“What benefits does your company offer its employees?”
This question tends to pop up a lot in job interviews—often right after the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions for me?”. And employee benefits are a fair thing to inquire about; most of us would like to know the perks that a job will give us before we agree to sign on with a new employer! It’s important, then, to be able to answer this question and give the kinds of answers that employees like to hear. In other words: to know what benefits employees value most. Read on to learn about 4 employee benefits that can attract new talent and keep existing talent at your company. If you don’t currently offer these incentives to your staff, you may want to think about doing so.
In a recent Fractl survey, 88% of respondents said they’d give some or heavy considerations to a job offering “more flexible hours”. “Traditional” business hours are generally from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or even 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, if you’ve ever worked for (or owned) a retail establishment or a restaurant, you’ll know that these hours are hardly universal—and some employees really do have a strong preference for whether they work mornings, afternoons, evenings, or even overnight shifts.
If you currently require workers to be in the office for a set period of time every day, stop to consider whether or not such rigid schedule adherence is actually necessary. For example, you may have one employee who prefers to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that he can pick his kids up from school in the afternoon, and another who likes to “sleep in” and be at her desk from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If they can both meet deadlines, then what’s the harm in letting them set their own hours? This is a relatively small gesture that can make things substantially easier for employees (especially those who have families or other home obligations) and encourage them to stick around.
The Opportunity to Work From Home
Obviously, this may not be a practical idea for every business. If the kind of work that you need your employees to complete requires special equipment, sophisticated software, confidential information, or face-to-face interactions with clients, then it may be difficult (or impossible) to perform tasks remotely! But if an employee’s job can be done from their home computer, then maybe they should be given the option to work this way. For some people, working from home is a dream come true; there’s no dress code, no commute, and none of the typical in-office distractions.
In many cases, there’s also a substantial amount of freedom in when, exactly, they clock-in or take breaks. Being able to work from home is the kind of perk that people often brag about their job offering; according to Forbes, 45% of at-home workers “love” their job, but only 24% of in-office workers expressed a similar sentiment. So having this employee benefit on the table may raise a substantial amount of interest in your company!
Far too many business owners fail to provide vacation days—even unpaid time off—to their employees. And some businesses that do allow employees to take paid vacations often avoid discussing it with new hires and/or pressure long-time employees to not take time off unless it’s absolutely necessary.
This is usually a bad idea; folks who aren’t given time off are subject to burnout, and they may also feel unappreciated or put-upon in their current position. On the other hand, granting employees vacation time (especially paid vacation time) reassures them that you see them as human beings with lives and interests outside of the office. It’s a sign that you take their mental health and well-being seriously.
77% of HR managers surveyed by Project Time Off saw better productivity and higher quality of work from employees who used their vacation time (as opposed to those who forewent their time off), and 78% perceived an overall increase in job satisfaction among vacation-taking workers.
Now, there needs to be some kind of system in place for delegating leaves of absence; it’s not good for one employee to take excessive amounts of personal days or for several people to be gone at once. But if your employees know that you allow (or encourage) them to take the occasional day off or go on vacation, then they’ll be less likely to jump ship the moment that they start to feel bored or overworked.
Paid Parental Leave
Any parent will tell you that caring for a newborn baby can be stressful and exhausting. But it’s also expensive, which is why many new parents (especially new moms) who don’t receive paid leave from their jobs often wind up returning to work much sooner than they’d like. Though they know that they won’t be fired for taking time off, they simply can’t afford to lose their income for several weeks—or months.
In an online survey of 1,000 employees in America with access to work benefits, half of the respondents prefer more parental leave time than a pay rise at work. Laws concerning paid parental leave vary from country to country, but if it’s at all possible for you to offer employees more than the absolute minimum, then it might be wise to do so.
Giving new parents (regardless of gender; don’t leave dads out of the conversation!) additional time to bond with their babies without having to worry so much about finances sends a very clear message to prospective hires: your company cares about its employees and their families.
All businesses are a little different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits. Only you can determine, from both a financial and a company culture standpoint, which ones you should provide to your staff. It’s a complicated subject, but fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. A professional employer organization, or PEO, can help you find the “correct” answer to that age-old question: “What benefits does your company offer its employees?