The best employee benefits tell people they are valued for who they are. They acknowledge that each of us comes to the table with a unique set of needs and that one-size does not fit all. We’ve moved well past the need to convince people that diversity of thought and opinion is imperative to a high functioning team, and the same applies to the best employee benefits – people want options. They want benefits that benefit them uniquely.
Benefits that acknowledge peoples’ unique needs serve to deepen the employer-employee relationship and underpin a message of respect and trust. Trust, we know, is essential to a great workplace culture, and to build a strong employee experience means understanding what matters most to your people. This is the starting point for building the best employee benefits.
Where to Start When Building the
Best Employee Benefits
Nothing says ‘your specific needs matter,’ more than flexible work options. Remote work has become a top benefit for people as it provides the freedom people desire to find a positive balance in their life. The hybrid work model is another fantastic option that provides the benefits of in-person work and the flexibility to work from home when appropriate. Regardless of what specific flex options you can provide, allowing employees to build a schedule that works best for them is a benefit everyone is looking for in the modern workplace.
2. Time Off
From vacation days to sick days, and even time that is guaranteed email-free, providing time for your people to take a true break from work is important. Unfettered time off has the ability to reduce stress, minimize burnout and improve employee satisfaction. Employees are increasingly looking for workplaces that respect their need to step away from the pressures of work, so whether you provide x number of days off (personal days, sick days, flex days, etc.) or your people know they can ask for time off as needed, this is a must-have benefit.
What better way to tell your people you care about them than by offering benefits that improve their overall wellness? These benefits address physical fitness and mental health as well as things like financial health and improving overall lifestyle choices. Wellness allowances encourage employees to find programs and activities that work for them. You can also provide specific
wellness perks like healthy snacks, meditation rooms, fitness classes, lunch-and-learns and team-based challenges.
4. Professional Development
People have an innate desire to learn and grow, and one of the best employee benefits you can offer is meaningful development opportunities. The key is to provide a wide range of learning opportunities. Offer learning allowances or tuition reimbursement for people to choose programs they value the most. Provide multiple training supports for skill development, mentoring, and personal development. The more you can encourage people to be their best selves, the better.
5. Financial Support
Compensation beyond salary is a highly valued benefit that conveys to your people that you care about them beyond the day-to-day work they perform. Benefits like pension plans, stock ownership and RRSP matching programs are highly appreciated. The best benefit programs include personalized options that consider employee need like access to loans, paid leave time, and top-ups for government leave programs. You can also provide employee discounts and preferential rates with associated vendors as part of your financial benefits.
6. Personalized Perks
Find out what your people value and give it to them. Top ideas to consider include free meals and drinks, childcare, a robust social committee, and company swag. Here is where you can get creative and personal to deliver high-value benefits that go above and beyond. Whether it’s getting their birthday off or being able to play foosball at work, high-impact perks contribute to a comprehensive and well-rounded benefits plan.
7. Community Involvement
More and more, people are looking at their paid work as an extension of their overall contribution to society; and people genuinely want to make a difference. As part of your benefits program you can encourage people to give back in ways that matter the most to them. Whether that’s providing paid time off to volunteer, sponsoring teams to get involved in community events or matching employee contributions to charitable causes, providing employees with personal opportunities to give back is an important element of the best employee benefits.
Perhaps the best, and most impactful, benefit you can provide is a strong and clear commitment to inclusion. Programs that consider the best interests of all employees are the best received and will have an enduring impact on employee happiness. Look at all of your programs, perks, and benefits through an inclusive lens and find ways to ensure everyone is represented and can see their
unique needs reflected in your practices. If you use that lens to inform your decisions, including which benefits to offer, you can’t go wrong.
As you think about the best employee benefits to provide, think first about the individuals who will benefit from them. Put together a package that improves your peoples’ overall health, happiness and satisfaction and allows your people to bring their best selves to work. Being seen for who they are is perhaps the best gift you can give your people, and the best employee benefits allow you to give that gift regularly.
Great Place to Work® gives you the tools and data you need to understand your organization's culture – and guides you on the best actions to take to build a high-trust culture.