From elaborate offices and offbeat perks to extensive health care options and 401(k)s, a host of enticing benefits is one of the key ways we fight for the best, most innovative talent. The good news, especially if you don't have the capital (or the square footage) to accommodate that speakeasy-style cocktail bar, is that employees still favor traditional benefits over Silicon Valley-style perks.
This doesn't mean they should be an afterthought. According to Glassdoor, 57 percent of candidates rank benefits as one of the most important things when considering a job change. Base pay alone will only take you so far.
Like those tech titans with their craft beer happy hours, we'll need to work harder to stay competitive and drive down turnover. It's a battle we can win by offering some of these in-demand benefits:
1. Paid maternity and paternity leave
Parental leave packages came into the limelight in 2015, when Netflix announced it was offering a year of unlimited paternity and maternity leave to its employees. While Netflix-scale plans might be out of reach for most small businesses, a generous parental leave package is a great way to attract qualified candidates--especially as Millennials get older and start having children. In fact, the Harvard Business Review already ranks it among the most highly valued benefits for job seekers.
If you're struggling with retention, this perk can definitely help. Employees who feel supported by their employer during this period of their lives are more likely to be focused, engaged, and just plain happy when they return.
2. Student loan repayment assistance
Student loan debt is a big deal. As the workforce gets younger, businesses offering student loan assistance may give themselves a leg up over their competitors in the job market, especially when it comes to attracting hungry, passionate talent right out of school.
While only a minority of companies currently offer this benefit, it's rapidly gaining steam with candidates: According to an American Student Assistance survey, 76 percent of respondents described student loan repayment as a factor that could put a potential employer over the edge. Businesses that participate in these plans typically match an employee's student loan payments (similar to a 401(k)), with a yearly cap that varies from one employer to the next.
If an on-going student loan reimbursement package is too expensive for your company, consider a small sign-on bonus to be applied towards existing student loans.
3. Work-life balance
Here's a big benefit that you can offer for little to no money at all. In an always-on world where no one's surprised to get an after-hours work email (or three), you can try harder to give their workers the freedom they need to dodge burnout and stay engaged. This manifests in a few ways, whether it's the ability to work from home, maintain a flexible schedule, or take unlimited PTO.
One study conducted by content marketing agency ranked policies improving work-life balance behind only health insurance as the most in-demand benefit among job seekers. Here at Fundera, on top of offering unlimited PTO, we require every employee to take 10 days of vacation a year, no matter what.
Whether you decide to create a company-wide remote work policy or simply advocate for your employees to truly take a vacation, this is one perk we can all incorporate without affecting the bottom line.
4. The "fun" factor
It's easy to joke about the lavish perks doled out by leading tech companies. Still, employees expect more out of their offices than they used to. But you don't need to break the bank to give your team a dose of fun.
Company outings are a great way to show employees you care. They can break down silos and connect people who might not otherwise interact.
Glassdoor's rundown of the top 20 employee perks of 2017 points to Bain & Company's annual two-day soccer tournament, which is open to all the company's employees. An annual picnic or beach day can cost very little but go a long way towards giving your employees time to reset and refresh.
Events and company-wide get-togethers are just one possibility. Simple snacks, happy hours and occasional treats (office massage day is one popular option) can help define your business's culture and foster a casual sensibility that's especially appealing to younger job seekers. If nothing else, it's a signal that you understand the most productive employees are happy ones.
Whether you lead an established company or you're just getting your business off the ground, your generous benefits package can make a big splash with job seekers and remind your existing talent they're more than just lines on a balance sheet. Think beyond base pay and consider implementing some of the policies employees love--even if it means holding off on that in-house cocktail bar.