There’s no denying it, a happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Countless research reports back this up, and as the employee experience continues to evolve, employees expect their employers to deliver individualized services and experiences. Today, things like PTO, healthcare, and retirement benefits have become table stakes.

But to attract and retain top talent it’s no longer enough to only offer standard benefits. Companies must go above and beyond to delight their employees and offer unique benefits that provide a total compensation package – and if they don’t employees and candidates will look for jobs elsewhere.

Luckily, there are many benefits you can provide that offer big returns. Below are 12 employee benefits that will help your company stand out and provide an excellent employee experience that attracts and retains the best talent, and which creates a happy and productive workforce that helps grow your bottom line.

If you’re looking to find the employee benefits that will have the biggest impact on YOUR employees, check out our Employee Benefits Optimizer tool to quickly run a research study.

1. Free lunches and snacks

Offering free lunch keeps employees focused because they’re not spending time deciding where to go to lunch. This is even more appealing to employees who can’t walk to lunch spots because their office is in a remote location. Employees are also likely to network with colleagues if they eat with co-workers, cultivating a positive culture and encouraging collaboration. Additionally, if you’re providing nutritious meals and snacks it can promote healthy eating habits, potentially resulting in fewer sick days for employees.

If free lunches aren’t an option, keeping employees energized and caffeinated throughout the day with snacks and cold beverages is a great alternative. Plus, a Friday afternoon beer happy hour is always a bonus!

2. Game Room

Taking breaks during the workday increases creativity, decreases stress and decision fatigue, and restores motivation. Game rooms foster active breaks, and promote team spirit, and employee interaction. They can also improve cognitive skills, which helps with memory recall and processing, and help employees get some much-needed downtime from a project they are working on. It’s important that your employees understand that while breaks are necessary, they’re still at the office to work and they must be used only as a break.

3. Pet Perks

According to WebMD, pets can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Allowing dogs and cats in the office boosts employee morale, increases employee activity and exercise, and improves company culture. Additionally, some pet owners also spend a lot of money taking their dog to doggy daycare or having a pet sitter. Having pets in the workplace eliminates this expense and allows pet owners to work at the times best suited to them because they don’t need to get home to let their dog out.

In addition to a pet-friendly workplace, offering pet insurance and pet bereavement/adoption days will make pet owners really happy. Pets are part of the family and employers who recognize this will reap loyal employees.

4. Fitness Benefits

Health and fitness is important to many people and investing in your employees’ well being can only be beneficial. Exercise helps employees cope with stress, increases productivity, and improve morale. Providing a gym on site is a cost-effective way to give all your employees easy access to fitness equipment. If you want to take it a step further, you can offer fitness classes such as yoga, pilates, or boot camp. If the majority of your workforce is remote, providing gym membership reimbursement for remote employees can yield the same effect.

5. Paid Parental Leave

Giving men and women time to bond with their new baby is a no brainer. But unfortunately paid parental leave is not standard everywhere. In the U.S for example, only 14% of civilian workers have access to paid leave. Research has shown that paid maternity leave keeps women in the workforce longer, and it’s beneficial to a new baby – so you’re also investing in the future workforce.

6. On-site health and wellness center

Everybody gets sick and must see the doctor. But what if employees and their dependents could just go to the clinic at your workplace? On-site health and wellness centers save employees time and money. The goal is to provide employees with services that they would normally take time off work for, at a place that’s close to the office. If you don’t have the budget to have a full wellness clinic, offering an on-site flu shot clinic is a great starting point for keeping your office healthier. Workplaces with vaccinated employees have:

  • 13%-44% fewer health care/provider visits
  • 18%-45% fewer lost workdays
  • 18%-28% fewer work days with reduced productivity

7. Nap Rooms

It’s estimated that lack of sleep costs U.S. employers $63 billion a year in lost productivity. While you can’t control if employees get enough sleep at home, you can give them a break at work. Research shows that a short 20-minute nap is a good way to combat the afternoon slump, re-energize you, and boost your immune system. Providing nap pods or a nap room can increase employee productivity and show that you care about their wellbeing.

8. Laundry Services

Some Silicon Valley companies have adopted this perk and are offering to do their employees’ laundry. Every week employees can pick up a bag and fill it with laundry. The next day their laundry is delivered to them and employees get back one or two hours of their week.

9. Fertility and Adoption Assistance

One in eight couples in the U.S. struggle to get pregnant. Out-of-pocket fertility treatments and adoption costs are high, upwards of $20,000-$50,000, and many people can’t afford them without assistance. By providing insurance coverage for fertility benefits or adoption assistance, you could literally change someone’s life. Many companies who have added this benefit didn’t see a change to the health insurance premiums and they got the added benefit.

10. On-Site Child Care Facilities

The fear of not being close to their child holds many women back from returning to the workplace after giving birth. Providing on-site childcare facilities saves parents time by not having to drop children off at a separate daycare facility, and gives them a sense of security that their child is near. Parents can even visit children during their lunch breaks or breastfeed the baby on campus, providing an easier transition back into work. A great example of this is Patagonia, where onsite childcare has been available to employees since 1983.

Read more about how Patagonia is doing things differently in HR.

11. Experience Bonus/ Vacation allowance

At Qualtrics, we understand the power of experiences, which is why after one year of employment we offer all our employees an experience bonus of $1,500 for our employees to fund a dream. Employees have used this benefit to go surfing in Hawaii, take their family to Disney World, and volunteer at an orphanage in the Philippines.

12. Tuition or Student Loan Reimbursement

Some employers will partially reimburse employees for higher education expenses or help them pay off their student loans. Tuition reimbursement is attractive to both millennials, who have high student loans due to the rising costs of higher education, and older workers, who want to go back to school to keep their skillset current. Companies who offer this benefit have seen higher employee loyalty and retention rates.

If you don’t know which benefits matter most to your employees, the best thing you can do is ask them. Employee benefit surveys should be sent annually to your employees, so you can gauge if you’re giving them the right perks. If you want to run a powerful employee benefits research study in just a few clicks check out our Employee Benefits Optimizer.

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