June is Employee Well-being Month and it’s a great opportunity to highlight what organizations are doing to nurture personal relationships with their employees and create admirable work cultures. According to research, more than 57% of workers say employee benefits and perks are top considerations for accepting a job. Companies like Netflix and LinkedIn have raised the bar by offering their employees unlimited vacation days, as well as maternity and paternity leaves for the first year after a child is born. Asana and Zappos are known for prioritizing self-improvement with external mentorships and life coaching. Meanwhile, Google has generated a lot of fanfare for its incredible perks, including an endless array of free gourmet food and snacks and an attractive 401k plan.
The good news is, you don’t need to be a Fortune 500 or be a large cap company to attract the best talent. As the CEO of my company BRIC Language Learning for 8 years, I have managed teams with a diverse set of personal needs to keep them engaged and happy at work. In designing and implementing perks for my staff, I made sure I looked at how I could support their professional development, boost their morale when work gets stressful and, most importantly, make them feel that I genuinely care about their overall welfare.
Here is a list of employee perks that you could easily implement or tailor-fit to your own company:
Studies have shown that millennials are known to prioritize travel over buying a home or car. It’s no surprise then that the 20 to 30-something employee would look for related work benefits that give them the freedom to explore the world. Not surprisingly, companies like Airbnb offer a $2,000 travel budget for their staff.
Non-business related travel perks are an essential benefit our company has been offering for years. As BRIC requires me to travel frequently, I’ve racked up so much mileage that I’m able to offer round trip tickets to key people in my company. The only thing I would request of my employees is that they take photos from their trip for us share on Instagram and come back with good stories for our blog. In addition to good photos and real-life stories, our employees take ownership over our social accounts which does nothing but make them stronger – a win-win.
College Savings Plan
I’ve done this for a few employees internationally and I have not received a better reaction. This has gone over well in the different countries where I have employees, but I’ve had incredibly heartwarming responses from my Chinese staff. A young lady was brought to tears when I shared the good news that she would be receiving this benefit. It showed that not only was I thinking of her, but also her children and her family’s future.
To increase confidence and performance, international companies would benefit from offering language classes. This goes for not only expat assignments but also for teaching English as a second language to international members of your team. Language training can boost job performance, increase work productivity and overall make the lives of your employees in multicultural work environments so much easier and more fulfilling.
Annual Executive Physicals
Due to high costs that only keep escalating, health-related benefits could be a deal breaker for most individuals who have multiple job offers on the table. It’s critical to show your employees that you care about their physical and mental health. For international companies, giving access to expat healthcare to your local staff can also go a long way.
In many developing countries, hospital visits require excruciating wait times for healthcare that are subpar. Ensuring that these systems are in place show potential and current employees that you are helping them avoid additional stress should they get sick or suffer any health condition.
Volunteer and Charitable Giving Opportunities
This is a fantastic way for your teams to not only spend quality time together outside of work, but also feel proud about your brand’s heritage and culture. Other companies like Timberland, for example, pay their employees up to 40 hours of paid time off yearly to volunteer. At BRIC, not only do we offer several scholarships to people within and outside of our company but, to bolster our community service mindset, we also participate in several local charities around the world. We usually have staff send in recommendations and vote on the different options as a team.
Company Sponsored Sports Teams
We sponsored a local soccer team in Shanghai and this initiative has built camaraderie within our team. While not everyone in our company played, myself included, it was great watching and cheering on those that did play! We’d usually make an enjoyable day out of each game by having beers, wine, baijiu and barbecue while watching and cheering our team.
Onsite Gym or Membership
As improving health and wellness are now core perks of startups and companies alike, gym memberships or in-office gym facilities today seem like an obvious workplace benefit. Reebok, Microsoft and a growing number of small businesses now offer fitness classes and gym stipends that encourage workers to keep healthy and fit.
While some of these employee perks might be challenging to implement, know that there are a multitude of offerings you can start in your own company or recommend to your managers. The key here is to be creative and authentic as you formulate ideas. Take note that the value is not always monetary and that a hefty price tag on the benefit or perk will not always translate to employee happiness or job satisfaction. Also, don’t be afraid to experiment on what works and what doesn’t. As CEO or HR executive, you are always free to re-assess and ensure that the benefits you have in place are actually helping your employees improve their well-being.