Every company wants to attract the top-tier talent in their industry, but with heavy competition in many verticals, that’s often easier said than done. Beyond offering above-market salaries to score the most sought-after candidates in their respective fields, what can today’s businesses offer to make working at their companies especially appealing for the most talented professionals?
To find out what perks are most effective at attracting and securing top talent, we reached out to a panel of HR pros, company founders, CEOs, consultants, and other business leaders and asked them to answer this question:
“What are some of the best employee perks an employer can offer to entice the top talent?”
Meet Our Panel of HR Pros, CEOs, Founders, and Business Leaders:
Read on to find out what our experts had to say about the best employee perks employers can offer in order to entice top talent.
Darren Schreher is the Hiring Manager for INTO THE AM and iHeartRaves, curators of all over print clothing and world leaders in festival fashion.
“One of the things we’ve done is…”
Created a full-time position called Director of Happiness. The primary responsibility is team member engagement and morale. We’ve also made sure that clear goals are set for each team member which are measurable and broken down annually and quarterly. As a result, every team member knows what winning looks like. Another idea we implemented was providing transparent and open recognition which is given by fellow team members and then projected onto a 10-foot high screen on the front wall of our office. Each recognition is also tied to one of our core values. Additionally, we give personalized birthday celebrations, free music festival tickets as rewards, and a team member of the month award worth $500. Lastly, we do a monthly town hall meeting recognizing the major wins of each department followed by free lunch and games. We are certain that these kinds of initiatives lead to decreased turnover and happier employees.
Stuart Ridge is the Chief Marketing Officer at VitaMedica, a physician-formulated nutraceutical company that supports people in achieving optimal health. He has over 20 years of experience in marketing and managing high-performing marketing teams.
“Offer ‘lifestyle’ perks…”
Demonstrate investment in the work-life balance by offering “lifestyle” perks. Lifestyle perks could include offering a stipend for a gym membership, setting up remote work options to accommodate parents or attract talent from a wider geographic area, and establishing a pet-friendly office. Fun perks like happy hours or office-wide contests may attract great talent and cultivate office culture, but lifestyle perks make the job more compatible with life outside of work. While lifestyle perks do require more initial investment, the overall cost to the company is far less than the cost of a high rate of turnover.
Steven Benson is Founder/CEO of Badger Maps, the #1 route planner for field salespeople. Steve’s career has been in sales with companies like IBM, Autonomy, and Google – becoming Google Enterprise’s Top Performing Salesperson in the World in 2009. Steve founded Badger to help field salespeople be more successful.
“I believe that offering different types of flexible work arrangements is…”
Crucial in today’s competitive hiring market. It’s not only important for the employees, but it also benefits the company in that it will attract great talent and retain its best employees as they go through different phases in their lives.
We have implemented a policy where Badger employees can work half time for half pay or remotely after they have a child. We already had the standard (at least in the Silicon Valley) six weeks off paid, and then an option to take another 3 months off after that unpaid. But we felt like some people at our company would need more and ongoing flexibility. So they can do the 50/50 plan on an ongoing basis, renewable every three months to make sure it’s still working for everybody.
Providing career development opportunities and training to help employees reach their full potential is also key to attracting top talent. I teach my employees two things: the strategy and direction of the business and the set of skills they need to be successful. The goal is to give them the information and knowledge they need to thrive in their role and help them develop through regular coaching, feedback, and one-on-one meetings. I regularly meet with my employees to make sure they’re being adequately challenged in their role and satisfied with their growth and career development.
Most companies can’t compete with Google’s or Microsoft’s pay and perks, but ultimately people want to work at a welcoming place that allows them to have successful and fulfilling careers and grow as a professional. But it’s hard to fake; you have to create an authentic, genuinely awesome place to work and establish a great culture to attract top talent. I hope and believe that we are creating the kind of company with an environment where all types of people can thrive in.
Dana Case is the Director of Operations at MyCorporation.com.
“I find that one of the best employee perks is being able to provide flexible scheduling options to all of your team members…”
Flexible scheduling helps to achieve work/life balance and gives your employees the ability to come in earlier/stay later and make it for other outside commitments like dental appointments or soccer games for the kids. By accommodating the scheduling needs of your team members and their personal lives, you’ll see how much they feel appreciated and are motivated to work hard for the business.
Don Wede is the President of Heartland Funding Inc.
“I like to incentivize my associates with…”
Giving them a small piece of every deal we close. It is typically a bonus of $250.00 to $500.00. On larger deals $750.00 to $1,000.00. I feel this is a great motivator to keep the team engaged.
