Employee Assessments

Job Perks Are Big for 2017… But Do Your Employees Want Them?

Richard Ware
7 min read

Human resource professionals, such as yourself, understand that the challenges your organization faces in engaging your employees meaningfully and rewarding their hard work.

Offering perks is one of the best ways to attract and keep the best talent. At least that’s the idea, with large companies going beyond traditional offerings to include on-site child care, fitness reimbursements, house cleaning, and more. Indeed, as 2016 winds to a close and 2017 appears on the horizon, the search for job perks your employees will actually appreciate continues to dominate human resource planning and discussions.

Finding the ideal mix of employee benefits and perks ensures that the spark of excitement that animated your employee’s first day on the job continues as they transition into seasoned professionals within your organization. While a daunting proposition, discovering what they are looking for is an easy as listening to their concerns, both inside and outside the office, and not being afraid to throw different ideas into the mix until you have a workable perks program. Benefits and perks have consistently been rated as being of more value than a pay raise according to employee surveys, so tapping into this mindset is the key to happy employees and lower turnover rates.


Perks that Matter: Don’t Give an Ugly Sweater

As you know, human resource professionals understand that perks that matter to their workers have far more value than perfunctory perks put in place for no other reason than to say that you have a perk plan. Analogous to the ugly holiday sweater that your aunt buys you every Christmas and is rarely worn after she gets on the plane to go home, work perks that offer little utility to your employees are unlikely to find much use or appreciation.

As such, finding the metaphorical “sweater” that they will proudly wear is the primary goal of all your deliberations regarding how to implement a viable employee appreciation effort that will matter to your employees.

Regardless of the size of your company, or the amount of money you have budgeted for employee development, you can devise the perks that everyone will be talking about around the water cooler.


Talk to Your Employees About Their Needs

The problem with devising plans from the heights of ivory towers is the fact that the devisors have little knowledge of what’s bothering people all the way down at street level.

Needless to say, while everyone enjoys partaking of the complimentary doughnuts in the lunchroom, truly meaningful perks that add value to the employee’s overall life are the ones that will be valued, used, and appreciated.

Discerning what employees need… means you need to talk to them. And listen.

Surveys and questionnaires have illustrated that the vast majority of employees would prefer benefits that improve their day-to-day lives to a boost in pay, so it is your task to find out what is more important to them than money? Since job perks are the next big trend in business, it behooves you to fathom what perks will be most prized by your staff.

Survey your employees and find out what factors impact their work lives. This information is critical to providing a meaningful perk plan.

There are a myriad of available perks that you can offer your employees from dental and vision insurance to retirement plans to life insurance options. Figuring out what works for your company also extends to the “fun” perks. Maybe your employees would find it helpful to have a local CSA drop off summer vegetables in your lobby, rather than having to drive out of their way. Or offering seasonal flex schedules so that busy employees can make the most of summer with their families.

Generally speaking, you will find that when it comes to benefits your employees will use, they will not be shy about giving you the information you need to put together a winning perk package.

In fact, two of the most popular programs mentioned among workers include wellness programs and flexible scheduling that recognizes the importance of their lives outside the office and off the clock. We talk about both of these below.

Wellness and Well-Being

When fishing for top talent to join your organization and establishing programs that enable them to thrive in their new position, employers are turning to wellness and well-being programs that benefit both the employer and the employee.

Beyond attracting and retaining top talent, wellness programs serve to limit absenteeism, reduce stress, and lower healthcare costs while catering to the rising demand of Americans looking to embrace a more healthy lifestyle.

Acknowledging this reality, within the last year, companies have boosted the health related benefits employees receive by more than half in a trend that is forecast to continue through 2017. If you are looking at ways to boost employee health, retention, and quality of life, think about what a team-based membership to the local gym will do for company morale and performance.


Flexible Work Schedule

Anyone who has ever attempted to run an errand during business hours, schedule a doctor visit, or juggle family responsibilities understands that a flexible work schedule can go a long way towards reducing stress. As such, work flexibility tops the wish list of employees looking for a more balanced work and home life.

This perk plan recognizes the competing responsibilities we all have to field to enjoy a balanced lifestyle. From working from home to creative scheduling designed to better anticipate workflow, developing a flexible work schedule is a win-win situation for both employer and employed.


For Perks That Resonate, Think Outside the Box

Thinking outside the parameters of established company perks is critical to finding the ideal mix of benefits that your employees will truly appreciate. For best affect, you also want to look beyond the confines of the office walls as well.

Specifically, understand that your employees have a completely different life outside the eight hours they spend at their desks, so offering job perks that benefit their outside lives goes a long way to generating enthusiasm and participation in your program.

The key to crafting a well received perk plan is found by talking to your employees, thinking outside the standard benefit box, and not being afraid to try out a mix of new ideas until you find the right package.


Job Perks Designed to Please

Attracting and retaining quality staff is just the beginning of the benefits you gain from establishing a job perks plan that is designed to impress.

An appreciative employee who knows that they are appreciated are more focused and better attuned to their day-to-day responsibilities. This results in higher productivity and an improved bottom line for the company, while delivering a sense of belonging and peace of mind for the employee.

In a win-win scenario, job perks can be the glue that holds together your staff and delivers superior results when you find the ideal mix of benefits that your employees will gladly appreciate.

You may be surprised which perks resonate. Our lead content writer’s favorite SurveyGizmo office perk is, of course, our kitchen’s well-stocked drawer of potatoes.

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