Creative Options for Employee Perks

Megan Sullivan by Megan Sullivan on June 25, 2014
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The media loves to rave about employee-friendly companies like Google and Zappos for their extensive employee perks, such as bowling alleys, unlimited food and on-site yoga. Some corporations even offer hockey rinks, rock walls and open bars for their staff.

Why do businesses spend thousands or more on these kinds of benefits for their employees? It is simple: to motivate, satisfy, engage and retain them. When it comes to workplace satisfaction, companies need to look at more than offering a competitive salary to attract the best workers. Employee perks can increase morale, camaraderie and employee loyalty.

While your company may not be on quite the same scale as Google or Zappos, there are plenty of more affordable, small-scale perk options for your business. Employing creative options can help you stand out from the crowd to attract and keep the best employees.

You may decide to opt for a perk program, which is a service or system that will take on the task of providing perks to your employees at a relatively cheap price. With a perk program, other businesses and vendors supply rewards to all of the employees involved in the program: think discounts on restaurants or concert tickets.

If a perks program seems too generic, you can always take your own creative ideas and put them into action at your office. Whatever you decide, you can use this list of programs and options as inspiration when implementing employee perks.

1. Perk Programs

Perk Programs are discount services that take the pressure off you to plan your perks and provide employees with great discounts and advantages.

  • AnyPerk: AnyPerk offers employee discounts to companies of all sizes. With hundreds of vendors, including Six Flags, Anytime Fitness and AT&T, this program gives a wide range of discounts and services on fitness, entertainment, travel and more.
  • PerkSpot: PerkSpot offers similar discounted services through partners such as Dell, Target and Walt Disney. PerkSpot also helps you set up specialty benefits and voluntary benefits programs.
  • Corporate Perks: Corporate Perks is an employee savings portal for small- and medium-sized businesses that allows users to aggregate their purchasing power to qualify for corporate rates and discounts. The company works with over 30,000 national and local merchants and also uses a reward point system to help employees save even more money.
  • Working Advantage: Another online employee savings portal, Working Advantage works with more than 10,000 companies and organizations and offers discounts on movie tickets, amusement parks, sporting events, hotels and more.

2. Traditional Options

Leveraging these staples allows for networking and relaxation; it shows employees your appreciation.

  • Company picnics
  • Company outings
  • Holiday parties
  • Company merchandise and discounts
  • Casual dress days
  • First-class travel
  • Benefits packages

3. Work-Life Balance

Show your employees that you respect their families and home life with various perks that will save them time and money.

  • On-site sitters/discounted childcare
  • Flexible schedule
  • Longer or untimed breaks
  • Extended holidays
  • Bring Your Pet to Work Days/pet-sitting services

4. Healthy Living

Healthy and happy employees mean fewer sick days and more revitalized workers.

  • Intramural sports teams
  • Napping pods/napping breaks
  • Healthcare centers and health fairs
  • On-site fitness facilities or discounts on fitness club memberships
  • On-site massages

5. Food-Based

Everyone has to eat. Save your employees time and money, all the while allowing them to stay in the office and avoid those long trips to the coffee shop.

  • Ordering-in lunch
  • Happy hours
  • Coffee and/or alcohol bars
  • Free snacks
  • Holiday turkey or other celebratory seasonal food

6. Commuting Relief

Providing transportation options will allow employees to feel relaxed and relieve a little stress.

  • Opportunity to work from home
  • Bus or train passes
  • Provide corporate carpool or vanpool

7. Concierge and Errand Services

These will help employees complete simple tasks that will save them time and allow them to focus on work.

  • Car washes
  • Help with dinner reservations
  • Oil changes and car repairs
  • Mailing packages
  • Event planning
  • Dry cleaning pickup
  • Maid services
  • Lawn care
  • Haircuts

8. Fun Options

Putting some play in the workday will improve morale and give much incentive to employees to come into work.

  • Employee game room (pool, foosball, etc.)
  • Theme days, such as costume days or potlucks
  • Free movies, video games or books
  • Office library
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Provide couches and a rest area
  • Gift cards
  • Fantasy Football and March Madness tournaments
  • Welcome package of company merchandise

If you need more ideas or want to find a better fit for your company, don’t wait for inspiration. Ask your employees sincerely what they want. This is a guaranteed way to understand how to keep your workers content and motivated. And never forget how far a simple “Thank you” can go.

Megan Sullivan

Megan has worked in the advertising and digital media space for over ten years, writing everything from content briefs to press releases to advertising copy. Industries she has worked in include: human resources, print media, digital media, computer software, online advertising and entertainment.

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