Non-traditional Employee Benefits in the Workplace
Quality employees are a commodity worth keeping for a growing company – all the more so if employee turnover rates are increasing all over the country.
We know what the most common employee benefits are:
- Paid vacation and sick leave
- Attendance rewards
- Group events
- Pensions and retirement plans
- Employee Education Reimbursement programs
But sometimes to keep the loyalty of a trusted employee, owners and managers have to think outside the box.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some non-traditional benefits that might help with employee retention.
1. Financial Education
Big surprise, many employees are stressed about money! What if instead of a pep talk, you could actually arrange to teach your workers the fundamentals of managing finances, getting out of debt, wealth-building, and saving money? It’s a subject that ought to be taught in school more often but sadly isn’t.
But your brand can take the lead! Let your employees know you value them enough to give them long-term financial advice.
2. Employee Assistance Programs
The “stigma” of going to counseling is highly overrated. Most people would be interested in attending some form of therapy…you know, if it weren’t so expensive! So why not treat your employees to an Employee Assistance Program?
There, they can talk to a work counselor about important issues that directly involve life, work, and daily living – which of course, contribute to productivity in the office. This is a great way to alleviate employee stress, improve relationships with co-workers, and even make plans for professional development.
3. Student Loan Repayment Assistance
Let’s not forget that many new workers go to school just to land a promising entry-level job in the first place, not quite realizing how hard it will be to pay off that debt later on.
In fact, business trends show that more employers are offering help with student loan repayment.
But that doesn’t mean you have to give them a Golden Ticket and eliminate all their student loans. Helping just a little goes a long way.
Helping with student loan repayment assistance would probably cost less than a traditional Employee Education Reimbursement program. Or it could even be something simple like offering to help refinance a student’s debt on a company-provided card or loan.
The CARES Act of 2020 allowed employers to make payments for student loans as a tax-free benefit, and without passing on taxable income to the employee. Until at least 2024, the same provisions are in place.
As an example, check out how refinancing with SoFi would offer better interest rates.
4. Mentoring Programs
Mentoring used to be the standard back in the day. A senior-level executive would take a junior-level employee under his/her wing and show them how they do their job. Mentors led by example. They answered questions, offered advice, and created professional friendships with their assistants that sometimes lasted for years.
But over time things changed and feelings of competition and distrust seemed to come with the idea of mentoring. Sure, companies still set up internships, but that’s not as personal or helpful.
That’s why we need to remind employees that everybody wins if they stay with the company. “Mentors” are not going to be replaced and new hires are not going to be sabotaged. Build trust and keep quality employees around indefinitely, as long as they’re willing to work! Live up to these promises and employees will feel safe and valued.
You can also prevent problems from developing later on by following some basic do’s and don’ts when bringing on a new employee.
5. Free Snacks!
It’s not easy to persuade your employees to eat healthy in general, especially on work time. But if you provide free onsite snacks that are both tasty and pretty good for the body/mind, you can show them the joy of a nutritional diet rather than lecturing them.
Think about fun stuff like juices, fresh fruit, tea, trail mix, and dark chocolate. It’s hard to say no to something tasty when you’re working hard and all the more so when it’s in the house.
In closing, think more like a family head than just a boss. If you want employees to stay for the long-term, the company must create an environment that facilitates loyalty and friendship. You can also read more about managerial skills that make a difference.