Slides that take you from one floor to the next. Nap pods that fold up into the wall. Free grocery delivery.
Some tech companies offer out-of-this-world perks, but they aren’t just a cool thing to brag about.
These perks directly drive happiness and retention. Employees that are happy with their work benefits are four times more likely to be happy with their jobs. And most employers, (79%), say that benefits play a major role in attracting talent.
But on-site gyms and free tuition don’t work for every company. And frankly, not all businesses can afford them.
So what are some easy, affordable, but exciting ways to motivate your employees?
1) Send Your Peers $$$
In place of the traditional performance review, have employees give each other feedback! This is an organic way of rewarding success and encouraging growth in areas that need improvement.
Zappos lets employees send “Zollars” to one another as a way to acknowledge their work. “Zollars” are redeemable for merchandise credit or charitable donations. At the end of the year, Zappos employees also have a $50 bonus to send to another employee.
Jason Averbook, CEO of TBMC, a company that helps companies build high-performing teams.
“Peer-to-peer bonuses are the equivalent of a Facebook ‘like. The recognition can be very good for internal company culture,” Averbook told FastCompany.
Studies show that 41% of companies that use peer-to-peer recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction.
2) Promoting Work-Life Balance
Campbell’s offers a full-service kindergarten and afterschool program on-site so that employees don’t have to worry about working pick-up and drop-off arrangements into their schedule.
But Campbell’s benefits are unusual. Child care is still a challenge that much of the workforce still struggles with. One in three parents say it’s difficult to find child care, and nearly one-third of all parents report that child care has caused financial hardship for their household.
Many studies highlight child care as one of the factors contributing to the scarce number of women in upper management positions. While 53% of women make up entry-level positions, only 19% of executives in the C-suite are women.
While you might not be able to offer on-site services overnight, you can consider offering parents flexible working arrangements or a stipend to use towards a local daycare or after school program.
3) Encourage Healthy Habits
Healthier employees are happier employees. They also save employers a lot of money. Collectively, full-time workers with chronic health problems miss about 450 million more days of work each year than healthy workers. This leads to more than $153 billion in lost productivity each year.
Larger companies, like Cisco for example, offer employees concierge health care, including acupuncture and physical therapy, in their LifeConnections Health Center.
But there are other more accessible ways to let employees know you care about their health and wellness.
At Bitly, we recently held a few yoga nights. The yoga class was led by a friend of a Bitly employee – the instructor was just getting his practice up and running so it was a good opportunity for him to test things out and a good way for the team to bring classes into the office at an affordable rate.
4) Scheduled Time To Be Creative
Employees at Google used to be encouraged to set aside 20% of their time to work on any project they want. It could be work related, but it was really a time meant to nurture creativity and test new ideas. The practice has now been shut down by Google, but other large tech companies have followed suit over the years.
LinkedIn has InCubator, a program that allows engineers to take time away from work to pursue building their own ideas. Apple has BlueSky, which allows employees to spend a few weeks pursuing their side projects.
Fundable makes a point to schedule time for the team to have fun together. Every night, the team logs off and gathers for a happy hour and NBA Jam tournament.
Whether it’s setting aside time for side projects, games, or to work out, encouraging some time away from the screen can help re-energize employees and get fresh ideas flowing.
5) Welcoming Four-Legged Family Members
By building a dog-friendly workplace, you can save pet owners the headache of figuring out daycare arrangements and worrying about rushing home to let the dogs out.
Other employees in the office benefit too. Many studies prove that having dogs in the workplace reduces stress.
Replacements, a dinnerware retailer, has had a dog-friendly office for decades. “Having dogs around leads to a more productive work environment, and people get to know each other through the pets,” Lisa Conklin, Replacements’ public relations manager, said to Inc. “If you are in a position where something is stressful, seeing that wagging tail and puppy smile brightens the day–it can turn around the whole environment.”
It’s becoming increasingly popular to see pet insurance as part of a company’s greater insurance package. We interviewed some HR experts recently about the biggest HR trends to look out for in 2018, and Rusty Sproat, CEO and Founder of Figo Pet Insurance said that Americans spend over $60 billion on their pets each year. That’s why American Eagle, TransUnion and Clarins have all started offering employees Figo Pet Insurance – it’s a big part of their lives.
6) Continuous Learning
Set aside a time to encourage employees to mentor fellow team members – whether it’s a specific line of business or a hobby from outside of work.
At Bitly, we hold weekly Lunch and Learns every Wednesday. A different member of the Bitly team will go up and speak about a topic they’re passionate about while the rest of the team listens over catered lunch from a nearby restaurant.
It’s a time we all look forward to – a chance to step away from our desks for a break and learn about a new topic. We’ve had employees present on everything from their hometown in the Bermudas to how to make your own hard cider and even the secret ingredient to making a pun funny.
Incorporating Life Outside The Office
When asked what leaders could do more of, 58% of employees said “give recognition.” But only 14% of organizations equip managers with the necessary tools to reward and recognize employees.
Whatever your budget or resources, there’s a way to thank your employees. Start by collecting more feedback on what your team cares about outside of the office. What are the biggest pain points? Is it commuting? Is it opportunities to develop additional skills? More time to spend with family?
The first step to showing appreciation is listening. Keep your ears open and you’ll get a better understanding of how to best reward your team.
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