5 Ways Employee Perks Are Good for Business

by Carrie Kirby on 25 August 2016 (0 comments)

This post is sponsored by Aflac. For more resources, tools, and insights on small business benefits, visit Aflac.com.

Music lounges for in-office jams. Kombucha and craft beer on tap. Unlimited time off. Free housecleaning. It may seem that some workplaces today are a workers' paradise — but the ultimate benefit from all these perks goes to the employers savvy enough to offer them.

Benefits seem like a simple proposition: In a tight talent market, like the technology industry, companies dangle goodies like free food and time off to lure workers away from less fun employers. And it’s true that perks can be powerful recruiting and retention tools; according to a Glassdoor survey, nearly four out of five employees would prefer more benefits to a pay boost. But worker-friendly policies can benefit employers in surprising ways that go far beyond getting bodies into desks.

1. Increases Engagement

A lot of today’s perks are aimed not just at retention but employee engagement, which basically means having workers who show up because they want to do a good job, not just punch the clock. High employee engagement is linked to customer retention, productivity, and profit growth.

How do perks translate to engagement? It’s not as easy as giving employees new toys to make them love you, HR experts advise. Unlimited vacation policies, for example, are an increasingly popular way to drive engagement because they show employees that the boss trusts them. Perks that make employees’ lives more flexible, from on-site childcare to work-from-home days, and those that make people feel recognized, like periodic rewards, also drive engagement, according to Deloitte.

A distracted employee can’t be truly engaged, and the 2016 Aflac WorkForces Report found that one of the top worries that distract workers on the job are personal financial struggles. That’s why many employers are helping their workers achieve peace of mind by offering voluntary supplemental insurance policies which complement major medical insurance by providing cash benefits needed to help cover out-of-pocket costs related to a covered injury or illness.

2. Decreases Health Care Costs

On-site gyms and wellness programs that encourage employees to quit smoking or lose weight are popular perks with a measurable impact on the bottom line. Johnson & Johnson estimates it has saved nearly $3 in health care costs for every buck it has spent on wellness programs. Healthier employees also save companies money through decreased use of sick days, and they come to the office ready to focus on their jobs.

3. Attracts Diversity

Silicon Valley in particular has been dogged by criticism for its homogeneous workforce. When companies are able to attract both men and women, of various ages and backgrounds, they’re better equipped to solve problems. What’s more, gender-diverse companies make more money.

Glassdoor’s survey showed that perks are preferred over pay raises by more women than men, and by younger employees.

4. Builds Loyalty

Benefits such as unlimited sick time, voluntary insurance programs that help soften the blow of unexpected medical expenses, and on-site health care or massages do more than make the company seem like a good place to work. They show workers that the company cares about them, which leads to something all-too-rare in today’s workplace: True loyalty.

SAS, a company consistently rated as one of the best to work for worldwide, offers summer camp for employees’ kids, on-site health care, car cleaning, and subsidized child care. One manager said that all these touches make workers feel well cared for, and drives them to love their jobs.

Loyal employees are less likely to jump ship even if a better-paying offer comes along, which can save employers the high cost of searching for and training replacements.

5. Creates Social Media Buzz

GoodbyeCrutches.com throws weekly lunches based on themes including Jimmy Buffett, Smurfs, and pirates. These events don’t just make employees feel good — the message goes beyond the office walls.

“Our lunches are great content for social media (all the weekly pictures get posted and shared)
 and it helps us build relationships with both vendors and customers,” owner Tom Schwab told Forbes.

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