Employee retention can be a challenge for many businesses. One area that most businesses can rapidly improve on and see almost immediate results in employee satisfaction is the suite of benefits that you provide for employees.
Benefits might include paid time off, family leave and workplace perks. In this post, we’ll explain five of the most popular employee benefits offered by major companies and how you can implement them in your workplace. Remember, happy, satisfied employees are far more likely to stay with your company for the long term while also engaging productively and bringing value to your organization.
Here’s what you need to start considering.
1. Paid family leave
One of the most effective ways to get ahead of competitors is offering family leave for your employees. Family leave, sometimes referred to as maternity or paternity leave, is a policy where you allow your employees to take a few weeks off if they’ve recently had a baby.
Too many employers have strict policies surrounding family leave, allowing only a few weeks - or even just a few days - to parents who have recently had kids. Employers feel that by allowing too much time off for their employees, they may lose too much value; unfortunately, this often has the opposite effect.
Employers who don’t allow employees time off when they’ve had a baby may not lose as much value in the short term, but in the long term, they suffer losses like these:
- High quality employees seek work elsewhere, knowing they will get a better deal with a better company
- Employee satisfaction drops, as they feel their personal lives aren’t respected by their employer
- Employees may simply quit when they have a baby, causing you to scramble to hire someone new
The solution? Allow at least a month of paid leave for new parents - your organization will benefit long-term.
2. At least four weeks off per year
Time off is an important part of work. Why? Because humans simply aren’t made to work round the clock all year round. Not giving employees enough time off can result in losing out on serious productivity. Employees become burnt out, distracted, and they may even begin looking for another job that has more flexible time off.
Four weeks per year allows employees plenty of time to rest, recharge and come back to work feeling energized and ready to tackle the tasks in front of them. Plus, in today’s highly professionalized workforce, you can bet that top-tier applicants will only want to work for companies with time off policies that allow them to live a full life.
3. Flexible work hours
Working 9 to 5 has been the standard for more than a century for many professionals. However, times are changing. As more work goes online and managers realize that most professionals are personally motivated in their careers, it’s becoming more and more clear that managers don’t need to adhere to a strict schedule for their employees.
Instead, consider offering flex hours. Flex hours work like this: let’s say your employees each have an average of 30 productivity hours to complete in a week, and must be reachable 40 hours per week. Instead of requiring that they be in office for that full 40 hours, you might allow them to spend some time at home (more on that in a moment), or work different hours depending on their own schedules.
Let's say that one employee’s kids go to school at 7:30 am. By allowing them to work from 8 to 4 instead of 9 to 5, you make it easier for them to drop off their kids at school and get started on their day straight away. This will increase employee satisfaction significantly.
4. Remote work options
The COVID-19 pandemic has hurried along a trend that was already well in motion - the growing prominence of remote work. Modern employees are no longer satisfied with being chained to an office all day. They want the flexibility to work from their home offices, local cafes, on the train or in an airport if they need to.
That’s why many employers are allowing their employees to work from home at least a few days of the week. Rather than tracking how much time is spent in office, you can track the amount of work that actually gets done. This is what’s most important to your bottom line anyway.
You can also pair remote work with flex hours. How? Remember the employee mentioned earlier whose kids go to school at 7:30? Let’s say that school ends at 2. They’ve still got two hours of work left. If they had a remote work option, they might leave work at 1:30, pick up the kids, then head home and continue working from there for a few more hours.
Employees who are serious about their jobs are also serious about other aspects of their lives, like being a good parent or attending to their homes. Allowing remote work recognizes this and ensures you attract more dedicated employees.
5. Employee ownership
This last option is one of the more difficult transitions for many companies, but it’s a feature that many employees, especially of the younger generations, will be much more interested in. Here’s how it works:
In addition to salary and insurance benefits, be sure that your employees are offered stock in the company as well. Giving your employees a shareholder’s say may seem worrying at first, but it’s actually a smart move. It benefits the employee because the total value of compensation you’re offering them increase, and it benefits the company because your employees are now more invested in your success.
Picking the right suite of benefits to make your company a competitive employer can seem like a challenge, but by focusing on putting people first and trusting employees to be personally-driven professionals, you can build a set of benefits that will have top talent banging on your door looking for a job.