Are you offering the employee benefits your workforce wants and deserves? Benefits make for happy employees, and happy employees are naturally more productive. There are many studies backing this up, including research that involved 700 people by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy in Britain. They found that happy workers who were given “happiness shocks” (these were perks like snacks—not actual electricity jolts) and then asked to perform a task were up to 20 percent more productive than control groups who weren’t given such happy “shocks.”
What else is shocking? Just how easy and affordable it often is to modify and increase benefits and perks for your employees. Think outside the box. Employee benefits extend beyond good healthcare and ample vacation days. Plus, happy employees rich in benefits aren’t just more productive, they tend to stick with their companies longer. These benefits can also attract better new-hires, so the circle of happiness and productivity continues.
To determine if your perks are helping productivity or not, you should start by gauging employee productivity. This measurement can depend on your business, industry, and the individual job requirements of the employee. For instance, if your business is selling cars, it’s pretty easy to gauge how productive your salespeople are. But what about your admin staff? That’s not so easy.
Before you modify benefits to increase productivity, make sure you have current, measurable, and fair standards in place to gauge the productivity of each position. Starting from scratch? Bring in a third party that specializes in employee productivity and have your current team be active participants.
Ask anyone to name employee benefits, and the basics like healthcare and sick days are at the top of the list. Some benefits are mandated by state and federal law, but don’t let that limit you. Consider these popular and trending benefits:
- Free or low-cost childcare. This has been a staple at many universities for years. It’s not possible for all employers, but it’s certainly a major perk that will attract working parents committed to “doing it all.”
- Free gym membership. Bonus points if the gym is on-site or walkable. Happy employees are more productive, and so are healthy employees. Here are some other wellness programs to consider.
- Birthdays off. It’s so simple, and so much better than the standard sheet cake and singing “Happy Birthday” in the break room.
- Flexible hours and telecommuting options. Not every role is a match for telecommuting or virtual offices, but many can be. Not all employees are the right match, either, so it takes a little trial and error. However, you might be able to lower overhead and give employees the benefit of working remotely if that’s the right fit.
Health benefits don’t have to mean just good quality healthcare coverage. Take a fresh look at available plans and policies every year and ask your current employees what they want in a healthcare plan. Many want more holistic options and alternative care covered, such as licensed massage therapy and acupuncture. Workers want and deserve mental health days that are covered, and they’re looking for quality coverage without unbearable deductibles. If healthy employees equate to happier employees who need fewer sick days, then it’s a win-win for everyone.
Benefits can make or break a job offer. They can attract the best candidates and, more importantly, keep them.