Updated: Mar 27, 2019
simple and affordable ideas you can add to your employee benefits package without breaking the bank
As I start my own preparations for our open enrollment in June (yes, I know it's strange to have a July-June plan year), I thought it'd be fun to highlight some of the more creative, simple, and affordable benefits & perks I've used in the past to #beefup our employee benefits package.
As I mentioned in this post, employees have more information and expectations than ever before. As employers, we either keep up or risk being replaced. Here's 10 ideas for enhancing your benefits package without breaking the bank.
1. Professional development
I don't want to be a broken record here, but please, I'm begging you to consider this amazing perk for your employees. Find someone willing to offer your employees coaching sessions, discounted personal assessments, & onsite development courses. I'm talking lunch-n-learns, skills training, onsite professional photography... you get it. Any of these offerings are sure to spark some serious engagement with your employees.
*Pro-tip: Hicks Resources does all of this as a one stop solution. Give us a call!
2. Healthy snacks, fruit, coffee & tea
You'd be surprised at the amount of companies who don't even offer free coffee. #crazytown
This idea is so simple, cheap, and provides a lot of convenience. My company has fresh fruit delivered every week (apples, bananas, and grapes) as well as healthy and mostly organic snacks (protein bars, organic fruit snacks and cheddar bunnies, beef jerky, a variety of nuts, popcorn, etc). We provide k-cups of regular and decaf coffee plus one specialty coffee as well as a variety of teas. All employees enjoy and gladly partake.
*Pro-tip: We used to have a weekly snack delivery company administer this perk, but after realizing how much more affordable it was to order stuff off Amazon, we switched. Consider all options!
3. Flexible work arrangements
There are endless types of flexible offerings to reference here, but I'm sticking to the ones that I think actually provide value to both the employer and employee: flexible work schedules, remote (work from home) opportunities, and compressed work weeks.
Flexible schedules: consider allowing employees to pick when they come and go, as long as they are available during 'core work hours'. For example, your core hours could be 10-3 (when most business happens). Allow employees to choose when they come in and when they leave, as long as they work during the core hours and meet their daily hours requirement. There's a ton of upside to this benefit and very little down.
Remote jobs/work from home: take a look at the jobs that make up your workforce. Which one's require little to no face to face interaction? Do your web developers really need to be seen in the office everyday? Do your customer service reps only deal with customers on the phone? Open your mind to allowing some positions (where it makes business sense) to work from home, either full time or part time. This is the future of work - better keep up.
Compressed work week is one of my favorites. There's something amazing about being able to tell potential employees that they only have to work 37.5 hours a week at my company. Instead of working an 8 hour day, we work a 7.5 hour day. This allows employees to spent that extra 30 minutes with their children, beat the commute, get a workout in... whatever they want to do with it!
*Pro-tip: I don't hate this article from SHRM on the finer details of flexible work arrangements. Check out the blurb about Unilever.
4. 'Dress for your day' dress code
Are you making your employees dress business casual or professional but have no real reason why? Honestly, very few employees actually meet with customers. Usually it's just sales people and those in leadership. Slash the notion that business casual is the only acceptable way to do work, and empower your employees to make smart decisions to dress for their own day. Employees who feel comfortable at work will surely be more effective, and not be more excited about getting home to take off her high heels than she is about literally anything else.
*Pro-tip: I used some material from this policy in my company's dress for your day code.
5. Paid time to volunteer
A lot of companies have attempted this with little success. They might offer it in their handbook, but they don't advertise it, thus employees are unaware. What I'm saying is, it's an unused benefit that looks good on a company's website, but doesn't provide any actual value to your employees. Here's one idea below:
Launch an annual service week, like this below from Avant LLC!
Day 1: Serving lunch as a team at the Nashville Soup Kitchen
Day 2: Packing/sorting food at the Nashville Food Pantry
Day 3: Walking dogs from the Williamson County Animal Shelter at a local park
Day 4: Collecting and donating clothing to the needy as part of a Spring cleaning efforts
Day 5: Making grab-bags for the homeless that we deliver to the shelters: water bottles, snacks, toothbrushes/paste, socks, deodorant, lotions, etc (we do this as a team building event at the office).
*Pro-tip: Survey your employees about which non-profits or charities they'd be interested in volunteering with and then call those organizations!
6. Wellness programs
I'm talking holistic wellness of course - mind, body, & soul. Offer on-site biometric health screenings & chair massages. Start team walking/step competitions (most people already have a step counter device anyways!) with spa day prizes. Have a yoga instructor or meditation specialist come on-site once a week at the end of the day to do a 45 minute practice. Find a therapist looking to grow their business who'll offer discounted therapy sessions for employees. Partner with a local gym or fitness center to create a corporate discount program. Get creative!
7. Company swag
Employee's love company branded stuff, but for some reason most companies act like their branded gear are blocks of gold. I once had a marketing director tell me (the HR Manager) that company pull-overs were only for VPs and up... what?!! Links to some awesome ideas below:
☕Yeti Coffee Mugs - http://tinyurl.com/yymefjph
3/4 zip pullovers - http://tinyurl.com/y2d433ea
🎧Wireless earbuds - http://tinyurl.com/y6d87vwg
Phone credit card sleeves - http://tinyurl.com/y36k3oxp
8. Paid time off enhancements
A trending topic is how much vacation time employers can offer without sacrificing business productivity. Here's what I've learned that actually works:
Front load their paid time off instead of making them accrue it before they can use it. Thus, they can use it at their discretion for the full year.
Move away from the 5 year gap in PTO allotment increases, and switch to an annual increase. This will promote a longer tenure of your employees, instead of making them wait till a 5 year service anniversary before they get any more vacation time.
Implement a roll-over. Allow say, a 5 day max rollover so they can bank some extra time year to year if they have a big vacation planned or maybe will be expecting another child.