As the third installment of my fringe benefits that won’t break the bank series, these benefits provide high value with a reasonable investment. For most of them, you set the spending levels. As with most of the benefits I’ve shared, you’ll want to determine what is a meaningful investment and what will resonate with your employees. My work with my clients over the years has helped me to develop these offerings for you to consider. All of the fringe benefits I’ve shared will help to increase employee engagement in your organization.
Tickets to Cultural or Sporting Events
I guarantee that your local area has events that your employees would love to attend. Use your group purchasing power to buy tickets and make them available to your employees at a nominal cost. Tickets to events are also a great way to recognize your employees and the key is to know what kind of event they would enjoy.
Your employees are making donations to charities in a number of ways such as participating in fund raising events, gifts recognizing loved ones and straight up donations. Matching their gifts is a wonderful way to show your support for their philanthropy efforts. Many organizations offer this benefit and don’t always market it well. Let all your employees know you offer a matching program.
Our Millennials are graduating college with significant college loan debt. Providing a program at the point-of-hire or on an anniversary basis will help to engage them and glue them to your organization. Of course, you still need to provide development opportunities and competitive pay. I’m seeing organizations use this strategy to attract top talent.
Take Out for New Parents
Those of us who are parents remember how challenging the first few months of parenthood were. Let your new parents expense take out meals. Organizations offering this type of benefit are setting maximum amounts that can be expensed for a specified period of time. New parents have more time to spend with their bundle of joy without neglecting their own well being.
Fully Stocked Kitchen
Providing silverware, napkins and paper cups shows your employees that you care about their most basic need; eating. There’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot a spoon to eat your yogurt, you’re starving, and your boss needs a report in 15 minutes. I’m working with a client right now that provides “sporks” and paper towel. Daily I hear employees mentioning that knives, spoons, forks, and napkins would be nice. Do the right thing and provide it all.
Providing a free lunch every day may break the bank for you. Consider providing pizza Friday or a periodic ice cream social. Besides your employees being thrilled that you are picking up the tab, these types of camaraderie events allow your teams to connect with other teams. Connecting with others in the workplace is critical to learning new skills, forging collaboration and just plain having FUN.
A common theme in my fringe benefit writing has been around wellness and chair massages are an easy way to reduce stress and refresh your workforce. As with any benefit, ensure that your employees will find this value added. My attorney friend tells me that her firm offered chair massages and very few employees opted in. Because lawyers bill hourly, no one wanted to miss an hour of billing. They opened the massages up to other businesses in their building.
Community College Vouchers
Many organizations offer tuition reimbursement. Some organizations are realizing that not everyone is interested in a degree program. You have employees who simply want to take a class to sharpen a skill or enrich their personal knowledge. Community colleges provide these opportunities at a reasonable cost and your local college would love to work with you. The key to success with this benefit is to allow your employees to take a class that resonates with them.
Employee Referral Bonus
We are experiencing the lowest unemployment in 16 years. Finding the right talent is becoming a challenge. Who better to help you find top talent than your current employees. Take a look at your employee referral bonus. Do you market it? Is the payout attractive? What percent of your new employees were referred by an existing employee? According to the Great Place to Work Institute, great workplaces find that 40% of their new talent is referred by existing talent.
Financial Adoption Assistance
In my last blog, I talked about parental leave for the birth and adoption of a child. Adopting a child is an expense and providing assistance lets your new parents know that you support them. Some organizations provide a lump sum and others reimburse for specific expenses such as agency fees, court costs or legal fees. Providing this benefit demonstrates fairness and equity with employees who receive insurance benefits for childbirth expenses.
Commuting to work can incur some serious expenses for transportation and parking. Your organization has the ability to offer a tax-free employer paid subsidy and a pre-tax employee paid deduction. Pre-tax programs lower your organization’s payroll taxes and employees take home more in their paycheck. A win for both of you.
Many organizations have a “years of service” recognition program. Consider adding a special gift for birthdays, marriages, birth or adoption of a child, and completion of a degree program. I have a few clients who provide managers with a gift fund to recognize significant milestones. As with all recognition, know your audience. Buying a bottle of champagne for an employee that doesn’t drink alcohol shows that you don’t really know that person.