5 Epic Ideas for Perks to Attract, Retain and Motivate the Best Employees
In Canada, company perks are pretty much non-existent, particularly in small businesses. In fact, it is probably safe to say that most employees would be pretty happy to get some basic things like dinner when working late or a Christmas present from their company. While we cannot purport to assume how motivating these items are, we recognize that American companies pretty much dominate the space by offering some of the most inventive perks to their employees
Sure, some of the perks are pretty grand – for example; Facebook who serves up 7200 free meals a day to their 2400 Menlo Park employees or Zynga who have plans to build a rooftop dog park for their employee’s pooches. However, there are also plenty of examples of companies, big and small that offer modest perks that don’t require breaking the piggybank (or robbing a bank!)
In an effort to inspire small businesses to think out-of-the-box with regards to employee compensation, we decided to compile a list of cool perks that with just a little bit of tweaking could be implemented in any small business.
1) Matching charitable contributions/ volunteering time to charities – One way to contribute towards an employees’ interest could be in the form of matching charitable contributions. Many large corporations do, in fact, support specific charities but it is the flexibility for the individual to choose his/ her own charity to make the contribution towards that is the unique benefit.
- IBM, the IT giant, has a Matching Grants programs which enables employees and retirees in North America to increase the value of their donations with a matching gift from IBM.
- Patagonia, an outdoor apparel maker allows their employees to take a one month full-paid leave to work for an environmental group.
2) Taking care of the daily grind – Tired of coming home from the office to chores? How about the simple tasks of having to cook dinner right after you have had a long day analyzing spreadsheets at work? Some companies decide to tackle employee frustration in these areas by offering a way to relieve the stress of performing everyday life tasks.
- McGraw Wentworth, a benefit provider, has an on-site pickup and return of clothes that need laundering.
- While you are busy working, Akraya, a staffing company, will have professional cleaners go to your home every two weeks
- Asana provides daily organic home-cooked meals that are specified to each employee’s diet
3) Transportation credits – Commuting to work is usually one big hassle – especially if you live in populated urban centers. What better way to solve the problem of getting to work than providing some form of assistance, particularly when the employee is uses alternative modes of transportation
- Video startup Qwiki will pays for employees commute every day, whether it’s gas, bike or a train ticket.
- At Clif Bar, a company that manufacture organic and nutritional food products, employees who commute on foot, by bike, on public transportation or in carpools can earn up to $960 a year in rewards – redeemable against reward items
4) Creative Vacation & Sick Days policies – Let’s face it. Most employees know not to take advantage of something as generous as unlimited sick or vacation days. So, why do companies insist on monitoring the number of sick and vacation days that a person takes? Some companies simply don’t.
- Evernote, the company that helps you take digital notes, offers their employees unlimited vacation days. They also give employees $1,000 to jet-set around the world. CEO Phil Libin hopes the break from work will leave employees feeling refreshed for the job. They also offer infinite sick days.
- LoadSpring, an online software provider, give their employees up to $5,000 when traveling abroad and an extra week off to expand their horizons
5) Good ol’ fun – Creating a fun atmosphere at work can be very rewarding as teams bond over fun activities resulting in a better working relationship.
- Thrillist, an online media company, offers vodka, tequila and whiskey tastings to their employees
- Dropbox’s office perks include a fully stocked music studio for employee use and has the whiskey Friday and enviable gamer room.
- An entertainment startup, Get glue , reimburses all employees who purchases IPads.
- Foursquare, the check-in app developer, has free beer on tap for their folks. Even though most people know not to drink it during the day, it’s nice to know it’s there
Do you know of any company that offers creative employee perks? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Shrad Rao is the president at Wagepoint Payroll Services, which is an online payroll processing company based out of Toronto Canada. Shrad is also the President at Sociability, and CEO at Synapp6. http://www.wagepoint.com