Many human resource specialists cite employee satisfaction and retention as main concerns of today’s employers. One way a business can retain key employees is by offering creative alternatives to standard HR benefits that better meet employees’ professional, and personal, needs.
Over time, companies have increased the level of HR support they give their employees. In the past, employees who had health insurance and any type of retirement plan considered themselves fortunate. Now businesses offer a variety of benefits that go far beyond basic health care and retirement. In today’s workforce, employees can expect added or supplemental health benefits that can include dental, vision, chiropractic, and employee-assistance programs, as well as a series of retirement and pension programs that give a multitude of options for adapting the plan to meet an employee’s specific needs.
The idea of alternative benefits has also expanded to include a variety of perks from flexible scheduling to telecommuting options. The list of common alternative benefits includes the following:
- Educational assistance and management training
- Paid time off (other than vacation and sick leave)
- Health club memberships
- Leave bank/leave donation program
- Attendance incentives
- Various health benefit options
- Supplemental retirement plans
- Pension systems
- Employee credit unions
- Outside recreational activities
Once thought to be a benefit appealing mostly to working mothers or parents, flex scheduling has recently become one of the most popular perks a business can offer. A study by the Families and Work Institute found that 73 percent of employees take advantage of flexible-scheduling benefits when available. Businesses use flex scheduling in four basic ways:
- Flex time: Employees are given control over setting their daily schedules.
- Compressed work weeks: Employees work longer hours but fewer days.
- Job sharing: Two part-time employees share the same full-time position.
- Flex place: Employees work from home (or a location closer to home).
In addition, businesses increasingly provide benefits such as employee-assistance programs (tuition reimbursement, counseling), wellness programs (sleep breaks, massages), and fitness programs (free health club memberships).
Some innovative benefits include the following:
- Educational assistance and tuition reimbursement
- Sleep breaks
- Onsite day care
- Onsite fitness center
- Partial reimbursement for buying a hybrid vehicle
- Onsite massage
- Fully paid luxury retreats for all employees
Employees are the most important resource your company has. Treat your employees well and they will become invaluable assets that can help make your business be a success.
For more advice on how to make your company’s benefits more appealing to potential employees you may be courting, be sure to read Beefing Up Your Benefits Package.