You don’t have to be a tech startup to offer the kind of workplace perks that really earn job seekers’ attention.
Crazy, unconventional benefits like unlimited vacation days or a company ski trip may get you media attention, but as it turns out, most job seekers are enticed by a more traditional set of perks.
In a CareerBuilder survey released in January 2015, job seekers said they would choose the following employee perks to make their workplaces more satisfying:
- Half-day Fridays – 40%
- On-site fitness center – 22%
- Daily catered lunches – 21%
- Massages – 16%
- Being able to wear jeans – 15%
In my experience, perks are about loyalty. The right set of extra perks can make job seekers pass up other opportunities and wait for an opening at your company.
They can also make your current employees not want to leave. Sure, job seekers can find similar (sometimes better) pay and benefits elsewhere. But if you can offer your employees a workplace experience that’s unique and personally rewarding, you’re giving them distinct reasons to choose your company over others.
Here are some practical employee perks that I’ve seen make the biggest impression on job candidates. If they’re surprising, it’s because of their simplicity.
1. Volunteer hours
Say goodbye to the “me” culture and hello to the “we” culture. In my opinion, giving your employees time to volunteer has become almost equivalent to giving them time off.
Employees today want to belong to something bigger than your company. Particularly for millennials, your company’s charity and volunteer initiatives can influence a job seeker’s decision to accept your offer. Employees are balancing work and life in new ways. On-the-job volunteering is an extension of that.
2. Getting to acknowledge national events
Sporting events, holidays and national events can unify your workforce when you acknowledge them collectively.
For example, before the Super Bowl, let your employees come to work wearing their favorite team jersey. Occasionally let them dress to show patriotism or support for a certain cause.
These personal expressions help your employees get socially involved at the workplace, giving them common ground on which they may build more productive working relationships. Special days at the office add meaning to the workplace because employees want to be a part of something fun, and they want to be a part of something sincere. It’s not always about getting extra time off.
Letting your employees engage in a bit of friendly competition is another way to make your workplace more satisfying. I always recommend making contests about meeting some organizational goal rather than just creating a game for competition’s sake. That way, your employees stay focused on their work.
For example, if your company wants to add more customers to your book of business, reward the salesperson who brings in the most new business in a month. Or if you want current customers to be purchasing more of your product or service, reward the employee who adds a certain volume to your customers’ orders. Add in a few buzz-worthy prizes – like a priority parking spot or ticket to a special event – and you’ve really given your employees something to look forward to (although even an attractive certificate will motivate many employees to win).
4. Being appreciated for hard work
Most of the employee perks highlighted in the CareerBuilder survey – half-day Fridays, daily catered lunches, massages, being able to wear jeans – are expressions of employee appreciation. When you incentivize these kinds of perks – by offering one at project completion, for example – they become a “thank you” for a job well done.
Economic improvements and a brighter job outlook mean many workers are becoming motivated to look for bigger, better opportunities this year.
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