To entice candidates to say yes to the job, many companies focus on compensation—the salary, the bonus structure, stock options, and retirement [401(k) Plan or RRSP, for example]—and big benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation. These are important and are weighted heavily by prospective employees. But all other things being equal, non-monetary perks and benefits can make the difference when candidates are on the fence about taking a job at your company.
What are Non-Monetary Perks?
Non-monetary perks are the nice-to-have benefits companies offer, though ‘non-monetary’ is a bit of a misnomer. Often these perks cost companies money, and they save workers time and money. Tech companies draw a lot of attention for their flashy perks, such as on-site chefs cooking free meals for employees, or concierge service to help employees manage personal errands. But non-monetary perks need not be expensive—or envy-inducing—to be valuable to employees and companies. A 2015 Employment Confidence Survey by Glassdoor found that 79 percent of workers prefer increases in perks and benefits to a salary increase, and many of their preferences focused on work/life balance rather than money.
Here are some non-monetary perks to consider adding to your benefits package:
Flexible Schedules and Working Arrangements
The days where all workers were expected to be in-office five days a week are fast disappearing in many industries. Online collaboration tools, such as Slack, and video conferencing apps keep employees up to speed at home, the coffee shop, or in shared workspaces. This approach alleviates employee stress because workers don’t have to cope with a daily commute, or worry how they will manage when a child is home sick from school.
Clear parameters and trust are critical in these arrangements. For example, clarify if the work-from-home option is available only two days per week and set your expectations for timely email responses. Then convey your trust that the employee will be available and get the job done.
Health and Wellness Programs
Busy workers often let fitness, health, and stress-reduction activities slip through the cracks when they have to squeeze them in at end of day or on the weekends. Many companies now offer wellness programs at the office such as yoga and exercise classes, meditation workshops, chair massages, and nutrition counseling. This helps workers de-stress and can lower future healthcare costs for the company.
Employees are keenly aware that staying competitive in today’s changing economy means learning new things and adding to their skills. But it’s difficult for them to find time for that when they are busy working long hours. Offer training and workshops in the office that help build your employees’ soft and hard skills. Send them to conferences to keep up to date on the industry, and give them opportunities to network with peers. Offer tuition reimbursement and time for leadership programs and continuing education. This shows employees you are invested in their career growth, which is particularly important to younger workers.
Let your employees truly refresh over the weekend by taking tedious and time-consuming personal errands off their plate during the week. It doesn’t cost much to hire a concierge company to manage laundry pick-ups, oil changes, and car washes for your employees. Workers usually pick up the cost of the price of the service itself, but the scheduling is managed for them and the service happens while they are working.
Affordable Perks, Big Dividends
The following are a few perks that improve employee satisfaction at little to no cost:
- Bring Your Dog to Work Days
- Celebrating the birthdays of employees and their spouses
- Casual dress policy
- Providing healthy snacks
- Break room games and activities
How Perks Benefit Companies
These added perks—even simply ensuring workers have fresh, high-quality coffee available through the day—are not insignificant. They make employees feel valued for their contributions to the workplace, and understood as individuals with interests and concerns beyond the office walls, which improves employee engagement and retention rates. Finally, these non-monetary benefits improve your company’s appeal to candidates by showing you are attentive to office culture and care about having happy employees.
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