25 Benefits Employees Actually Want

The key to leveraging the fulcrum of human capital in your business to ask the right questions, and act upon what you learn.

Best Employee Benefits You Can Offer For Greater Retention, Productivity Wins

How to Design and Adapt Employee Benefit Packages for Employees and Not HR

Have you ever worked in an office with a pool table? A foosball table? Maybe a sleeping lounge? If so, you likely noticed something—hardly anyone uses this sort of office perk. The pool table ends up taking up a lot of space during company meetings, the foosball table creates too much noise to be useful, and how really knows how to play that damn thing anyway? And the sleeping room? Unless someone is in there cleaning it every every visit, most people find such a space to be well… kinda icky. Perks like these framed as benefits fall as flatly on new hires as they do your current employees, because they really can’t be used in any beneficial way by the vast majority of people who work in an office. They’re of even less benefit when working in an industrial or manufacturing environment. If we want to provide leisure time for our employees, we should offer them opportunities they actually want—and, usually those will involve getting away from work, not hanging around, or using up ones lunchtime to play pool. If they even know how to play pool.

Real benefits, however create real stickiness with your workforce. They also create loyalty. And best of all, no matter if you’re just getting started with your human capital growth initiatives, or well under way, many of the benefits employees actually want are not costly, several can be underwritten by local, state, and federal programs, and all of them create a productivity and cultural boon in your office—exactly what everyone wants—even your employees.

So, lets take a look at the list of 25 employee perks and benefits you can implement to attract and retain the top talent you need to drive your business forward for 2021 and beyond.

Benefits at Work

28mpg (Highway)
34mpg (City)

Health Benefits

Interior: Black
Exterior: Black

Financial Benefits

1.5L I-4 Cylinder
CVT – Front Wheel Drive

Lifestyle Benefits

Stock # : NT2335
VIN: KMHSL5UEXDU209485

Employee Health Benefits, Productivity Wins
Employee Finance Benefits, Productivity Wins
Employee Lifestyle Benefits, Productivity Wins

1. Continuing Education

Your employees will not stay with your company forever. They know that and you know that. Because as they gain experience, they’ll outgrow opportunies your firm can offer, and they’ll look to new horizons. And, that’s a good thing. Because while they’re there, if you take care of them, good employees will fuel the growth of your companiy, and to its’s culture and function as assets to your brand’s reputation long after they’ve left. But all that effort will fall short if there is no investment in career education for your team. Without it, they’ll stay stagnant in their roles with you, instead of in growth mode, and they’ll leave for another firm that can provide them with the opportunity to learn on or outside the job.

Many companies resist the idea of paying for, or supporting the further education of their employees, and this is a huge miss. Your employees want to learn more. It’s a human drive. Give them those tools. The rewards you recieve will be handsome. This sort of learning does not have to be expensive, either. Many online platforms exist for office related coursework, and for more manufacturing or apprentice-related instruction opportunitiees also about for in-person and classroom instruction. Spend your money on employee learning programs wisely. Track the learning of your staff and encourage the sharing of that information for a full return on your investment. We’ll take a deeper dive into employee education oportunities in a later post, but for now, know that this is right up there at the top of the list for the employees you want to keep around. At least, that is, until they go somewhere else. Then, you want them to sing your praises from the mountain tops.

2. Remote Work

If 2020 wasn’t a wake up call for those who have refused to consider the importance of remote work opportunities for all employees where the occupation makes it feasable, I can’t imagine what else could be. 

For two decades I’ve been telling HR managers, line managers, operations managers—anyone who would listen—that people want to, and CAN work effectively (more effectively, usually) from home. No one listened. Then  the world fell apart, and managers and business owners realized that non only could their stagff work from home, but they could do so more efficiently, often with far less expense, and ironically for longer hours than those very same employes would have considered working while on-site. 

The fact of the matter is, if you hire right in the first place, you’ll end up hiring talented employees who want to work. Give them the freedom and agency to work when and where they want, and be prepared to blow the doors off your productivity. 

Most people hate working in offices. Hell, I’d even bet, if you’re a manager and reading this, you too hate working in the oofice. I used to come in early and stay late just to be away from the noise and activity that bludgens every office experience. The founder of the last company I worked at would often come in on the weekends when I’d be there as well to get more work done while his kid roamed the office and had fun. 

So, really, people don’t mind the office, per se… but, they do mind the frenzied activity and distraction it provides. Work doesn’t get done productively, but community building can. But, often at the expense of work, and it can later interrupt your workers home life. Should people really be comeing in on Saturday, and working early and late? No. They should be given the proper ienvironment to get their work done within a reasonable amount of time. Smart employees figure that out on their own, no matter what “office” they’re actually occupying. Set them free and win. 

