When it comes to employee benefits, Google, Facebook, and similar tech companies reign at the top of the list. Perks like extended parental leave, covered newborn costs, reimbursed health and fitness classes, on-site gym, free lunches, paid sabbaticals and extra vacation days all seem to be growing in popularity across the board as more companies actively work to improve employee satisfaction. This is the age of the employee and retention is difficult yet crucial.
However, having all these perks available also presents a problem: companies wanting to recruit top talent and retain the best employees have to be more creative and competitive in the kinds of perks offered.
Here are 10 of the most fantastic, not-so-typical employee perks we found:
1. Paid volunteerism
As more millennials look for companies that actively engage in the community and social causes, volunteerism is becoming a more popular employee perk. Salesforce.com provides seven days of paid volunteer time as well as $1,000 to donate each year. And Adobe is following suit by giving employees $250 to donate for every 10 hours of volunteer work.
2. Hang ten time
Wouldn’t it be nice to have your ten minute break turn into a few minutes to hang ten? At Patagonia, employees can go surfing in the middle of the workday. In fact, the front desk provides a daily notification with weather and wave updates so employees go when the surf is best.
3. Fresh flowers and Chair massages
We hear plenty about massage therapy, but what about some fresh, soothing aromatherapy? Part of the wellness program for Integrative Nutrition provides fresh flowers on everyone’s desk each day, along with the biweekly chair massages.
4. Soccer tournament
At Bain & Company, the company promotes healthy lifestyles through its annual “Bain World Cup” soccer tournament. Every employee is encouraged to participate, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
5. Yachts and jets
JM Family Enterprises doesn’t just provide the traditional perks of free haircuts, massage therapy and dry cleaning. This company keeps life classy with access to corporate yachts and jets. For business purposes, of course.
6. Education for life
Most companies now offer on-site classes or stipends to cover extra courses so that employees can continue to grow outside of a career. For example, the Evernote Academy provides team-building courses, such as baking macaroons and sausage-making. Eileen Fisher reimburses up to $1,000 for pursuits like yoga training, pottery classes, museum memberships, and horseback riding.
7. Private shopping mall
Microsoft hasn’t created its own currency for the mall (yet), but the company’s shopping mall (known as The Commons) contains food, tech, music, sporting goods, dry cleaning, banking and other stores exclusively for employees. Who wouldn’t love a private shopping trip?
8. Reading allowance
9. Glorious food
Free food will always bring people around. FactSet doesn’t just provide free lunches; the company has on-site pie, Chinese and cupcake trucks. There’s also a company gym to work off everything you just ate.
10. Fashion stipend
Dressing professionally has always been a pain, and a costly one at that. Umpqua Bank will provide a $500 clothing advance to help employees build their business wardrobes.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of perks that can play a crucial role in attracting top talent and building employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction factors, however, don’t necessarily lead to engagement. Satisfaction is transactional and contractual. The company promises to provide employees with compensation, safety, respect, and perks. The employee promises to do the work required by the company. The key fact here is this: the organization owns and controls employee satisfaction; employee engagement requires the efforts of both employer and employee––a 50-50 proposition.
As the employer continues to follow through on the contractual promises, the employee will continue to be satisfied in the workplace and produce the necessary work. Therefore, incorporating perks such as the ones listed above is vital to attracting top talent and creating employee satisfaction in your own company. Learn more about improving your employee satisfaction by reading ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement.