An engaged employee is somebody who is committed to their work and enthusiastic about what they do. Yet the percentage of engaged employees around the world lies at just 15%.
It’s a sad, sad situation. So how do we remedy it?
Today’s employees want much more from work than just a paycheck. They crave meaningful, rewarding, and enjoyable experiences.
Office perks can go a long way toward providing such experiences.
However, you need to know that there’s more to office perks than free coffee and a ping pong table in the back. Those things are nice and can be effective, but employees also want rewards and incentives that are relevant to them, experiences that improve their wellbeing, ongoing professional development, and impactful policy changes that make their work easier and more fulfilling.
So let’s talk about implementing an office perks strategy that’s better than anything you’ve done before. One that will truly change your employees’ workplace experience.
Why Do Office Perks Matter?
The amazing thing is that office perks don’t just have a meaningful impact on employees but also on the business.
A good benefits and rewards system will help you attract and retain employees. Plus, it offers a fantastic return on investment by increasing employee performance.
What Does Success Look Like?
Higher Employee Retention
How do you reduce employee turnover?
Well, employees are more likely to care about the company they work for if it can prove it cares about them. 69% of employees say a wider range of programs and benefits would increase their loyalty to a company.
In other words, office perks make staff want to stick around.
Top Talent at Your Company
An appealing perks package makes the task of attracting the best workers in your industry much easier.
It gives talent a strong reason to choose your company over another. For instance, 70% of US employees are at least somewhat likely to jump ship to a company that invests in their learning and development.
Happy and Engaged Employees
Office perks contribute to better office culture, meaning that employees can actually enjoy themselves when they’re at work.
The bonus here is that happy employees work harder. An engaged workforce increases productivity by 17% and reduces absenteeism by 41%.
Office perks have a great ROI for many reasons. With higher retention rates, for example, you reduce the costs and resources spent on sourcing, hiring, and onboarding employees.
And an engaged workforce that works more effectively is only going to produce better results.
Office Perks Case Study
Great Place to Work is a management consultancy that specializes in employee surveys, and workplace certification. As such, it has to be true to its name and mission.
Nevertheless, in the past, its employee perk programs were impersonal, inflexible, and disjointed. That is until it found an innovative, novel way to turn its program around.
Now, the company offers a flexible monthly stipend to employees to spend in a way that’s meaningful to them personally.
The funds can be used to cover unexpected emergencies, student loan repayments, as well as financial areas where they or their families may be lacking e.g. to cover transport costs or even food.
The point is, Great Place to Work knows it has a diverse workforce who have different circumstances in life. So the funds can be used to improve financial wellness on an individual level.
The monthly stipend can also be used by employees to better themselves. For example, they can pay for health and wellness activities, travel, continual learning, or anything that helps them to improve productivity.
Employees can also choose to donate their money to charity, or even spend their stipend on their pets.
Essentially, whatever’s important to the employee is a-okay with Great Place to Work.
The company uses Compt, a perk stipend software provider, to dispense the funds. And according to them, “This setup has worked perfectly for what Great Place to Work® envisioned for supporting their employees – perks that are diverse, inclusive, timely and meaningful.”
The program has seen excellent engagement rates:
And employees have expressed their immense joy and gratitude via employee feedback surveys.
- Empower your employees by offering perks that demonstrate trust.
- Make sure the perks you provide are flexible, inclusive, and relevant to your people.
Employee Surveys – One Secret Weapon to Master Office Perks
Even if you’re not keen on offering complete flexibility – or don’t have the resources to – you should still make your office perks personalized.
Use employee surveys to gauge what has or is going to have the biggest positive impact on your workforce. This will ultimately maximize the ROI of the office perks that you provide.
First, you can use surveys to figure out the most relevant perks for your office. What works for the charity sector may not work for the engineering sector, for example.
And if you have a large number of employees, you can even dig a little deeper to offer personalized perks to different groups of employees. For example, your remote employees might benefit from an expanded tech package, while your in-house employees could prefer help with their commute to work like public transportation passes or gas station gift cards.
Monitor Employee Satisfaction
It’s also important to keep an eye on the impact of office perks. This way you can see if your office perks remain relevant and helpful to employees and are therefore keeping them happy.
Measure employee satisfaction levels before you implement a new perk or set of perks. Then continue to monitor satisfaction thereafter.
Monitoring employee satisfaction seems like a gargantuan task. But it can be simplified using a good HR tool.
One of the more comprehensive solutions, for example, is Paycom, which has a range of tools for different areas of HR. This includes a workforce surveys tool that HR pros use to collect, measure, and review data on employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and benefits satisfaction.
4 Essential Office Perks Strategies
1. Align Perks with Company Goals
Consider your company values and what you hope to achieve through introducing office perks. This way you can create a program of perks that has a purpose, and choose the most appropriate benefits to advance your goals.
For instance, you may want to foster an atmosphere in the work environment that attracts certain types of candidates. Or perhaps you aim to increase productivity within your existing workforce, etc.
Either way, get together with the key decision-makers and properly define your goals.
Hootsuite, for example, offers perks that align with its core values and goals–to create the ultimate work-life balance and look after its staff’s mental health. That’s why they’re introducing a company-wide week off among other mental health initiatives.
This is part of their aim to “[look] outside the box for new, creative ways to retain talent and ensure a healthy workforce.”
2. Find Out What Your Employees Really Want
Figure out the needs and desires of your workforce to offer the most relevant perks.
As mentioned at the start, employees seek a personalized, meaningful experience. Offering it to them means finding out what “meaningful” actually looks like in their eyes, not just in yours.
Use an HR tool such as Paycom to survey employees. Ask questions, such as:
- Are you satisfied with the current employee benefits?
- Which perks do you like most/least?
- What other benefits would you like to see introduced?
- How important are [free lunches/casual dress/an on-site gym etc.] to you?
This way you get to see what’s working so you can offer more of the same. Also what’s not working so you can scrap those things and use the budget to provide better perks.
Plus, you can learn what’s important to people so you can come up with new ideas for perks that’ll make a difference to them. If you find a lot of variation in the needs and desires of your workforce, you may even wish to set up a flexible program like Great Place to Work.
3. Know What’s Out There
There’s a bunch of different office perks you can introduce but you may not know where to start. Or perhaps there’s something that would be perfect for your company but you’ve just not heard of it yet.
You need to know what you can offer realistically, where you can source it, and so on. This is all part of the research process.
Office perks fall into several categories. Here are some examples for you to take inspiration from:
- Workplace – catered lunches, a gaming setup, snacks & drinks
- Financial Wellness – student loan help, childcare, employee discounts
- Health and Wellbeing – private health benefits, gym membership, a meditation program
- Commercial – store vouchers, streaming subscription, tech
- Policy – flexible work hours, extended parental leave, casual Fridays
- Professional Development – online courses, conferences, performance bonuses
- Social Events – happy hour, sports clubs, company outings
- Investment Opportunities – profit share, stocks
You may also wish to seek inspiration from similar companies if you’re stuck. For example, if you’re a hospitality company, you could look at what a successful company in your industry like Starbucks does:
Obviously, you can’t just copy another company’s perks because that would make for an impersonal experience.
Rather, you can cherrypick ideas that meet the desires of your employees and align with your company goals.
4. Make Sure Employees Are Well-Informed
Your amazing program of perks will be meaningless if your people aren’t aware of them or if they don’t understand them. They won’t have the desired effect you were hoping for, whether that’s increasing employee loyalty, retention, etc.
So you need to set up a couple of campaigns to promote the program. First, set up a way to clearly communicate what’s available to existing staff and new starters. This might be an informative email or brochure, for example.
You may also want to create an onboarding campaign. Perhaps you have an online platform that employees must use to receive their benefits. In this example, you might create video tutorials to walk staff through the platform. This will ensure maximum engagement with your perks.
Most Common Mistakes When Implementing Office Perks
There are a few pitfalls to be aware of when it comes to offering rewards and incentives to employees. Here’s what you need to avoid:
- Too Complex – It’s a good rule of thumb to keep it simple. For instance, if you were to use a platform or piece of software to dispense perks, it needs to be accessible for everybody.
Or if there were a range of different milestones to reach in order to receive certain performance bonuses, the whole process would not be easy to follow. And when perks are too complex, employees won’t bother engaging.
- A Non-Sustainable Budget – There’d be nothing worse than giving staff perks that you have to take away the following year due to budget restraints. Create a program of perks that can last for the long term given your average budget for this kind of thing.
- Lack of Flexibility – Though you may create a program that can potentially go the distance, it doesn’t mean perks should stay the same forever. You must continually review the impact of perks because circumstances change. For example, if the economy were to take a hit then you may wish to shift the focus of perks to financial wellness.
- Failing to Set an Example – When those in leadership roles actively engage in office perks and share their experiences, others are more likely to follow suit. So be sure to show your staff that your specific set of perks are worthwhile.
All in all, the widespread lack of employee engagement is a serious problem. Yet office perks can offer employees a more positive, meaningful experience at work. That is as long as you do office perks the right way.
These days, you can’t just stick a box of free snacks in the canteen and be done with it. To have an impact on employee wellbeing and in turn a positive impact on your business, you must get to know your employees and provide the perks they need. So use the strategies in this guide to implement an effective set of office perks.