Airto Zamorano is one of the founders and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Numana Medical and Numana SEO. Before he launched his businesses in 2017, Airto was the CEO of a nine-location, multi-specialty medical practice and two facial plastic surgery practices.
“The best employee perks to attract top talent involve generous compensation packages and a focus on work/life balance…”
In our company, our plan is to follow a model that ties everyone to the financial success of the company. This works by educating our team to all aspects of the business (how things work and why we make certain decisions), and by being transparent with our company’s financial performance. We also invest heavily in training and development as the growth of our employees directly improves our bottom line.
Furthermore, we provide quality healthcare that is affordable and accessible. Paid time off is plentiful to reward hard work by recognizing that people need time to recuperate and enjoy life.
The work/life balance comes into play by offering flex schedules and an emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle. The key is to encourage our employees to utilize these benefits, so we built in considerations within our culture that encourage family time and physical wellness. Happier, healthier employees simply perform better.
Ultimately, the key is to show appreciation for your employees, and that you value their contributions to your success. We do so by having summits in desirable places, providing quality meals when possible, and taking a genuine interest in each person on our team.
Will Craig is the CEO of LeaseFetcher.
“We’ve experimented with a bunch of perks and…”
The most well-received initiative has been flexitime. If you’re not familiar with it, flexitime when an employee agrees to work a certain number of hours per week but gets to decide when (and often where) they do it. For a lot of roles, there’s no real justification for working nine-to-five so giving employees the benefit of flexitime lets them structure their work and live as they please.
Gregory Golinski is a Digital Marketing Manager for YourParkingSpace.
“A great employee perk to attract top talent is to offer flexible hours…”
Top talent will appreciate being able to tend to the obligations of family life. It also shows that you’re not trying to micromanage your team. You trust them enough to let them organize their own schedule.
Nate Masterson is the Marketing Manager for Maple Holistics.
“Comprehensive health care…”
Providing employees with a health care plan that covers more than the basics is a good way to attract and retain top talent in your company.
Paid leave is also a great way to entice top talent. Employees often choose which company to work for based on whether they provide paid holiday and sick leave.
Flexibility is one of the best employee perks a company can provide to attract top talent. Allowing employees to choose their own work hours or giving them the option to work from home when feasible helps to attract and retain top talent in the company.
Robin Schwartz is the Managing Partner and Content Writer for MFG Jobs.
“The best employee perks to offer that will entice top talent are…”
Offer Snow Days
When winter weather causes hazardous travel conditions, we encourage employees to stay home and take a “snow day.” Essentially, they are not charged against their leave for opting to stay out of the office. Many workers have children who may also have a canceled school day when bad weather hits. Encouraging employees to stay home, if possible, not only reduces the stress of their day but shows them that we value their safety. In return, we often see the employees online or still producing work remotely.
Offer Flexible Work Schedules
Being able to occasionally work remotely as well as being able to shift hours that best fit an employee’s life and job goes a long way in keeping employees happy and engaged. Knowing they are encouraged to balance their work and life is a great perk.
Offer Career Pathing
One of the top things most applicants are looking for is future growth or promotional abilities at a new company. If you are part of a large organization, you can probably speak to the promotions past incumbents of the position have received. Career pathing may be a little trickier for smaller organizations who have only seen steady job growth over the years. That being said, organizations of any size can still create a plan for incoming positions that include training opportunities, certification opportunities, managerial opportunities, etc. Showing a candidate that the company is invested in growing a new employee will allow him/her to see a potential future with the organization and provide a sense of future job security.
Offer A Great Culture
Your company should be aware of any cultural issues that exist within the organization. They should also have an idea where their employee engagement stands. If employees are coming to the office, punching a clock, then just going home, you will have a tough time standing out to potential applicants. If your organization has changes to make, make them. Work to create a collaborative environment that supports the growth of the employee, their work-life balance, and the success of the company as a whole. When your current employees are happy with the environment they work in, they will talk about it. They will not hesitate to recommend your organization over others to people they know.
Crystal McFerran is VP Marketing & Recruiting for Velo IT Group, a leading Dallas-based IT services provider. She is responsible for recruiting initiatives, digital marketing, PR, branding, and thought leadership. Prior to joining Velo, Crystal held progressive roles at HP, Accor, and Safety-Kleen, as well as within her own marketing consulting practice.
