Adding non-traditional benefits can increase job satisfaction and retention especially during a tight job market!
With the US economy experiencing some of the lowest unemployment rates, employers should be examining their current incentive packages in order to attract top talent and retain employees. For most employees the conversation is not just about compensation. Many employees view flexibility and work-life balance as highly significant to their job satisfaction which ultimately plays a role in engagement, performance and retention.
A recent survey of 3,000 respondents concluded that mixing in non-traditional benefits improves employee morale (85 percent), employee retention (82 percent) and company culture (73 percent). In particular, changing workplace demographics influence how non-traditional benefits rank. It’s not surprising that respondents in the 25-34 age group ranked non-traditional benefits as extremely important.
Of course the specific mix of non-traditional benefits has to match the business culture and operations. These benefits also have to be equally accessible across the workforce.
Let's review the top 3 non-traditional employee benefits scored in the survey:
Workers Want Flexibility
The survey reported that Flexible work hours/schedule received the highest average importance ranking for non-traditional benefits. Flexible work schedule is a sign of autonomy and trust with your employees and empowering employees with that trust can can go a long way toward job satisfaction and engagement. One example of “No official work hours” is in Netflix's California headquarters. Vacation days and work hours aren't tracked. The company only measures what people get done, so if employees do their work, it doesn't matter when or for how long they're in the office. But Netflix's staff members know better than to slack off – abusing this policy gets you a one-way ticket out the door.
Of course this is not possible for every business, so here are some other non-traditional benefits that can provide some work flexibility.
- Remote work options
- Paid company shutdowns during major holidays.
- A bonus vacation week during the last week of December.
- Summer Friday vacation days off in addition to a PTO policy, and after a certain length of employment.
- Leave extensions capability through the coordination of benefits for income during a leave. This increases an employees financial ability to take additional leave by coordinating benefits with insurance plans (like State Disability) so EE income does not reduce during that leave.
- Vacation donation policies where employees can offer their PTO to other EE’s going through life emergencies and who have ran out of PTO
Employees placed a highest priority on being able to achieve a healthy work-life balance. The driving factor for the priority placed on work-life balance is stress and how stress factors outside the workplace ultimately affect worker productivity. In general top employees want to be able to accomplish their jobs without feeling like they are sacrificing other aspects of their life to work.
Here are some non-traditional benefits that support a health work-life balance.
- Paid volunteer time (if during work hours this can benefit the business for morale, PR and can serve as a team building activity.
- Commuter benefits.
- Childcare benefits - reimbursement plans, “baby cash” for new born babies and adoptions, additional time for school activities above and beyond state requirements.
- Education assistance programs, student loan debt reimbursement, and paid continued education for certifications.
- Gym membership discounts or onsite facility.
Perks also ranked high on the survey. Typically perks are pretty easy to manage, are usually inexpensive and will enhance the office experience. The survey noted that respondents scored food and at-work wellness programs as the most popular offerings. But there are a wide range of other interesting perks that can be hand selected to match your culture and budget.
- Chair Massages.
- In-house yoga classes.
- Company bikes for a lunch time ride.
- Event tickets and transportation.
- Retail discounts.
- Wellness spending accounts.
- Travel stipends to employees and vacation policies that allow extended consecutive vacation time off for distant travels, similarly to Epic Systems program called “For Your Inspiration Trips.
- Free Books or book club memberships along with book clubs for team building.
Of course traditional benefits still matter. Having a competitive core benefits package; healthcare benefits, vacation pay/paid time off, 401K, flex spend is required to attract and retain top talent. Visit our benefits administration solutions overview to learn more about our capabilities to build custom fit HR/benefit solutions to streamline plan management, enrollment, onboarding, communication, reporting compliance, ACA requirements and more in one single solution.