Nowadays, employees need more than decent pay and health coverage to feel truly happy at work, and it’s no secret that employee happiness is your greatest strength.

One study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. But, you might still be wondering if a perks program is right for your team’s unique needs.

Now, we may be biased, but the short answer is that a perks program is right for any company that wants to support its employees beyond essential benefits. And while benefits like great health insurance still reign supreme, perks like education, fringe benefits, flexible hours, and company retreats are becoming increasingly more valued by employees.

What are perks at work?

Simply put, perks include ways to support your employees in addition to salary and health benefits.

Perks at work do not replace essential company components like mission, values, or culture. What they add, however, is where their power lies—they’ve been shown to increase employee happiness and retention, plus, what’s the harm in adding a little pizzazz to your already top-notch benefits package? 💫

Why perks matter

1. They help employees feel happier and more motivated  

If you think about what a perks program really represents, it’s more than a gym membership, free meals, and coffee delivery. A perks program represents a way for your employees to have a more balanced and productive life. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

2. They attract and retain superstar talent 

Perks are becoming more and more essential as the workforce changes. 40% of employees agreed they would leave their current job within a year for another offering more fringe benefits, and 68% of people think “work perks” are just as important as health coverage.

Today’s top talent is seeking employers that will provide benefits that support their growth, and have no fear of moving on if said employer isn’t offering employees the tools they need to grow and succeed.

3. They contribute to a strong, scalable company culture

When it comes to perks, be intentional about what you choose for your team members. Don’t just provide free coffee because everyone loves coffee and it boosts morale and energy, yadda yadda yadda, everyone gets free coffee, hooray!

Don’t get us wrong, free coffee is awesome, but you can use today’s cool perk solutions to your advantage by offering something that strengthens the unique values of your company. For example, if one of your core values is growth and continued learning, you can implement a perk that gives your employees an allowance towards education in whatever form they see fit. The result: win-wins for all involved. 

4. Perks show support for your employees beyond their salary

80% of employees we surveyed prefer perks over a higher salary. 🤯While fair and equal pay is the priority, keeping employees happy doesn’t always require a salary increase.

Personalized perks can enhance employees’ lives in many ways above what cold hard cash can. With perks that add convenience, support education, save time, and encourage community, there are plenty of ways to make your employees feel valued beyond a fair salary.

Perks at work work for companies of all sizes

We’ve worked with small businesses with fewer than 10 employees to teams with more than 1,000 employees. All of these companies have the same goal in mind: to reward, recognize, and empower their employees.

No matter the size of your company, a perks program can make your employees feel valued and supported. When you implement programs that feel personal and empowering for your team, over time, both your company and its people will grow and prosper together.

The HOTH is a worthy example of this. While exploring ways to offer better health, fitness, and wellness options to their team of 40, they found that by implementing a wellness allowance in Zestful for their employees, they gained the ability to provide their team with a longer list of more useful and accessible wellness options. As a result, engagement in their wellness program skyrocketed.

Read our customer story: The HOTH

So, if that’s your goal (and we think it should be), then a perks program is right for your company. Next up, let’s look at how to be intentional about choosing the perks & benefits that are right for your team.

Top 10 employee benefits

According to data pulled from the Zestful platform, the top perk programs in 2019 include:

  1. Clothing and Products 
  2. Fitness and Health 
  3. Events and Experience 
  4. Home and Life 
  5. Charity 
  6. Transit 
  7. Travel
  8. Education 
  9. Food & Drink
  10. Entertainment

Company size and goals are factors, but what the data ultimately shows is that choosing the right work perks for your team is just as important as implementing a perks program altogether.

Choosing the right perks for your company

When it comes to perks, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about implementing perks at work. 

Consider the role of the perk

Each perk needs to have a purpose. And honestly, that purpose doesn’t have to be all that complicated.

For example, if you want to add a level of effortlessness to your employees’ lives, you could add a perk like catered lunches or an in-office barista for optimal convenience. If you want to enhance your company culture, think about the things your team values, then add perks like monthly community outings or a team ride at your local spin studio.

Thinking about the role of a perk in your unique situation makes it easier to intentionally choose based on your budget and the needs of your employees.

Think about how many employees it supports

When it comes to choosing perks, make sure you’re keeping in mind how many employees they’ll apply to. Assuming that all perks will apply to everyone is an unbalanced—and potentially dangerous—way of thinking.

A great way to go about this is to keep your perks flexible at first. Take stock of who’s participating, and know that engagement can differ based on the size of your team. Based on data pulled from the Zestful platform, a company ranging from 1–25 employees often utilize food & drink perks first, followed by home & life, then entertainment. Alternatively, a company with 101–500 employees utilized home & life perks first, with food & drink and fitness & health perks coming in a close second.

Remember: Nothing is forever. Keeping an eye on what perk programs are being utilized by your team, and making adjustments over time, will give you an idea of what to offer more or less of. It’ll also help paint a better picture of the unique needs of each individual employee.

Map out the impact you want it to have

Ultimately, when deciding on a perks and benefits program for your company, make sure you have a clear idea of what behaviors you’d like to influence in your employees and design your program(s) around these goals.

Be creative, and don’t forget—your employees are your best resource when it comes to sourcing ideas and gaining feedback around what they’re looking for! Opening the door for everyone’s voices to be heard will help your company retain star employees and impact your company for the better.

As we mentioned earlier, when all is said and done, a perks program just sweetens the deal on an already excellent salary and health benefits package.  

So, if you’re thinking about adding perks to your overall compensation package, make sure you’re creating a robust program that has clear goals, creates and maintains a meaningful impact, and considers the needs and different personalities of your employees. Plus, refer to the top 10 employee benefits above to choose popular perks based on programs that are already working for our customers!

Author

Sierra Carter (she/her) is a freelance copywriter based in Chicago. As a creative copywriter, her writing is rooted in storytelling. She's worked with a variety of clients including StarKist, TAMKO, S&T Bank, British Airways, Michigan Ross University and SHOP 'n SAVE.

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