In today’s competitive job market, those companies that survive are the ones that attract and retain the best talent. When you’re interviewing candidates for a position, they are also trying to determine whether your organization is a good fit for them. While this decision depends on a wide range of factors, including the company’s culture and mission, you can attract the most talented employees by offering some great perks. Many of the best candidates will have multiple offers, so you need to consider how to tip the scales in your favor. In the past, benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings plans were considered great perks, and they are widely expected from today’s companies. However, you can still get creative with perks through some of the following options:
1. Offer opportunities for education and training on the job. People grow professionally when they have opportunities to continue to learn and are encouraged to do so. Employees who embrace learning become incredible assets for their company. In order to encourage learning, you can offer tuition reimbursement for people to take classes, attend conferences, and complete certification programs. While pursuing opportunities directly related to the job is preferred, you should also consider encouraging people to engage in other interests to bring a degree of creativity to the position. As people expand their knowledge, they become innovators and may quickly climb the ranks in your company.
2. Allow people to have flex schedules. Flexible schedules have become increasingly common in recent years. While traditional hours are typically between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., not everyone works most effectively during these hours. While you need to ensure that collaborative teams overlap sufficiently with their time in the office, offering flex hours can attract people to your company if they do not readily embrace traditional schedules or if they have unique demands outside of work.
A flex schedule may mean allowing individuals to work four 10-hour days instead of the typical Monday through Friday workweek or accommodating people who would prefer to come in earlier, and thus leave earlier. Some employees may also prefer to work afternoons and evenings or to break up their workday into shifts. At times, this flex schedule can also benefit an organization, if specific needs align. For example, someone who desires a split workday can be present during the evening hours in case of an emergency.
3. Provide opportunities for remote work. With more tools available for remote communication than ever before, more employees expect the opportunity to work remotely. Remote work has benefits for both you and the employee. If you accept remote work, you can hire the best talent regardless of their geographic location, if those individuals do not want to relocate. Also, studies have shown that people who work remotely actually work more effectively, contrary to what some managers may believe. Part of this is due to a better work-life balance that comes from removing the daily commute. You can also consider offering employees the ability to work remotely on occasion, such as a day or two each week, or when an emergency arises.
4. Give employees free snacks or even lunch. This perk will often attract employees who are passionate about their work and do not want the hassle of going out to get lunch or bringing their own. If you stock a kitchen, you allow employees to continue working without interrupting their workflow, which ultimately makes them more productive. This simple gesture can also make employees feel more appreciated by the company and thus more motivated to work effectively.
While these are four major perks for attracting talent, a wide range of other options exist. For example, Google is renowned for the perks that it offers employees, which include on-site childcare, dry cleaning, gyms, and more. Perks can be relatively small and inexpensive. For example, purchasing a ping-pong table can help employees to reduce stress, grow closer as a team through healthy competition, and get some adrenalin going during mid-afternoon slumps. Other perks can have a greater financial impact, but the benefits often outweigh the costs. For example, more companies are offering extended maternity and paternity leaves. While this policy incurs a greater expense for the company, it allows employees to come back more rejuvenated and with a greater sense of loyalty to the company.
Some of the more creative perks that companies have begun offering in recent years include paid days off for birthdays, informal sports teams sponsored by the company, season passes for local sports teams, tablets and other devices issued by the company, paid time off to undertake philanthropic activities, membership to local gyms, and passes to ski resorts or other fun activities.