The unemployment rate in the U.S. is at the lowest it has ever been, as more jobs are being created every day. With such a strong job market, employees can pick and choose which company they want to work for.
If you are hoping to hire the top workers in your industry, then you have to step up your employee benefits; after all, it’s no secret that the best workers are looking for jobs that don’t just pay well but have some great perks as well.
Read on for the top ten benefits that will keep your employees happy and make your workplace better.
1) Work-life balance
Americans today are stressed. In fact, we are more stressed today than we have ever been and the majority of that stress comes from work-related issues, including heavy workloads and juggling work and personal life. With technology, it is easy to access work anywhere at any time.
While there are some conveniences that come from this access, it also makes the lines between work and personal life blur. It becomes easy to check and reply to work emails instead of watching your kid score a goal at their soccer game or to be distracted during family vacations because you are still working on a project.
This continual access has increased many Americans’ work hours because they are constantly connected and the workday never ends. With this non-stop work schedule, employees miss out on opportunities to unplug and relax.
While working constantly seems like it would help productivity, it actually decreases how productive we are in a day. Studies show that it is essential to take breaks in order to get back to work with high energy.
To prevent this and make your employees happier and less stressed, encourage your employees to think about their whole lives instead of just work. You can do this by setting an example and not sending or replying to work emails after the workday is finished.
In addition, you can set company-wide “quiet times” so members of your organization don’t send one another emails or engage with shared projects after the workday ends.
Many companies are moving away from the rigid 9-5 schedule to provide more flexibility in how their employees put in their work each day. Flexibility can mean something different to each company, with plenty of methods providing options:
Employees having the option to work remotely:
This is a huge benefit for employees who have family they are caregivers for. This allows these employees to stay home when there is an emergency, such as a sick child, and still get their work done.
Studies have shown that the traditional 14 days of PTO out of the year are not enough for employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle. By focusing on your employees’ abilities to complete their work and then trusting them to take time off in a responsible way, your employees will be more productive and happier.
Flexibility in workday hours:
For some people, the typical 9-5 workday may not work with their lifestyle and family. Some workers may need to come in early and leave early or to come in later after they drop off the kids at school. By providing the flexibility for your employees to choose when they put in their hours for the day, this helps them to come in ready for the workday and to put in their best work.
There are many ways you can incorporate flexibility into your company, and however you decide, this shows trust in your employees and helps them to maintain that essential work-life balance. This trust allows your employees to make their work schedule their own so they can work hard on their goals, but also take breaks and adjust schedules when needed.
3) Get your employees the proper coverage
Everyone wants to have the peace of mind that if something bad were to happen, they will be taken care of. When companies provide that peace of mind for their employees through health and life insurance, your employees will see you care about them and their families.
No matter your business size or finances, it should be a priority to provide healthcare coverage for your employees. This benefit can make or break job opportunities for employees, as the knowledge that they and their families will be cared for is a top priority.
Companies can also show their investment and care for their employees by helping them to find the right plan for them. Shopping around for insurance can be tricky and intimidating, but by providing in-depth training and information sessions for your employees you can help them to understand the plans you offer and the coverage they have.
If you provide smaller life insurance policies or coverage, show your employees how to compare life insurance companies on their own in order to find the right plan for them and their families for additional coverage.
4) Prepare your employees for retirement
In a recent study, 94% of small business owners found that offering 401(k) plans increased their recruitment and retention efforts. Helping your employees prepare for their retirement is an important benefit that will show your employees that you are invested in them.
When people think of their retirement, they picture spending time relaxing on the beach with a good book, hitting up the nearest golf course, and spending time with family. They don’t often picture having to pinch pennies to survive.
By providing your employees with retirement plans, you can help your employees achieve that dream and to feel peace when they think of the future.
Providing retirement options for your employees doesn’t just benefit them, it also benefits you and your business. All of the employee contributions to their 401(k) are tax deductible and there are many tax credits and benefits to offering a retirement plan.
One of the best ways you can make your employees feel valued and appreciated is by listening to and acting on their feedback. Just like your employees want to feel that you are invested in them, they also want to feel invested in the company and that they are a part of what is happening.
Keep employees in the loop with company plans and collaborate with them to figure out ways to improve processes within the company. When you communicate with potential employees that they will be a part of company decisions and planning, they will know that their work will not go unnoticed. This will also communicate that their role will be vital to the company.
Anthony Smith, CEO and founder of Insightly, said, “The best benefit you can provide to your employees is the opportunity to make a difference through their work and help guide the course of the company. Benefits such as clear and frequent communication on company happenings, individual and department direction, and big-picture company direction make all the difference in employee happiness.”
6) Opportunities to learn
When someone decides to leave a job, it is often because they no longer feel like they are learning and growing within their workplace. Everyone wants to feel like they are improving and learning new skills, and the opportunity to do so is important to many employees.
One illustration of the importance of training and education opportunities for employees is this quote from Henry Ford: “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
Sure, providing extra training and education opportunities can seem expensive or time-consuming, but just as this exchange indicates, don’t we want trained and educated employees?
Providing further training for employees will benefit the company because as your employees get better, their work will also get better. This will also benefit employees as they will gain new skills and improve themselves through these opportunities.
7) Giving back
Many companies are creating volunteer programs to provide employees with opportunities to give back to their communities. There are a lot of great benefits to providing a volunteer program for your employees.
Some of these benefits include:
- Increased unity between employees
- Engaged employees
- A positive company culture
- Improved company brand image
These opportunities help employees to get to know others in the company and to bond over the positive experience of volunteering. This also helps employees who are new to the community or area to become familiar with their new area.
Mars, Incorporated is well known for its volunteer programs and Senior Global Community Engagement Manager Annette Aitkenhead said, “The magic happens in these programs when you bring together these folks from different backgrounds and different generations.”
8) On-site activities
There are many options for on-site activities or services provided at a workplace that can make employees happier and more excited about coming to work. Some of these include:
Some offices offer a weekly yoga class during lunch so employees can spend time caring for their physical well-being. This time spent together can increase positivity, relieve stress, and help increase energy.
Another benefit employers can offer are chair massages for employees. These 15-20 minute massages have been shown to help reduce stress, decrease anxiety and depression, relieve muscle tension and headaches, and increase focus, energy, and mental clarity.
Having a ping pong table in the office is a great way to bring your team together and to provide them with a good kind of distraction. Sitting at your desk all day isn’t great for your body or your mind, so by taking small breaks to get up and move are great for productivity. Table tennis is a fun way to get up and moving and has been shown to sharpen strategic thinking.
These are just a few ideas of on-site activities that your office can incorporate to help your team work more productively and to keep your employees happy at work.
9) Funding for team activities
Companies that place an emphasis on team-building have increased communication and better productivity with each team. These activities help team members to get to know each other better and to better understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
These team-building activities don’t have to be awkward ice breakers or going to a ropes course, but can be really cool activities everyone is interested in. These activities can take place on a smaller team basis or on a larger overall company-wide basis. A good variety will help your employees to meet more people and to become closer to their coworkers.
10) Providing stock and investment opportunities
A huge incentive for employees to join your company is stock options. This provides an opportunity for your employees to buy a part of your company, which allows them to reap the benefits if the company continues to do well and succeed.
One of the biggest benefits of this is that the employees are invested in what happens with your company. Building this ownership mentality can encourage employees to work harder and more effectively as they realize they benefit when the company benefits.
As you create better benefits for your employees, you will have greater rates of recruitment and retention. Employees want to feel valued, appreciated, and to know that they will learn and grow in their new job. Implementing some of these ten benefits into your company will increase your employees’ happiness and bring in top talent.