3. Sabbatical

Don’t run away now. A sabattical does not have to mean the absence of work. And, it’s not just for professors. Any employee who has put time in at your company could take advantage of a sabbatical. Most frequently, this sort of employee benefit could be taken in another town, another state, another country. Think of it as an opportunity for workers of all stripes to disappear from your physical location for a period of time. A few months, or even a year. People won’t believve this sort of option exists, and trust me when I tell you that if you offer it, new talent will be knocking on your door to get it. Have trouble recruiting? Offer a sabbatical. And don’t make people wait forever to benefit from the perk. Creating benenfits that only look good on paper is a waste of your HR effort, and new hires will see right through the ruse. Those who think they’ll be with you a long time, and are okay with the wait (like I was at the University of Minnesota) will be disappointed when the magical benefit never shows up. At the U of M, it was simply access to the retirement plan. 

Please don’t dangle carrots in front of employees. The perceived extrinsic motivation doesn’t work. Imagine your significant other said, I’ll do this for you, if you do that? In this type of scenario, there is no balance of power—its a battle line, not an offer—and it’s seen as that. 

Consider offering your employees working and non-working sabbaticals. It’s not as strange as it sounds. It’s been happening in academia forever, it happens the world over when it comes to materity and paternity leave Singles lose out. It shouldn’t be that way. Offer this, and all benefits to everyone. Keep it fair, and your employees witll love you for it. And, as is theh case with all of these benefits, they will work their asses off for you in return. 

4. Paid Family Leave Time

I live in Japan. Here family leave options will knock your socks off. Many working mothers stay home to raise a newborn for 18 months. The national government underwrites maternity leave salary expenses up to 67% of a  mother’s prior income. Its such an important factor to the government they’re spending even more money and marketing dollars trying to convince fathers to take advantage of equally beneficial paternity leave programs

And, it’s not only Japan. Many European countries pursue similar strategies, and some forward thinking U.S. firms are finally catching on to the power of family leave. Federally, the U.S. government shines, and a few state governments have mandated greater family leave options, but why wait for the government to instruct you do get on board. If lesser government is what we w ant, then, what a wonderful opportunity to jump in early on a moment that will only continue to grown. As the blockade on remote work lessen driven by 2020’s health woes, and a younger workforce matures into a powerful second baby boom, you’re going to see more requests for this. So, chat with your HR consultants, chat with your employees. Structure a plan that works for everyone. And, please don’t forget the dads as well. 

5. Flex-Time

A number of yeas ago, I had a cat. I also had a job about an hour away from home, and that cat who had unfortunately developed kidney disease. That meant that just like a human with kidney disease, she needed what essentially amounted to dialysis. Thankfully, I had purchased pet insurnace from Pet’s Best many years earlier, and the treatment she underwent three times a week was covered by that insurance. And while, possesing a quality pet insurance plan can grant you comprehensive treatment coveragee for CKD it won’t grant you an understanding boss, or HR department. Thankfully, the SaaS I worked for believed in the freedom of flextime. Because of such forward thinking on their part, amoung many other good management processes and policies, I was able to provide treatment for my dear friend’s chronic kidney disease. Three times a week I had to make some sort of arrangement to take her to the vet. There were also numerous unexpected events I had to attend to as well—with her (the cat that is), personal engagements, or doctor’s appointments of my own—a host of other things. Not once was I asked about my return time unless there was somethihngi on the docket… some sort of meeting, perhsaps. Not once was I asked to curtail the visits I needed to make to the vet, and not once did I ever feel as though I was asking too much. In fact, I was, and remain indebted I was given the chance to be a normal person not chained to a desk. Of course, this sort of flex-time was offered universally to employees. The idea was, if you needed to get something done that was important, that you ought to be doing that ,instead of sitting behind the deesk. This view of flex time was refreshing. It was also the only time I ever was offered this sort of mbenefit in my twenty five years or so of work life prior to that experience. It’s also while people clamour to work there despite the company’s distance from the center of Chicago, and the reason why after a number of hard years of work aiming to get them on Chicago’s Best Company’s to work for, they remain on the list since the firsrt year of eligibility when I submitted them as a candidate. 

Offering flex time shows that you recognize your employees are human. That they have needs to attend to outside the office, factory, warehouse, kitchen. We all work. Good employees work hard. Reward them with the understanding that comes with that sort of respect by offereing generous flex time. Think you can’t do it? It probably means your’re understaffed, or running an inefficient operational framework. So, start there. Hire better, hire a few more peo9ple (on a contract, or part time basis if need be) so you have the redundancy within your workforce to offer this sort of policy. In 2021, its probably the most important benefit to offer outside of continuing education support. Okay, lets take a break and hit number six… I have to walk the dog.

