If you’re looking for ways to motivate your employees and retain your top talent, here are some benefits to consider.
Some out-of-the-box benefits to consider:
- Student loan repayment help or counseling
- Onsite childcare or other support for parents
- Shortened days or weeks (e.g., 4-day work week)
- A pet-friendly workplace
- Closing the office down over Christmas (paid days off without using PTO)
The war on talent doesn’t seem to have an endpoint, making it more challenging than ever to recruit and hire. Business leaders, department heads, and HR teams are looking for creative ways to attract applicants, focusing on what perks and benefits to consider to fit the job seekers in their area.
Job postings list what the company is looking for in a candidate, but these days they should also be focusing on what candidates are looking for in a company. Sometimes, letting candidates know you’re willing to think outside the box is all it takes to drive traffic to your organization.
To attract top talent, you should focus on what candidates are looking for in a company.
Here are some popular and some not-so-well-known benefits to consider that might help you snag top talent in your area.
Providing assistance with short- and long-term financial planning is gaining momentum in small businesses and large ones. This perk benefits employees and businesses. Newer entrants into the workforce gain a better understanding of how to manage budgets and finances. Mid-range workers can get help eliminating debt, planning to buy a home, or saving to send kids to college. When more senior workers are financially retirement-ready, they take the burden of high-wage earners off business and make way for junior staffers down the ladder to move up.
If you have a 401(k) plan for yourself or staff, you probably already have access to financial planners. If not, work with a planner in your area to provide low- or no-cost services to staff. Assistance with financial wellness and planning is an attractive benefit you should consider, and widely promote, when you post ads for talent.
Paid leave through STD/LTD insurance
Most employees don’t realize that low-cost short- and long-term disability insurance can bridge the gap between unpaid and paid leaves of absence. Either plan can help employees get over the financial hurdle of time off when they’re sick or injured — even if the injury didn’t occur at work. Short-term disability coverage may be available to continue receiving an income after the birth of a child.
Short-term and long-term disability coverage may be one of the most cost-effective insurance coverages.
Of all the insurance coverages available to staff members, providing STD and LTD coverages may be one of the most cost-effective. Unfortunately, it’s also misunderstood and under-utilized. Make sure to outline what the benefit provides to job seekers and employees in the event they’re sick or injured.
Child/dependent care assistance
These days, businesses that provide child care onsite may have an advantage over those that don’t, but not everyone has the space to do so. There are other ways to attract working parents that are beneficial to your headcount and bottom line. Businesses can earn up to $150,000 in annual tax credits if they support parents or others who use caregiver services. If you offer this benefit, make sure it headlines your job postings — especially for local talent. Working parents and those who use care services are a vast talent pool. If you can help with their needs you may be able to significantly grow your applicant stream.
Student loan debt repayment or counseling
Student loan debt can be a crushing entrance into the working world. According to a recent survey, nearly half of American businesses are trying to help workers to reduce or eliminate the burden.
Nearly half of American businesses try to help employees reduce or eliminate their student loan debts.
You don’t have to be a mega-conglomerate to help. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 allows employers to make tax-free contributions of up to $5,250 a year to reduce their employees’ student debt. These payments are not included in the employee’s taxable income. The program is slated to continue through 2025. If you’re hiring entry-level grads, this benefit could put you on the top of their “want to work there” list.
Compressed work days/week
One of the lessons learned from the pandemic was that 9 to 5 Monday through Friday was never set in stone. Compressed work weeks, either 10 hour days 4 days a week, or one day off per week, are gaining popularity as workers reenter offices and job sites.
Companies are finding compressed schedules help employees better achieve work/life balance. They can also help reduce the cost of caregivers, commutes, and other employee expenses. Businesses see an increase in employee loyalty and productivity with a reduction in facilities costs and carbon footprint. Every ad you post with a compressed workweek feature will attract more job seekers to apply.
Paid volunteer days
If you can tap into a job seeker’s passion you may be able to attract them. If you actively support it, your chances are even higher. Volunteerism is a great way to help in your community and beyond. It’s good for businesses to cultivate community relationships and even better when they can get employees involved.
Paid volunteer time off can show job seekers you’re willing to put your money where your mission is. Either offering time to volunteer for company-sponsored opportunities or those they personally support, this benefit appeals to job seekers looking for an organization with a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Holiday and summer scheduling
It may seem like a small benefit, but summers and holidays are hectic and pressure-filled for workers. Some organizations close down completely for a week or two in the summer to give all their staff members a chance to plan vacations without fear of getting bumped. Others create summer hours — half-days or off on Mondays or Fridays.
If possible, consider closing down the office for the week between Christmas and New Year.
Still other close the week between Christmas and New Year to let staffers enjoy time with family and come back for the new year refreshed. Whether it’s a bonus shopping day in December, or two weeks off in the summer, holiday scheduling is a perk most job seekers don’t look for, but like it when they see it.
Many companies are creating pet-friendly environments as part of their benefits and perks. These offer staff members the chance to bring their fur, feathered, or scaled babies to the office every day or occasionally. For staffers whose pets are anxious (or destructive) when home alone, this can be a very important perk.
Some even allow time off when the employee gets a new pet. Fur-turninty leave helps the newest four-legged family member acclimate to a new home with their human before they’re left on their own. Supporting staffers’ non-human family members is a great way to attract talent who loves their pet(s).
Do employees get food, dry cleaning, or other deliveries at home? Allowing them to get these benefits at work not only stops porch pirates from grabbing their goodies — it gives workers more time to decompress. When meals and groceries are delivered to the office (you may need an extra fridge or some storage area), that’s one fewer errand employees have to run after work.
Providing delivery access (and face it, delivery drivers are at your business every day anyway) gives employees peace of mind for their purchases. For other deliveries like food or groceries, they’ll be grateful for the time they don’t have to spend off the clock. Everything you can do to help work/life balance makes you a more attractive workplace to job seekers.
Lump birthdays together — have one celebration for all birthdays within a month.Everyone likes birthday cake and a quick office party, but a day off with pay is even better. A birthday off is a low-cost benefit that really speaks to job seekers. Not only is it a bonus day with pay, but it also lets employees know you’re remembering their special day.
For companies that like to have their cake and eat it too, you might think giving staff members the day off means no celebration. But you can actually still schedule a once-a-month cake day for all the birthdays that month. That way you acknowledge everyone (and gets a slice of yummy cake), and still gets their day off. The payoff for business – fewer cakes to buy and fewer office disruptions.
Your small- to medium-sized business may not be able to compete with the mega-corps in your area, but often it’s the small touches that make the difference for job seekers. Think outside the box when it comes to benefits — look for cost-effective perks that employees really want. They could make it easier for you to hire and retain talent.