Today's job seekers take many factors into consideration before accepting a job, and despite what some employers might think, pay isn't even at the top of the list. In fact, recent data shows 60 percent of employees indicate benefits and perks are a major factor when accepting a job offer, and 80 percent of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.

Realizing job seeker demands, some employers are getting creative when it comes to perks by letting employees choose their own. Below, I've outlined a few examples of flexible employee perks and the benefits of each.

1. Points- or Budget-Based Perks

Employee perks aren't one-size-fits-all. While your business might have standard options for health care, your bonus structure, and other larger benefits, there's much more room to be flexible with smaller perks. One company in particular is doing just this: N6A, a public relations agency based in New York City. N6A has a program called Pace Points. Through the program, employees can redeem points for perks like free groceries or transit, dream vacation packages like one month in Europe, yearly gym membership, concert tickets, and more. Points are earned through individual, group and company-wide achievements.

Your business can take a similar approach, either by offering a points-based system or a set budget for employee perks. Other perks might include discounted public transportation, a professional development budget, bonus vacation days, and more.

2. Technology Spending Account

It's fairly standard for employers to supply employees with computers and other essential office supplies. But depending on the individual and role, your employees might need different tools to be their most productive. For example, one employee might work best with noise canceling headphones while another needs a second monitor to complete projects more efficiently.

To address this, consider offering employees a set technology budget when they start the job, but allow each employee to select their own tools. Not only will this make your staff more productive once hired, but it can also be a great recruitment tool to post on your career site and in job descriptions, showcasing how you invest in your employees' success.

3. Health and Wellness Options

Employee wellness programs have a variety of benefits, including improved productivity, decreased absenteeism, and increased employee morale. But not all employees want the same perks when it comes to wellness programs. While one employee might want a discounted gym membership, another might want healthy lunch options.

As with the technology budget, consider offering employees a menu of different options for health and wellness, including gym memberships, healthy lunch options, intramural sports teams, discounted bike rentals, and more. By giving employees the chance to choose their wellness perks, they can opt for the ones that will best serve their overall health, well-being, and productivity.

4. Flexible Holidays

Most employers offer certain standard holidays off each year -- including New Year's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But not all employees necessarily celebrate these holidays. An emerging benefit for innovative companies is flexible holiday options in addition to any general vacation package. For example, an employee might choose to take his or her birthday or another holiday that means more to them off.

Today's workforce is increasingly diverse, so offering flexible holidays can help your team attract top talent across different faiths, cultural backgrounds, and values. And according to a study from Harvard Business Review, more diverse workforces lead to increased creativity and faster decision making.

In today's competitive job market with record-low unemployment, employers need to take extra steps to attract top talent. By letting employees choose their own perks, you can stand out from the competition when it comes to attracting and hiring engaged employees.

Published on: Oct 11, 2018