It’s not all about the money, or is it? Salary is still an important factor throughout the lifespan of an employee’s career, but it’s not the sole motivator to attract and retain your sales force. More and more people are considering companies that offer incredible perks and benefits, aside from salary. It’s certainly become a job seeker’s market and with so many great companies hiring, candidates have options. It’s not enough to just attract and recruit employees, you also need to focus on retention. If you don’t invest in your employees, your top performers will be out the door, accepting job offers from your competition before you know it.
Perks are no longer just a “nice to have,” but instead have become “a must have.” So what benefits do employees really care about?
Here are the top 15 perks and benefits, in no particular order, that attract, motivate, and retain employees.
As tuition costs continue to increase, this has become a very attractive benefit. It’s not only an incentive to help employees pay off undergraduate costs, but also to participate in other graduate and professional programs. This benefit also allows your employees to deepen their knowledge and expand their skill set which can in return help them perform at a higher level within the company. Tuition reimbursement is also highly valued since employees can attain a degree while simultaneously working.
2. 401k and Retirement Planning
This is an incredible benefit to really help employees plan for the future. As pension plans become nonexistent and as the economy is known to fluctuate over the years, a 401k is a great way to offer financial security. Financial planning may not be everyone’s greatest strength, so employees appreciate retirement assistance. Employers can also contribute to employee savings by providing a 401k match. This is a great motivator for employees to really invest in their future and retirement.
Paid time off is still one of the most sought-after benefits employees want. With most days, weeks, months, and years spent working, a generous paid-time-off benefit can make all the difference. Employers that offer generous vacation and sick time state that they see employee improvement. People can get burnt out and need time to recharge. PTO enables employees take a break without punishment while contributing to long-term happiness. Some companies offer an unlimited PTO policy with the expectation that deadlines continue to be met. Many people value vacation time over salary so that they have the chance to grow both in-and-out of the office.
4. Medical/Dental/Vision Insurance
According to Glassdoor’s findings, health insurance continues to be a must-have benefit for employees. With healthcare costs continuing to skyrocket, employees need to feel protected. Employees seek health insurance that is affordable and exceptional for both themselves and their families. Employer health insurance is generally much more affordable than state/federal insurance programs with greater coverage. Employees also look for vision, dental, and disability insurance. Health insurance provided by employers offers great peace of mind that employees are taken care of.
5. Flexible Time
Flexibility has become one of the most important benefits for employees. It’s not just a matter of being able to separate the two, but rather balance and integrate them. With both parents of a household working to support a family, a flexible schedule has become key. This doesn’t mean that employees won’t get their 40+ hours in, but rather, they are able to manage their schedules to juggle responsibilities outside the normal 9am-5pm. Flexibility offers trust that your employees will continue to succeed and get their work done while improving quality of life. Some employers offer the added perk of being able to work remote. Not being in the office does not mean that your employees aren’t working, especially in today’s mobile age.
6. Competitive Salary
Salary may not be the most important benefit, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t top of the list. People still need money to live to support themselves and family members. Companies that tend to underpay their employees will turn off top talent. Understand what is happening in the market and your industry. Be in tune with salaries to align work experience with compensation. Be realistic with the understanding no one works for free. Take care of your employees with the real goal to earn more at the company. Be transparent and honest in the salary potential. Even if your company offers all the same benefits as your competitors, more often than not a candidate will choose the opportunity with a higher salary. Money isn’t everything, but it is something.
7. Paternity/Maternity Leave
Parental leave is a highly expected and desired benefit. Having a family and working full-time can feel like the impossible. Many times parents have to sacrifice and make difficult decisions when it comes to starting a family and growing a career. No longer is it enough to only offer maternity leave. Companies must offer paternity leave as well. This lets employees know that you understand the importance of family, health, and happiness. Having a family should not be a burden and companies should support those decisions. Some companies offer extended parental leave, as well as a financial support during that time.
People join companies with the notion they will grow within the organization. Rarely, employees hope to be doing the same job for the rest of their lives without the promise of growth and promotion. Promotions entail new jobs within the company, new titles, new responsibilities, and raises. This benefit further supports that companies invest in their employees and see value in what they do. If an employee feels that they hit a wall or don’t see a future within the company, they will leave and find another opportunity. Companies should work hard to cultivate a culture of internal promotions. Do not cap performance or possibilities.
