Is Your Firm Staying Competitive With Employment Benefits?

Not too long ago, when employees talked about benefits, they meant two things: healthcare coverage and retirement packages. But as the business landscape has changed, so has the concept of employment benefits. Many workers continue to rank healthcare as the most valuable asset an employer can provide. But the modern workforce is seeking more than just medical coverage and a 401(k) match. These days, employees — especially younger candidates — are looking for perks that contribute to job satisfaction and work/life balance.

Companies like Google have popularized the concept of beyond-the-basics benefits. But you don’t have to build game rooms and nap pods to stay competitive. You simply have to determine what your employees want most and figure out how to deliver those things. Some companies already appear to be doing a good job at offering improved benefits.

Here are some tips for bolstering your employment benefits:

Consider your retirement plan and scheduling options

Your company probably already provides employment benefits such as a 401(k) savings account or stock grants. But it’s worthwhile to take a close look at what’s being provided; at many U.S. companies, these offerings could be better. By bolstering these programs, firms can build loyalty and keep top talent or even lure star workers away from other companies.

Organizations are also scoring points with workers by providing generous paid time off and flexible scheduling. When firms allow a reasonable amount of vacation, holiday and sick leave, employees are less likely to experience the burnout that might cause them to search for another job. Moreover, options like telecommuting, half-days and flextime can make a job worth taking — and keeping.

Offer the chance to make an impact

Most people want to make a positive difference in their communities. When employees work for a company that gives back and provides them opportunities to volunteer with organizations they believe in, they’re able to achieve that goal.

In a 2013 study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 20 percent of the employers surveyed allowed staff to engage in charitable work while on the clock. More said they plan to offer this option in the coming year. It’s an excellent way to contribute to community development and employee satisfaction simultaneously.

Pay attention to specific needs

Many businesses are starting to offer unorthodox job perks in an attempt to meet employee desires. It’s a good idea to explore this new area of employment benefits; the key is to determine the specific ones that attract the employees your company needs.

For instance, nap pods, free snacks and lunches, and an Ultimate Frisbee team may attract youthful techies, but more experienced, higher-level professionals may prefer concierge services that help them take care of chores such as housekeeping or shopping.

Conduct an internal survey or solicit informal feedback about the types of incentives that appeal most to your workers. Then, pinpoint the most sought-after employment benefits and implement those that make the most sense for your company.

Ultimately, the ideal employment benefits package will be unique to your business. Don’t be afraid to think creatively. And remember, perks aren’t always costly. Something as small as letting your employees wear jeans to the office can go a long way toward improving morale and loyalty.

Need some ideas when it comes to employment benefits? Check out Business Insider’s list of the best employee perks at leading companies, or comment below to tell us about the best workplace perks at your office.

More on employment benefits:

The Benefits of Employee Recognition and 12 Low-Cost Ways to Recognize Your Team
The Single Most Important Element of Job Satisfaction (Hint: It's Not Money)