Benefits Outside the Box

It’s no secret that employees value workplace benefits. The more perks you can offer, the more attractive your business is to the talent you want to hire. But small businesses often face challenges in affording benefits. By offering some less conventional benefits, you can sweeten your compensation package without breaking the bank.

Which benefits matter?

To start with, employers do need to meet employees’ basic expectations. According to HR software company Namely, 47 percent of employees cite their company's healthcare program as a reason they continue to work there, while 42 percent say a retirement plan keeps them loyal.

When it comes to insurance, it is probably not surprising that most people say their number one concern is medical coverage, followed by dental and vision. A 401(k) matching program is also highly coveted: 72 percent of employees want one, Namely reports.

But, as a recent Glassdoor Employment Survey points out, employees are starting to expect more. The economy is growing stronger, and as employee confidence revives, it's important for employers to make themselves stand out.

"It's not just about salary and compensation,” says Rusty Rueff, a career and workplace expert at Glassdoor. “Employers should be communicating clearly about non-traditional compensation. Recruiters should take note that touting the benefits and perks offered can help win talent of different demographics, industries and occupations."

What else can you offer?

Today’s employers are experimenting with offering more vacation and paid time off (the more flexible the better), performance bonuses, paid sick days, a flexible schedule, gym membership/wellness programs and other perks that makes employees feel valued by their company.

One example of a valued non-traditional benefit is the employee development program. Shoe company Bucketfeet holds a monthly learning series during which employees have an opportunity to engage with guest speakers. Employees appreciate these types of opportunities to grow as individuals, says Business News Daily.

Another benefit employees want, especially millennials: time allotted for volunteer work. The millennial generation prefers to work for companies who provide opportunities to give back.

Prioritizing benefits will make an employee want to prioritize you. According to Namely, employees are 38 percent more engaged when it is clear their employer cares about their well-being.

Finally, according to Namely, 57% of employees says they’d take a job with a lower salary but better benefits. Keep that in mind when thinking of new ways to keep your employees happy.