“Unlimited PTO is one of the top perks an employer can offer to entice sought-after talent…”
Providing unlimited PTO is a major draw for potential candidates and helps us attract and retain top talent, setting Velo apart from more traditionally minded, we-don’t-trust-you employers. The beauty of unique perks like unlimited PTO is that they afford employees the opportunity to live happier, healthier lives. Unlimited PTO is representative of company culture and demonstrates trust in employees and investment in work-life balance.
Stephanie Troiano is a Client Services Associate at The Hire Talent.
“The hiring landscape has changed since the recession hit in 2008…”
While less traditional perks, like a company gym, free snacks and lunches, in-office massage or yoga are definitely a great way to attract candidates, what really keeps top talent are practical, tried-and-true benefits. Things like health insurance, retirement investment opportunities like a 401(k), schedule flexibility like being able to pick up kids from school or work from home if needed, and PTO that is actually PTO, with no expectations to still check and respond to emails, is what top talent wants. Sometimes it’s as simple as knowing your next opportunity appreciates work/life balance and flexibility and offers holidays off because family is important too. I think the environment, the values, and the culture of the company impacts this as well, so these things are definitely taken into account with top talent.
Garrett is the Founder of RepCheckup, an online reputation management software, and Pitch + Pivot, an entrepreneurial marketing consultancy. He’s also the author of Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices and has been helping businesses successfully sell and marketing online since 1999.
“In larger cities, it is a great perk to offer car service at certain times to employees…”
Offering car service addresses one of the most important things when it comes to incentives, time, and money. Instead of employees needing to use ride-sharing services or public transportation after a long day in the office, they can enjoy a catered ride to unwind on the commute home!
Jill Caponera is the Senior PR Manager of Promocodes.com.
“Promocodes.com has invested in…”
Several employee perks that have genuinely kept employees here happy, and turnover extremely low. For starters, the company offers weekly catered lunches every Friday where employees get to vote online on where they’d like to order from (majority vote wins). This lunch perk creates a weekly time that employees can gather, socialize, and discuss fun weekend plans and it’s definitely a time that everyone looks forward to! Additionally, every Friday we stop working at 4:30 pm (rather than the usual 5:30 pm) and enjoy a company happy hour or BBQ on our rooftop deck. This is a great unwinding time that every employee has expressed gratitude for.
On top of that, twice a month employees here have the option to participate in a company-sponsored spin class at a studio right around the corner from the office – another great perk that promotes health and wellness, and twice a year employees enjoy a full-day company outing (last month’s outing was at a Malibu, CA winery). Promocodes.com also offers a generous vacation policy and provides two floating holidays (one for each half year) in addition to a birthday day off which can be used any day during the month of your birthday. Employees here certainly feel invested in and appreciate the team building, collaborative culture which is a testament to the longevity the company has seen out of many of its employees.
Steve Thorley is the CEO of The Changing Workplace.
“Some of the best perks to offer are…”
1. Flexible Working
Our most popular and attractive perk. Not only is it cheap for companies to introduce it also comes with additional benefits to the company such as extended office hours and coverage outside the usual 9-5. As a company based in a small commuting town, it’s a huge help for employees who rely on public transport. It doesn’t matter if their train is delayed and it also means they can purchase tickets outside peak hours saving money.
2. Season Ticket Loans
Our second most popular benefit is an interest- and tax-free annual Season Ticket loan for bus and rail tickets. Repayment of the loan is spread over a 12 month period and deducted from the employee’s monthly pay. Our head office is based in a small commuter town on one of the most expensive commuter train lines in the UK (London-Brighton). This scheme is a huge help in making sure we stay competitive and attract away people from the higher paying big cities close to us.
3. Subsidized Health & Well-being Activities
We pay up to 20(GBP) a month to employees who pay for local activities or groups outside of work that support their health and well-being. This could be anything that supports their fitness or even a hobby that helps them relax and improve their mental well-being, such as pottery or painting classes. Supporting our employee’s general health also has the additional benefit of boosting productivity and reducing employee absenteeism through sickness or stress.
Activities we pay or have paid towards include:
- Gym memberships
- Fitness classes
- Sports club membership
- Weight-loss group membership (e.g., Slimming World, Weightwatchers)
- Pottery classes
4. Summer Socials
We started introducing more organized social events to improve the social atmosphere in our office including a summer social to reward the hard work throughout the year and make up for the lull between Christmas activities. Last year we went go-karting at a leisure park close to our office. The previous year we had a much smaller budget, so we organized a sports day at the local park followed by refreshments and takeout pizza. We got to have the afternoon off work playing volleyball and competing in team races. Expenses were small, all sports equipment was sourced or borrowed through employees, and the only costs to company were the hours off work, pizza, refreshments, and chocolate medals for the winners.
