In this competitive job market, companies must find innovative ways to satisfy their employees’ needs by crafting unique perks through fringe benefits programs. If they don’t, employees will find another organization that will.
Besides competitive pay, the best way to let employees know you care about them and that you’re invested in their future is to offer a compelling benefits package. More than half of workers polled by Randstad US said they’ve left jobs in the past because they found better benefits or perks with another company.
Some benefits, such as paid time off and health insurance, depend on the size of the company and may be required by law. Benefits that aren’t required by law are called “fringe benefits.” Fringe benefits, despite their name, are not peripheral to workers—taken together, they can significantly impact day-to-day life.
With that in mind, let’s run down some of the more popular benefits that can boost employee retention for your business—so you can avoid the headaches associated with turnover.
Whether you’re talking about remote work arrangements, variable scheduling that emphasizes completed work rather than hours spent in the office, or more PTO/vacation days, flexibility is becoming a very important fringe benefit.
Allowing employees to be flexible with their time spent working is about more than extra time off to relax and regenerate. It’s also about giving them autonomy and agency in their roles. If an employee feels safe in their position even when they work from home or start their weekend early on a Friday afternoon, they’ll feel empowered and trusted by their organization. Showing that kind of trust towards employees will go a long way in keeping them happy and productive, while maintaining a high retention rate.
Paid parental leave
Here’s another benefit that is more than just about giving new parents much-needed time off to bond with their child. Of course, the time off is a valuable benefit that will feel like its weight in gold to employees—but just as important is the feeling of security it provides.
No worker wants to worry that they’ll put their career in jeopardy by having children. By giving them paid parental leave, you let them know that they’re a valued member of the team, and having you aboard for the long run is worth letting them take time with their growing family.
Whether your employees drive to work, use rideshares, or take public transportation, helping offset the costs of getting from their home to the office is a great way to subtly boost their total compensation. Most employers can allow their employees to set aside tax-free money to pay for their commuting expenses.
This benefit can have a ripple effect as well, as employees spend what would have been their bus pass or gas money elsewhere. Helping employees not spend hundreds of dollars on transportation costs is how you materially impact their daily life.
As an added bonus, your business can save on payroll taxes each year by offering this benefit.
There are a few other ways you can help employees learn on the job, which is a boon to both them and your business.
One idea is to give employees a learning stipend they can use to take classes, purchase books, or attend conferences on topics related to their role, or in a new area of interest that can help your business push new boundaries—such as podcasting, design, or coding, to name a few skills. Many companies even give tuition reimbursement to employees to pursue careers outside of the scope of their jobs. The thinking is: we’re investing in you as a person, and want our company to be a happy stopover on your career journey.
Another is to bring experts and consultants in to your office to give presentations and workshops on things such as leadership or public speaking. This can also function as a bonding experience when team building.
Investing in your employees’ skill sets lets them know that you want them to grow as a professional, and will give them an impetus to stick around to learn as much as they can.
Drinks, snacks, and other sustenance
A tried, true, and popular fringe benefit is giving your employees things like coffee, snacks, catered meals, beer or wine, and the occasional in-office or off-site party built around food and drinks.
Startup culture has helped make this benefit feel trendy. It’s true, however, that few things (again, outside of a generous salary) make workers happy like a morning cold brew, or afternoon cookie pick-me-up. Workers will factor the money they save on food into their weekly budget, and if you provide enough snacks to make an impact, workers will notice and appreciate the gesture.
Some other fringe benefit possibilities include offering gym memberships or free employee outings—but those options ranked at the bottom of the list of a recent Fractl survey of U.S. workers. Focus your time and resources on the more popular fringe benefits, and you’ll see a better return on investment in the form of improved employee retention.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Randa Kriss is a staff writer at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions such as business credit cards. Randa writers extensively on human resource solutions, payroll, and merchant services.