Designs for Success: Strategic Employee Perks

Did you know that 79% of employees would prefer new or additional perks instead of a pay increase? Perks are a huge part of a company’s culture and an effective tool to execute talent management values. It can be used to solve many common issues in businesses today from engagement to retention, as long as leaders “trust” their people. With over 70% of employees disengaged and it costs over $550 billion in the USA for lost productivity annually. How do company leaders tackle the Employee Engagement Enigma (EEE)? The secret recipe Imagine HR uses to solve both engagement and retention is “Design for Job Satisfaction”. We want to help your people help you by creating a company that they “want to” work for and it all starts with strategic perks and benefits.

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business” – Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group

Most established companies in Canada offer basic employee perks (and benefits) like the list below. In certain industries, only management employees receive the latter of these perks. In other companies, these offerings are available to all employees. Do you currently offer these basic employee perks?

  • Extended health benefits
  • Paid vacation programs based on service length
  • Performance or annual bonuses
  • Paid sick days
  • Annual celebration event
  • Employee discounts for company product or service
  • Tuition or training reimbursement
  • Professional association fee reimbursements
  • Employee allowances/subsidies – ex: phone, car, parking, gym or transit

If you don’t currently offer these perks and benefits, it’s time to consider granting them soon. Chances are your competitors for talent already have these offerings. Remember – your competitors for talent isn’t always the same as your industry competitors. Today’s market is full of fluidity and options for great talent. They are the most valuable asset you have in your arsenal, so why risk losing them after investing in them?

Employee Perks = People Investment

It’s true, employee perks and benefits can be costly, but it greatly offsets the cost of turnover. To invest in the right types of perks means you must first understand your strategy behind perks and build a package that would make your people happy. We help our clients create, design, implement and refine their perks and recognition programs by listening to their employee needs. It’s important to recognize that the successes and failures of employee perks depend largely on the workforce needs, type of work, industry and deliverables your company is committed to. Let us be your internal people investment counsel, so you don’t blindly commit to perks that aren’t actually suitable for your company’s directives.

Strategic People Investment

Here are a few popular strategies behind perks and some examples of what you could offer to support those strategies. We advise our clients to build a customized version of these strategies and design perks based on their people needs and vision. Share your vision with us and we can help you get to where you want to go by thinking-outside-the-box for the best competitive advantage.

To support employees with families:

  • Paid parental leaves
  • Child care assistance

To create a culture through programs:

  • Casual or Jeans Friday
  • Happy Hour Friday
  • Free Staff Meals
  • Free Healthy Snacks and Beverages

To foster work-life balance:

  • Flex hours
  • Flex days
  • Condensed work week
  • Telecommuting
  • Unlimited vacation days

To improve team dynamics:

  • Monthly team building events
  • Sports leagues
  • Community involvement and volunteer days
  • Employee development programs for professional or team development

To encourage long term retention:

  • Long term incentives through vesting options or performance bonuses
  • Pension plans

The Ultimate Trust Fall Exercise

Some of these perks have become all sorts of trust fall exercises for company executives. We hold our breaths hoping that our employees don’t try and take advantage of the system and leave us with lower productivity and engagement ever. Will they or won’t they game the system to our detriment? The truth is, these are irrational fears that tend to overcompensate for our other doubts as managers. Have we hired the right talent and built the right team to stay on track in the face of less supervision? At the end of the day, don’t forget that you have already placed your trust in an employee by hiring them on. No one does their best work while being micromanaged, so it’s time to let go of the reigns and accept that your sense of control isn’t real. Don’t let your doubts limit your people’s job satisfaction.

At Imagine HR, we can help you analyze your market, workforce and culture to determine what types of creative solutions could foster job satisfaction for your people. Stop thinking-inside-the-box and let us help!