy — otherwise, the previously mentioned wellness benefits would be for naught.
Employers don’t have to be Google and serve world-class buffets every day but providing some food options will go a long way in making employees happy and prospective employees interested.
And of course, fair compensation
All the perks referenced in this article are awesome and employers should seriously consider implementing them if they haven’t yet. But they should also remember that these perks are meant to supplement fair compensation packages, not replace them. Office ping-pong tournaments don’t mean anything to employees if they’re not being paid an adequate salary or offered good health insurance.
Want to work for a company with awesome perks that’s been named one of the top places to work in Utah? Head to the BioFire career page and check out their open positions (and benefits offered!). If you want to learn more about what employees have to say about their benefits offered, check out these glowing reviews on Glassdoor.