Ally is an entrepreneur and founder of Woof Signs, an online sign manufacturer that is enabling small batch and one-off customization that is both simple and beautiful. Prior to her entrepreneurial life, Ally spent her career in enterprise sales in the tech, retail and consumer goods space, leading account teams and working with Fortune 500 companies to define and execute their advertising and marketing strategies.
“The most effective employee perks for attracting top talent are…”
Top talent in most cases will be individuals who are self-motivated and drive results. These individuals do not need to and do not want to be confined by the regular 9-5 work arrangement. They want to be allowed flexible work arrangements where they’re in control of their time, in turn, they’ll drive results for your company on their own terms.
Top talent will be laser-focused on driving results, and they’ll want to share in the gains. Offering equity or profit sharing helps individuals feel truly tied to their results and helps them to feel a sense of ownership within the company.
David Bass, Founder of DB Charles, has worked in recruitment for over a decade and has seen both exceptional and deficient services provided in the industry. His ambition is to provide premium recruitment based on client needs, candidate goals and professional consultancy in the truest sense of the word.
“For me, the best benefit that can be offered in today’s current workplace is flexible working…”
As we progress through 2018, the topic of flexible working has become bigger and bigger, and we are starting to see businesses recognize the talent within people that require flexible working conditions (i.e., mothers returning from maternity leave, single parents, carers, and many others).
A recent CBI report has found that half of UK employers offer flexible working arrangements. Flexible working can fall under a number of circumstances from working from home, job sharing, part-time hours or another type of flexible arrangement. Employers should consider that not only are they an employer taking into consideration the needs of others but that it can also be a tremendous positive for the business in giving some spectacularly talented candidates the chance to demonstrate their skills. There is no reason why someone who can only work 4 out of 5 days couldn’t do the job of someone that could do a full week.
The fact is that it’s not only employees who benefit from flexible arrangements. Flexible working can increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and enhance employee engagement.
Fiona Adler writes about entrepreneurship at DoTheThings.com and is the founder of Actioned.com – a productivity tool for individuals and teams. With an MBA, multiple business successes, and a family living in a foreign country, she enjoys pushing the envelope to get the most out of life and loves helping others do the same.
“Top talent is presumably being paid well…”
So perks that they could buy themselves tend to have little value. The best perk of all is to be inspired by a greater vision and the ability to contribute towards that vision. Making progress towards meaningful goals in life is one of the strongest predictors of a person’s happiness. So the ability to align your business with this individual’s values is much more important than traditional perks. If your business is not inherently inspiring in some way, try to attach it to something else. For instance, the business could donate a percentage of their profits to a charity which is close to the executive’s heart. Or, each employee could be allowed to donate an amount related to their department’s success. Or alternatively, the company could find a way for executives to actually be involved with a meaningful cause – such as mentoring less privileged business people. These are the things that give executives social credit and talking points as well as giving them something to actually feel good about.
Kean Graham is the CEO of MonetizeMore, an 8-figure ad tech company that is a Google Certified Partner with a 100+ full-time staff based all around the planet.
“Below are the top 3 perks we offer to entice some of the best talent in our industry…”
Location Freedom: This is a rare offering today but especially within the ad tech industry. People are tired of hour-plus commutes, stuffy offices, and having to live in the city that their office happens to be in. Since people tend to value true lifestyle autonomy that has been a very interesting carrot for candidates we attempt to poach.
Schedule Freedom: Most people don’t tend to be most productive working from 9 – 5. Some work best during the early morning, some best late at night. Many also benefit from working in small chunks throughout the day. Giving team members the freedom to work during the time of day that’s best for them is quite valuable and has been sufficient reason to join MonetizeMore in some cases.
A Culture to Believe In: We truly believe we offer a work-lifestyle of the future with important cultural values that achieve strong buy-in from our team members. When we search for candidates, we filter by these cultural values to ensure strong culture fit. Those that are strong cultural fits tend to be tempted to join just because of what the company represents and its trajectory.
Robin is the President with strategic HR, inc. She has been in human resources for over 20 years with healthcare, manufacturing, service, and non-profit organizations creating solutions to help them recruit and retain the best and the brightest employees.