9. Office Perks and Celebrations
Employees want to enjoy where they work. More and more companies are adopting and promoting a fun office space as a means to attract and retain top sales talent. Since employees spend a majority of their time at work, employers are making it a more enjoyable space. Rather than just clocking a 9am-5pm, employees don’t dread long work days when they have some great office amenities. Some of the top office perks employers offer are a beer fridge, pool table/ping pong table, gaming room, free coffee and snacks, a Zen room, and catered lunches. Companies also promote a fun and positive office environment with celebrations, including holiday dinners, monthly birthday parties, team happy hours on Fridays, and summer outings. Some of these offerings may be over the top that not every company can implement, but the point is companies are showing appreciation for their employees through office perks.
To further integrate work and life, companies that offer wellness programs help employees maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’re sitting at a desk 8-10 hours each day in a fast-paced environment sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to the gym. Sitting all day isn’t great for your health either and can promote negative health effects. Onsite fitness centers have become a valued and desired employee benefit. Some companies offer other fitness classes like yoga, boxing, cycling, and Pilates in the office. This makes it easier for employees to work out while still getting their actual work done. Companies that can’t provide onsite fitness centers can still incorporate wellness. Employers can plan mandatory/voluntary workout sessions every week or month with a personal trainer at a local park, or sponsor employees in a 5k race. They can also provide onsite nutrition counseling. Companies can get creative to promote physical, mental, and emotional health.
11. Time Off to Volunteer
Many employees desire the opportunity to give back to the community. This is also something employers should encourage and promote. Employers should offer a certain number of days or events that employees can participate in throughout the year. Volunteer days should still be paid days since it is a corporate event. Incentivize employees to participate. Whether it’s cleaning a park, volunteering at a school, preparing a meal at a shelter, or walking/running a 5k for a special cause, this should be part of the company culture.
12. Performance Bonuses and Rewards
Salary alone isn’t always the best motivator. Employees look for companies the consistently recognize and reward hard work. To boost productivity, companies should offer performance bonuses. Like it or not, money is still an effective incentive. Promote and reward over-achievers. If one of your employees is the top sales rep of the month, offer a reward. It can be a bonus, a gift card, a television, ski passes, or whatever you want. Performance bonuses create competition which as a whole motivates the company to work hard and exceed quota.
Employees want to achieve both personal and professional development. Companies should offer ongoing training and workshops to support growth in-and-out of the office. This can include mentoring and coaching, virtual online courses, and attending conferences. Employee development programs should center on furthering a professional skillset as well as building personal life knowledge. You can do this through goal-setting. Managers should sit down with team members throughout the year to set up goals and build strategy around achieving those goals. If your sales rep wants to save and buy a house this year, help them map out a strategy to be a top producer at work. Also, have them sit with someone in finance about setting a budget. Employees want to feel valued and trust their employers. If you want to retain employees past the average tenure of 3-5 years, you should focus on development.
14. Commuting Discounts
If you’re team isn’t working remote, then it’s safe to assume they are commuting to the office every day. Your employees can spend as little as 30 minutes to 3 hours of commuting every day. Aside from salary, commute is an important qualifier in the job search. As an employer you strive to attract talent and as a result, you may be located in a thriving city that can have heavy traffic. Your employees could be taking the train and bus, driving, paying tolls, paying to park in a garage, or even taking a ferry to get to the office every day. Regardless, your employees are spending both time and money to get to work. Companies that offer commuting discounts and assistance will go a long way in hiring and retaining employees.
15. Recognition and Thanks
This may be one the highest and most underrated perks a company can offer, and it’s probably one of the least expensive ones too. Believe it or not, employees want to be recognized for their hard work. Many employees will end up leaving their current company if they don’t feel appreciated. Yes, employees appreciate bonuses and rewards for going the extra mile, but there is also a psychology behind it. When one of your employees does a great job with a client, or works overtime on a project to meet a deadline, or creates a great marketing e-book, or rearranges their schedule to make a meeting work, recognize it. Thank them for their hard work. Let them know their work is valued and this will encourage more great work to be accomplished. Companies can do this is by sending an email to the entire team showcasing the accomplishment of employees, using the website as a platform to promote an “employee of the month” or top sales rep of the month. You can also reward with team lunches, gift cards, movie passes, or even having a one-on-one meeting with someone over coffee. Employees that trust their employers and feel important to the organization will invest more into the company. Make sure your managers are strong leaders who practice this concept. People leave bad managers, not companies.
All of these benefits are great because they are realistic and promote a healthy culture. They should not be empty promises or unicorns. These perks and benefits are meant to reward employees for hard work. Every company may not to be able to adopt all of these and more, but should certainly focus on employee satisfaction and retention. If you don’t, you will miss out on a large talent pool and risk losing your top performers. The ROI for the cost of these programs should yield a high return. Don’t think “why should we spend the time and money investing in employees.” Think about “what if we don’t spend the time and money investing in employees.”
What are some other perks and benefits that your company offers to improve employee engagement and retention?