6. Input on Their Work

7. Reviewing Management

8. Ideating

9. The ability to Make their own decisions

11. Meal Expenses

12. Good technology

Windows users know it as the Black Screen of Death. Folks operating in Macintosh land, like me (having long migrated from the beast that is Windows… and I used to be a tech suport guy for PCs), the Spinning Wheel of Death is the term we affectionately use for that horrific spinning rainbow wheel that tells our computer is frozen. With PCs, the Black Screen of Death often means a reboot is required. Worse, you should put in a request for a new hard drive instead of a holiday bonus. Or maybe toss about Section 179 deductions to replace the whole lot with new terminals. 

Bad technology, slow technology, old technology is a nightmare for your employees. It slows them down, frustrates the hell out of them, and diminishes the ability of a business to scale and nimbly navigate the day to day demands of business. Having a mouse that sticks, a keyboard that slides, a computer desk and chair that necessitates massages, and trips to the chiropractor does not a happy employee make. 

Invest money in updated technology. This is true if you’re working in an industrial capacity as well. Are your drill bits dull, your batter chargers not worth their salt? Your capital expense budget too meager to replace things annually, or bi-annually that should be replaced. Work on correcting these inadequacies this year, or your employeeds will gripe, and gripe, and gripe. Then, they’ll leave. After that, they’ll tell everyone else they know who asks them about a job at your place to not work there. 

When I was on the maintenance crew at Amazon, I was always impressed by how we had top of the line equipment at our disposal to support Amazon’s largest distribution warehouse at the time in the U.S. in Breinigsville, Pennsyvania.

Our maintenance crew simply ordered what they needed when they needed it, and replaced things that didn’t, or should’t be in the warehouse. I’ll never forget walking through the warehouse one day with one of our senior mechanics and watching him cut the cords on fans that were not approaced to be in the warehouse for safety reasons, or putting out to recycling equipment that was past its prime and ineffective for the demands of runnig the largest Amazon warehouse in the United States.

It’s important to spend and save wisely when it comees to small business. But excessive frugality can and will kill  your productivity, and your ability to retain and keep efficient your workforce. 

13. Agency The ability to not look busy

14. Invitations to Network

15. Meaningful Participation in Work

16. Transparency about wages

17. Flexible Pay

18. Program Adaptability and Reasonable Review Times

19. Actual Educaation about how to Leverage Financial Benefits

20. Matching Programs

21. No Wait Benefits

22. Open Health Care

23. HR That is seen as working for the employees

24. Open communication about performanc

25. Input on Hires and Hiring Process

HR Management Systems

Platform

  • Reporting and Dashboards
  • User, Role, and Access Management
  • Performance and Reliability
  • Scalability

Employee Self Service

  • Web Portal
  • Benefits Manager
  • Mobile

Administration

  • Payroll Entry
  • Time Off Accrual
  • Direct Deposit
  • Pre-tax Deductions
  • Check/W-2 Printing
  • Check/W-2 Delivery

Taxes

  • Tax Calculation
  • Tax Filing

Platform

  • Reporting and Dashboards
  • User, Role, and Access Management
  • Performance and Reliability
  • Scalability

Administration

  • Payroll Entry
  • Time Off Accrual
  • Direct Deposit
  • Pre-tax Deductions
  • Check/W-2 Printing
  • Check/W-2 Delivery

Employee Self Service

  • Web Portal
  • Mobile

Taxes

  • Tax Calculation
  • Tax Filing
  • Automatic Tax Payment

Data Availability

  • Contact Data Availability
  • Company Data Availability
  • Industry Research Availability

Data Accuracy

  • Contact Data Accuracy
  • Company Data Accuracy

Features

  • Lead Builder
  • Integration to CRM/Marketing Automation
  • Data Cleaning/Enrichment
  • Data Segmentation/Filtering
  • Search
  • News/People Alerts
  • Connections
  • Reporting

Lead Intelligence

  • Market Insights
  • Account-level Insights

Platform

  • Customization
  • User, Role, and Access Management
  • Performance
  • Mobility
  • Reporting
  • Dashboards

Communication

  • Feedback

Platform Basics

  • Reporting & Dashboards

Platform Content

  • Employee Pulse Surveys
  • Survey Customization
  • Goal and Challenge Creation

Platform Additional Functionality

  • Employee Segmenting
  • Goal and Challenge Creation
  • Peer Recognition
  • Social Feedback Portal

Core HR

  • Organization Management
  • Time, Attendance, and PTO
  • Benefits Administration

Platform

  • Reporting and Dashboards
  • User, Role, and Access Management
  • Performance and Reliability
  • Compensation History

Time Tracking

  • Ease of Completing Timesheets

Administration

  • Time Off Accrual
  • Direct Deposit

Employee Self Service

  • Web Portal
  • Benefits Manager

Benefits Administration Platform Features

  • Benefits Record Management
  • Self-Service Portal
  • Benefits Dashboards
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