“The best employee perk to entice top talent is…”
A flexible work environment. Employees have the flexibility to arrive and leave to best accommodate their schedule on a regular basis (i.e., get the kids on the bus) and even exceptions (i.e., the cable guy is coming). We also have a fun work environment with music, standing desks, dart gun wars, happy hours, and Jenga games, to name a few. Employees can rent the owner’s condo in Siesta Key Florida for just $150/week.
Andrei Vasilescu is a renowned Digital Marketing expert and CEO of a money-saving platform in the name of DontPayFull. He provides cutting-edge digital marketing service to various international companies and different online coupons of various brands for years.
“Finding and hiring a talented hand for your business or retaining an efficient employee is…”
A hard task even in these days of high unemployment rates. Here are a few best employee perks which help you to achieve the goals of attracting and retaining top talent.
The most important reason for job-hopping is financial. Everyone wants more money for what he or she can do. Therefore, offer just above the amount that a candidate deserves in the market. Provide regular incentives for outstanding performance and announce target-based special incentives. If possible, offer a nominal percentage of the annual profit of your business, and skilled professionals will storm your business door.
To avoid emptying our savings due to possible major health issues, every one of us pays high amounts to medical insurance companies according to our capacity. As an employer, provide health insurance of certain limits to all of your employees and their families which will surely relieve them of their medical finance responsibilities. When your concern about your employees becomes known in the market, everyone will want to be your employee.
Flexible leave policy
Every employee has right to enjoy their paid leaves. If you are known as a bad boss for restricting your employees from taking their earned leaves, then – skilled or unskilled – no one will be interested in serving your business. To avoid this bad reputation, generously grant leaves to your best employees when they need them, for child birth, funerals of loved ones, and whenever their leaves do not harm your business. In short, be flexible with your leave policy.
Work from home
To encourage more talented employees to be on your payroll, implement a modern business operation system in which employees do not need to come to your office to do their jobs. Instead, let them handle their responsibilities from their own home and come to the office occasionally when possible. Your employees will be happy to work for you and surely put more effort to their tasks, and you will get much better outputs as a result.
Value results over time
If you rebuke your employees for taking too much time to complete certain tasks, you will get poor quality outputs and employees will not be interested in sticking around for the long-term. Instead, let them complete their tasks in their own time, which will ensure the quality of work and let them leave the office earlier if they complete their tasks before the end of the official work day. To retain good employees and improve productivity, you must prioritize results over time.
Provide time to relax
Working for someone else’s business can be tiresome, but it’s necessary to earn a living for most members of the workforce. The stress of continuous work for long hours reduces productivity and interest in the job. Therefore, allow your employees to take frequent short breaks from work and let them relax for a few minutes whenever they wish. A good coffee machine, a Carrom Board, a wide-screen TV, or other amenities will entice more talented professionals to work for you.
All these perks will work more effectively to attract top talent to your business, if you pay them better than the average market rate.
A professional relationship developed over six years, David Bowen and Cheryl Eldridge saw in each other shared values and working practices while always comfortable to challenge each other. They formed a vision of a recruitment agency that is an extension of an employers’ Human Resources department named Bowen Eldridge Recruitment.
“Some of the best employee perks include…”
A selection of the below, depending on the business, will allow a company to seem more attractive to potential employees and give them the jump on other companies. Some are standard across the board, but some are unique and can make the difference in a head-to-head with a competitor.
1. Flexible working
- Allow later mornings for people with children, doctor appointments, etc.
- Work from home
2. Seasonal cash bonuses
- Bonuses for great attendance
- Christmas/Easter bumps in salary
3. Early Friday finishes
- Half day or beer Friday
4. Free/discounted gym memberships
- Encourage staff to be healthy, ergo more productive and less sick days (proven)
- Reduces their expenses, so their salary is not increased, but they will have more money
- Marriott has staff fill out a interest questionnaire on their first day. Bonuses and incentives are personalized to the recipient’s taste.
- They also run an associates week every year, where games and different cultural meals are offered free each day – Indian, Mexican, Chinese etc.
6. Car parking
- Allow parking in office or build/hire spots for staff
- Traffic Jam media allows employees to take director spots when they are away or not in the office
- Staff get a percentage of profit and have a vested interest in the company
- Incentivizes employees to work better, as they’re rewarded more for it
8. Development days
- Allow staff to take time off each month to learn something new. It can be job-relevant or a personal hobby. The company decides on the boundaries.
9. Care packages
- Some companies give hampers, Netflix subscriptions, Easter bundles, etc.
- Partner with clients/customers to offer staff a percentage off their products/services
11. Shared paternity leave
- Offer the chance for males/females to split the paternity leave equally where needed. This is especially great when a couple works for same company.
