Britt Miller

Britt Miller

  • Wonolo

An attractive employee perks program can not only help to attract top talent, but it can also help employers to retain staff as well. Employee perks programs are also sometimes referred to as employee benefits programs and can be a real boon to the business if implemented in a strategic and thoughtful manner.

If you’re looking at setting up your own employee perks program, here are the six steps you should follow to ensure it is a success:

  1. Review budget and goals.
  2. Know which benefits are required.
  3. Top up with optional benefits.
  4. Highlight exclusive or exceptional perks.
  5. Provide a complete compensation profile.
  6. Connect with a benefits advisor.

Step 1: Review Budget and Goals

The first step in setting up any employee benefits program is figuring out what you’re hoping to accomplish with the program, and how much budget is available to finance it. Having a budget and goals clearly defined will help ensure you have a clear understanding of what you want to offer and if it is realistic or not.

Some common goals of attractive employee perks programs include:

  • Standing out within a specific sector of the labor market
  • Attracting and retaining the best employees
  • Sticking to an operating budget
  • Complying with federal and state labor laws

While the initial costs of setting up an attractive employee perks program might seem overwhelming or out of reach, the benefits of increased retention rates will ultimately save money in the long run. Not to mention the added boost to employee morale and productivity, which is also good for business.

Step 2: Know Which Benefits Are Required Employee benefits

The various levels of government all have their own requirements for what benefits must be offered by law. It is important to account for these benefits in your budget planning and to ensure that they are clearly communicated to employees as being part of their total compensation package (see Step 5). Some standard benefits that employers must provide include:

  • Social Security
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Disability insurance (required in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island)
  • Leaves of absence (parental, illness, etc.)

Step 3: Top Up With Optional Benefits

Once you’ve ensured that you’ve met the minimum employee benefit standards, you can begin pricing out and including additional perks for your employees. If you’re unsure of what types of optional employee perks would be attractive to your staff, take a look at the competition to see what they are offering and to understand why top talent is choosing to work for them. You might not be able to offer everything that a competitor can, but understanding key factors can help drive decision-making when setting up your own employee perks program.

Many businesses offer the following perks in order to attract top talent and compete effectively:

  • Health insurance. With health care costs at an all-time high, many employees consider this a deal-breaker when it comes to job consideration, especially part time talent. Medical, dental, and paramedical services such as massage therapy and chiropractic coverage are all highly attractive to potential employees.
  • Life insurance. Life insurance plans are generally an affordable benefit for most employers and can provide peace of mind to employees and their families that funeral expenses (usually around $20,000) will be covered in the case of tragedy.
  • Disability insurance. A disability insurance plan will help replace lost income for employees who are unable to work due to illness or accident, again, bringing peace of mind for the unexpected. Look for at least 60% coverage or more in order to stay competitive.
  • Retirement savings plans. Retirement plans such as a 401(k) are extremely attractive to employees, especially so when there is some level of employer contribution matching. Discuss with a tax professional what type of program makes sense for your company and your employees.
  • Stock purchase plans. Providing equity in the company not only rewards employees, but it also provides additional incentive to ensure the success of the business.
  • Paid time off. There is an expectation among employees for paid time off for national holidays, as well as a three-week (minimum) vacation allowance. To really set your business apart, offer paid sick leave, additional vacation, or even paid time off for activities such as volunteer work.

Step 4: Highlight Exclusive or Exceptional Perks Employee perks and incentives

Think about what it is your company can offer employees that isn’t necessarily tangible, but that is a perk nonetheless. Attractive perks include:

  • Flexible work hours
  • Telecommuting
  • Talent development programs
  • Catered lunches
  • Monthly minglers

Step 5: Provide a Complete Compensation Profile

Once you’ve decided on which benefits you want to include in your employee perks program, make sure their value is clearly communicated to employees both prospective and current. By clearly communicating that an employee’s total compensation is significantly higher than their annual salary or wages, you can ensure they understand the additional value and benefit these perks provide, and that they are a valued member of the business.

Providing an annual statement of total compensation is an excellent way to demonstrate their wages, along with additional benefits translated into a dollar amount. Be sure to include how much health, life, and disability insurance premiums the company pays for, as well as the dollar value of any paid leave or time off. Don’t forget about stock options or retirement fund contributions, if applicable.

Step 6: Connect With a Benefits Advisor

Once you have an idea of the types of employee perks you want to implement, connect with a professional benefits advisor who can help you take the next steps to implementing a program. They are well-versed in all the ins-and-outs of setting up and maintaining employee benefits.

Offering perks for your staff is one of the most effective ways to foster employee loyalty. Following these steps will help you create an effective perks program that gets results.