Work Perks vs Benefits: Changing Tides in the American Workforce

Work perks are becoming a necessity in today's American workforce. Employees now expect benefits, but work perks offer a competitive advantage that separate an average workplace from a stellar one.

Since most companies offer benefits anyway, work perks provide incentives that can attract quality talent, especially for small businesses that may not have the budget to offer larger benefits that big corporations can provide.

Let's say you're trying to attract young and hungry talent to your company. You may not have the budget to provide big stock options for employees, but flexible hours may be a bit more in your price range.

iRewardHealth Work Perks vs Benefits

Therefore, work perks have changed the tides in the American workforce and have helped to create enjoyable work atmospheres employees are proud of.

Here's what you need to know in order to implement in-demand work perks at your company.

Work Perks vs Benefits

According to a survey by HRdive, employees stated that work perks are just as important as traditional benefits. Work perks are popular among the workforce because perks help create an environment employees enjoy working in and tend to support the employee in their role.

Employers usually offer perks in addition to traditional benefits. Work perks offer some insight into the company culture and what the company wants for their employees' well-being.

While most jobs offer benefits such as a 401k, health insurance, and stock options, companies can get creative with work perks and give employees a wide variety of perks to choose from.

Work Perks Give You Freedom

If you're used to traditional benefits, you may find these new work perks strange. Plus, it can be frightening to give perks to your employees if you're used to providing the same benefits you've received throughout your own career. You may think the same old benefits are enough for you, so they should be enough for everyone else.

However, providing these perks give you a wide range of rewards that can blow the number of options for the old benefits out of the water. In addition to having a handful of benefits you can offer employees, you can choose from the myriad of perks that work for you.

According to the HRdive survey, employees identified wellness programs as one of the most important perks followed by education, financial wellness programs, free meals or snacks, or commuter benefits. The perks mentioned by the survey alone provide a much wider range of perks than traditional benefits.

Cost is another factor that separates work perks from traditional benefits. Providing more flexible hours for your employees is much cheaper than health insurance and is a great work perk to offer part-time and independent contract workers.

Work Perks with the Most Impact

While big corporations like LinkedIn and Google can afford to give their employees three square meals a day, that's not realistic for us small-to-medium-sized businesses. Three servings of ice cream a day sounds great, but that may not be the most cost efficient or effective work perk if you're not Ben & Jerry's.

Here are several types of work perks with the most impact that don't break the bank.

  1. Flexible Hours – Employees prefer flexibility over the traditional 9 to 5. Offering flexible hours may be a winning ticket item for someone deciding between two companies.
  2. Tickets to Events – The option to attend local events for free can boost morale and encourage employees to become involved in the community, or to attend events together and build team relationships.
  3. Employee Recognition Program – Not all companies offer incentives for employees who perform exceedingly well. However, recognition is a commonly overlooked way to provide incentives to potential and existing employees.
  4. Free Meals During Meetings or Holiday Celebrations – Some companies offer free meals on certain days of the week. Free food is a simple yet effective perk.
  5. Use of Company Car – If you already have a company car, offering this as a perk to your employees can cost almost nothing. Employees sign up to use the car, pay for whatever gas they use, and return it tidy and undamaged on the honor system, which builds trust and accountability.
  6. Gym Memberships – Most gyms offer corporate packages, which could provide an opportunity to offer free or discounted gym memberships to your employees and help improve both physical and mental health.
  7. Volunteer Hours – Some companies offer paid volunteer time. Volunteer hours encourage the employees to get involved in the community, which reflect well upon the company and the community.
  8. Leadership Development Training – Training successful employees to become leaders provides benefits for employees and employees alike. Leadership development is useful to potential leaders and helps them as they transition into a different role. In turn, good leaders create strong businesses.
  9. Team Building Training – A team that works well together creates a winning culture. Plus, employees who complete these trainings get to add a nifty badge to their LinkedIn profiles.
  10. Free Subscriptions – Subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Audible, or other services can provide hours of entertainment for employees outside of work. Even at only $11 – $25 per month, those are some seriously compelling work perks.
  11. Rewards for Completing Health Improving Action Items – For instance, iRewardHealth allows users to log their healthy activities, earn points, and exchange those points for rewards. Using this system incentivizes healthy behavior among employees.
iRewardHealth Work Perks vs Benefits

Get Creative & Implement What Works

Other work perks such as professional development conferences, annual bonuses, and travel perks are other creative and fun incentives employers can utilize. Get creative by creating a tiered system such as by offering perks with higher ticket prices to top performers or tenured employees.

There's no limit to the options available to you. Work perks reward your employees for their hard work and create a great work culture – and that's worth the minimal cost.

Now that you know all about work perks, which perks do you think would be most attractive to your employees? A good place to start is to think about what would be an attractive work perk to you. Let us know in the comments below.

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