Vladimir Gendelman is the Founder and CEO of Company Folders, winner of multiple awards, including making Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America three consecutive years and running. He’s a thought leader in print design and business, publishing numerous articles in major publications, including Forbes and Time.
“I don’t believe in gimmicks when it comes to attracting employees…”
We attract top talent by having a good culture with an emphasis on learning and growth and a family vibe. I run my business under the motto that people you work with every day are family, and if treated in that manner, they will appreciate and value that. It’s important to be mindful of the reasons why you provide perks. Going through a checklist of perks for attraction and retention is not authentic. But, when you do it because your employees are family and it’s the right thing to do, then it feels different.
With that said, we are a thought leader in our industry, and work on cool projects with out-of-the-box thinking and complex problem-solving. We have a cool office space with sit-to-stand desks as one of our perks because I believe it’s important for my employees’ health. I work to create a culture with perks based on what I would like to have as an employee. Our perks might not differ from other companies, but the reasons we have them are pure and authentic, and people like to be a part of that.
Ahmed Khalifa helps small businesses with WordPress sites to grow their online business, increase audience engagements and encourage more conversions.
“Anything that will help employees to save time (and money) tend to go a long way to create a happy atmosphere…”
For example, if you offer free carpool service to the office, it will save your employees a huge headache, as well as cost and potentially time, to commute to work, which will also allow them to arrive in good spirit and ready to go.
If you offer the options of having someone to come in and sell discounted fresh fruits and vegetables, your employees will feel less stressed about having to go to the shop to buy something for dinner.
If you have space, an in-office gym or exercise room with professional classes is another way for your employee to save the time and money to travel to the gym, but also keep themselves fit and healthy for work.
Syed Irfan Ajmal
Syed Irfan Ajmal is a growth marketing manager at Ridester, a columnist (World Bank, Forbes, HuffPo, and many more), an international speaker, and a business podcast show host.
“Below are some of the perks that we offer the employees of Ridester…”
1. Flexible hours; employees only have to complete a specific number of hours each week. In most cases, it is up to them to decide when they want to finish it.
2. The employee can work from anywhere in the world, and at any time. We don’t mind.
3. For top-performing employees, we offer them access to various courses and training programs our company purchases for them, apart from guiding and supporting them on getting various relevant certifications online from the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Hubspot.
4. Last but not least, we also pay for part of or all of the time they spend doing the courses. So not only do we pay for the courses, but we also pay for the time it takes them to complete it.
Matthew W. Burr
Matthew W. Burr is a Human Resources Consultant at Burr Consulting, LLC.
“Student loan reimbursement options or student loan repayment plans…”
Any organization would be smart to implement anything related to student loan assistance. This is the new dental insurance of this generation. It’s a perk that very few companies offer, but it is growing in popularity as more and more people are in debt.
Maura Thomas is a speaker, trainer, business owner, and author of Personal Productivity Secrets and Work Without Walls. Maura is a TEDx speaker, and a contributor to Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, and Thrive Global, in addition to being frequently featured in countless media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Inc. She’s also the most widely-cited authority on attention management, which she views as the new path to productivity.
“Employee retention is business leaders’ top concern right now…”
In a competitive job market, how can your company retain star performers, making sure they are happy and that they don’t leave for greener pastures? Raises can be part of the equation, but other perks that don’t cost money can also be helpful. Also, are you considering employee experience? Is your company a good place to work?
One of my core teachings about attention management is that no one can be productive — or happy! – for very long if they are constantly plugged into their jobs. Our brains just aren’t built that way. Your employees need breaks to rest, rejuvenate and get some distance from their work (even if they resist it). When they don’t take them, their work quality and their personal lives both suffer. With other options available to them, it will be harder for you to retain star performers. Even if they don’t make this connection between time off and job enjoyment, you should. So what can you do as a leader who wants to retain star performers? First, take a look at the office vacation schedule for this summer. Do your employees have time off scheduled? Do you? There’s an epidemic of American workers forfeiting days off. That’s bad for productivity and employee retention. Unfortunately, many employees still consider skipping vacation a badge of honor. That’s why leaders should actively encourage employees to use all their days off — and unplug from the office while they’re gone. It also helps to set an example by taking vacation yourself and leaving someone else in charge so you don’t have to check in while you’re gone.
