Improve Employee Satisfaction with These 10 Low-Cost Perks


Most organizations offer similar types of employee benefits: health care insurance, vacation and sick time. Often what differentiates a benefits package are the perks.

An example might be giving an employee a company car but not every employer can offer premium perks. But, there are many low-cost ways to provide something great for your employees.

Here are 10 examples of low-cost perks organizations should consider implementing.

1. Company swag. One way to make new employees feel like they're part of the team is by giving them logo items: t-shirts, coffee mugs, travel cups or backpacks. They're not expensive and can go a long way. An added benefit is that employees will use them outside of work, which can help promote the company. With cooler temperatures coming, consider long-sleeve t-shirts and insulated travel mugs.

2. Flexible work. Organizations can allow employees some flexibility with when and where they work. This can benefit employees as well as companies. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than 70 percent of companies offer some type of flexible work arrangement. It results in higher productivity and more engaged employees.

3. Unlimited vacation time. On the surface, this might sound like an expensive benefit, but research shows that employees don't abuse having unlimited vacation time. And in many cases, the organization can use the benefit accrual to enhance the overall benefits package. Kronos CEO, Aron Ain, shares their experience with transitioning to unlimited time off in a Harvard Business Review article.

4. Voluntary and supplemental insurance. There are different insurance options that organizations can offer where the employee assumes the majority of the premium. Examples are dental, life or even pet insurance. In many cases, the cost to the employee isn't much and they appreciate having access to purchase the insurance. It's not something they would normally know how to obtain. These insurances are above and beyond the traditional healthcare insurance.

5. Better kitchen stock. An increasing number of organizations are taking a cue from Silicon Valley and offering up break room snacks for employees. But with the focus on wellness, it's time to swap out those cookies for fresh fruit and trade sugary sodas for sparkling water. Well, maybe just a few cookies…

6. Wellbeing programs. Organizations may consider including treadmill desks, bicycle desks, or under the desk ellipticals in the office. These are ways for office employees to be active while working at the same time. Also, for employees who work in an open office environment, companies might want to offer a small allowance for employees to purchase soundproof headphones and help increase their productivity.

7. Discounts. Organizations can work with other companies to negotiate discounts to popular places like restaurants, movie theaters, theme parks or retail stores. Even though discounts aren't the same as freebies, discounts can add up. Ask employees for their favorite places and see if discounts are available.

8. On-site services. Sometimes companies that provide services are willing to come on-site to provide a service to employees. Examples include dry cleaners that do pickup and delivery or massage therapists who can do 10-minute chair massages. Zappos provides employees with access to a life coach. If you're a smaller company, contract with a certified coach to come in once a month and employees can make appointments.

9. Caregiver support. A Pew Research study estimates that each day 10,000 people turn of retirement age. And this is expected for at least the next decade. As the Boomer population ages, an increasing number of employees will be faced with caregiver obligations. In a report from AARP, for every dollar invested in caregiver support programs like flextime, businesses can expect a return-on-investment between $1.70 and $4.34.

10. Summer Fridays. While summer is almost over, there's no reason organizations can't start planning now. Summer Fridays is the concept of giving employees Friday afternoons off. Maybe the business is a little slower. According to research, 42 percent of companies offered summer Fridays last year. You should review your current policies and consider adopting news ones, but if your organization can do it, it might be worth considering.

Ultimately, the perks an organization provides need to align with company culture. They need to attract, engage and retain talent. But, that doesn't mean that perks have to break the bank.

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