But it isn’t just extended periods away from the office that keep employees healthy, happy, and productive. They need a break from work during their evenings and weekends, too. That’s why I recommend that you don’t send or respond to after-hours communications. There may be occasional times when employees must be connected to the office beyond normal work hours. But this shouldn’t become a habit in your office.
Finally, you can retain star performers by making sure they have a chance to do their best work. One of the major reasons that employees leave jobs is that they don’t think their skills and abilities are being utilized. To do the work that’s most important and satisfying to them, employees need work environments that support focus and undivided attention. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose huge chunks of time to busy work like email or chats with colleagues who drop by with a question.
James Lloyd-Townshend is the CEO at Anderson Frank.
“We run regular incentives to give our employees the chance to earn a place on once-in-a-lifetime holidays…”
Our latest incentive was an all expenses paid, five-star trip to Cape Town which included cage diving with sharks.
We rewarded 18 of our top performing consultants who produced great results across permanent and contract job placements in 2017. We also recognized four members of our support staff who went above and beyond to help the company. The trip, which doesn’t affect their annual leave allowance, brings together colleagues from our offices across the globe, letting them network with each other.
These incentives have been a staple of our company for more than 10 years, and we find that they’re a great motivator for staff, a topic of conversation around the water cooler and, of course, we see great ROI from the trips as it encourages our sales team to go the extra mile to secure that vacation-winning deal.
Jennifer Way is a national speaker and consultant on hiring, developing top talent, and building personal career management strategies. Her passion is highlighting people’s unique skills and abilities, so that they can express those skills through their work.
“Employee perks only entice top talent if…”
They’re aligned with what that top talent finds valuable. A candidate who is done having children would likely not find a generous maternity/paternity leave policy enticing. For large companies, offering a wide variety of employee perks can allow something to be enticing for everyone. Think about ways to bring value to people in groups. Can you offer free lunch one day? A yoga or meditation class once a week? Host an event for the families of employees? For smaller companies, focus on what value you can bring to each individual. At Way Solutions, we’re small by design, and we focus on bringing value to our employees individually. Want to leave early to watch your child play soccer? Go for it. Want to borrow a camera for the weekend to take photos of your family? Absolutely. It’s all about what each person finds valuable.
Cristian Rennella is the CEO & CoFounder of MejorTrato.com.mx.
“In the last nine years, we’ve tested 94 different employee benefits to boost retention, increase productivity, and attract top talent…”
After all these years, the BEST benefit that can be offered to an employee is to be able to spend more time with their family.
That’s why during the last three years we have been working four days a week, allowing each employee to have 50% more time to be with their family or to be able to spend time on their favorite hobby. Weekends are now three days instead of two days.
Thanks to this, we grew our revenue by 204% year over year with 134 employees. We believe in our heart that with all the existing technology, we all deserve a new way of living: more efficient work should be done, and more time should be spent with the ones that we love!
Joshua Escalante Troesh
Joshua Escalante Troesh is a financial planner and the owner of Purposeful Strategic Partners, a Registered Investment Adviser firm in California. He is also a tenured professor of business at El Camino College and the founder of Purposeful Finance, a financial literacy and education organization.
“The best employee perk to attract top talent is…”
Financial wellness programs. A growing trend among employers is offering financial planning services for their employees from fiduciary financial advisers, called a Financial Wellness Program. 90% of large companies expect to have a Financial Wellness Program as a standard benefit within the next decade, according to a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch study.
Financial Wellness Programs, such as the one offered by Purposeful Finance, provide financial planning services which are relevant to employees at all levels of the organization.
For younger employees, the program provides assistance with major life goals such as managing student loan and other debt, budgeting, planning for buying a home, and optimizing their 401(k).
For more senior employees, the program provides assistance with more complex issues such as managing stock options, claiming Social Security, preparing their portfolio for retirement, estate planning, and non-retirement plan investments such as real estate.
Jacob Dayan, Esq. is the CEO and Co-founder of Community Tax, a finance and accounting company based in Chicago.
“In order to entice top talent, the best employee perks to offer are…”
A Flexible Schedule
Employees want the ability to manage their own schedule. They want to be able to start work and go home when they want. With this flexibility comes the expectation that if you don’t get your work done, you may lose some control over your schedule. Fear of losing this flexibility actually proves to be an incentive to work harder and more efficiently. The reason that top talent finds this perk attractive is that it is still relatively rare. While more and more companies are adopting this type of schedule, many are fearful that it will affect their productivity and efficiency. For the companies that do offer flex schedules, though, they certainly find that top talent is drawn to this incentive and might even choose it over a higher paycheck.
While this isn’t traditionally thought of as a perk, compared to more standard offerings like health insurance or a 401k, growth opportunities are extremely important to top talent. Applicants look for a company where they see a future. If there isn’t a clear growth path, then why would they waste their time there only to change companies again in a year or two? While today’s workforce is more likely to move companies multiple times throughout their career, they are also very focused on advancing their career and determining how they will reach their personal goals. By clearly defining how someone can move up within the company, you will likely attract top talent from both the inexperienced and experienced workforce.
Jesse Silkoff is the Co-founder and President of FitnessTrainer.com.
“I think our most popular employee perk is…”
Access to the beautiful outdoor pool located on the premises of our office building. Each of our employees is granted key card access to the pool which is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm each day. Since we are based in Austin, TX, the pool can be enjoyed from March through October. Many people in the company enjoy taking a swim on their lunch break. Others take a swim after the workday. The on-site pool has also become an awesome gathering place for company events. There are grills and games available on the pool deck as well, so often we will decide to grill and hang out after work as a company.
Jesse Harrison is founder and CEO of California Employee Rights Legal Group, a law firm practicing in the area of labor law matters.
“Of course, offering the highest pay is an enticing factor, as well as insurance benefits and positions of upward growth…”
However, there are other perks that can make top talent eager to work for you.
A simple yet effective perk is to offer partnered membership at health or hobby locations. For example, our employees can join the gym next door and take classes there as a result of joining our team; this perk can extend to other locations that the gym has, so our employees aren’t limited to just the facility near work. We believe that offering the classes along with the membership is important, as some people are interested in different parts of health – yoga, meditation, self-defense, and rehabilitation classes can all be joined.
Additionally, not every employee is fond of making a trek into work each day, and the ability to work from home is a privilege that we give out to allow people flexibility in their schedules. Some employees have a lot to do at home and the time saved by eliminating travel can add up. We do not want to drain top-level talent; we encourage them to stay productive and relaxed, which working remotely can accomplish.
Further, creating positions that allow talent to be creative and branch out can make them want to work for you. A certain level of freedom will allow workers to complete their tasks but also to do something they enjoy. For example, our marketing team has taken it upon themselves to advertise in certain free sectors of the internet where a lot of eyes will see our firm, as well as on campuses where they still have connections. This is a worthwhile departure from the usual work that goes on, as it encourages them to do what they think is best at times and allows them to test themselves.
Geoffrey Scott is a payments consultant at PayMotile.com, where he strives to connect business owners of all sizes with customized processing solutions. When he isn’t working on blog content or reaching out to customers, he’s likely outside somewhere walking, biking, or possibly dancing (assuming there’s good music, of course).
“My colleague sent me over this year old article about Summer Fridays last week, and ever since that day I’ve been thinking about employee perks that have an actual impact on the quality of our lives…”
Free coffee and snacks are nice, but they’re simply not enough if you really want to attract top-tier employees.
With that said, I do think the Summer Fridays perk is an excellent thing to dangle in front of candidates this time of year. Leaving work in the afternoon to enjoy some sunshine and get an early start on the weekend is a huge deal for many people, plus productivity generally drags as we get closer to Friday evening anyway. It’s a big pro-employee benefit that doesn’t really hurt a company that much in the long run, plus you can revert to full Fridays once summer wraps up.
Also, giving employees a set number of remote days (if it’s a digital gig) is an excellent perk as well. It shows that you trust them to still work outside the office, plus it gives them an opportunity to catch up on laundry or even work from a nice cafe on a sunny afternoon. Not to mention, I’ve found that working remotely on occasion actually increases my productivity and gives me a fresh outlook on coming into work the next day.
Lastly, if you really want to sell top talent on your company, monetary incentives are usually the way to go. My company set in place a bi-annual profit sharing system in 2016, and our employee retention rates and hiring rates have both shot up. Showing current employees (and prospective ones) that you care about them by putting your money where your mouth is, is usually the most effective way to get them hyped about working for you.
Jordan Wan is the Founder & CEO of CloserIQ – a leading sales recruiting solution used by the most innovative tech companies in the US.
“We’ve found that some of the best benefits to attract and retain top talent are…”
Outside training, community events, happy hours, and gym membership reimbursement. These particular perks are popular because you’re providing more than just the usual health benefits. You’re going above and beyond to show employees that you don’t just care about the work they do, you value them as an individual and care about their well-being. Your employees want to feel as though they are making a significant impact at work and with benefits like these being offered, they feel important and like they’re part of the family.