Before the pandemic turned the world upside down, employers used the same perks to recruit employees that they had for generations. Competitive salaries, two weeks of paid vacation, and 401(k) contributions were considered sufficient talent draws. Many employers were even getting away with paying only part of an employee’s health insurance premium.
The Great Resignation was triggered by a great employee awakening. And that has forced employers to likewise wake up and smell the cheap ground coffee they provide in the breakroom.
Employees are no longer attracted by just a bigger paycheck or a reserved parking spot. They now center their lives on priorities that rank high above their careers. They simply want more than the stuff their paycheck can buy.
If you’re challenged by finding employees in a post-pandemic world, you aren’t alone. However, to break out of the pack, you’re going to need to dangle some much different bait. Here are some top perks your prospective employees are looking for now.
Mentoring has long been a staple in the workplace, although it has often been selective and subjective in its use. People high on the food chain identify with certain employees below them and take them under their wings. Even in companies where mentoring is more intentional, it’s often reserved for a select few.
One of the attractions employees seek in the current job environment is the ability to work up that food chain. It’s no wonder that the opportunity for promotion is a better draw than being stuck in the proverbial dead-end job. Mentorship programs offer compelling evidence of an employer’s commitment to upward mobility, and establishing one is easier than you think.
Strong mentorship programs are not only intentional, but they also involve employees at every level of the organization. You shouldn’t underestimate the value prospective talent will place on the promise of a mentor-mentee relationship. It’s precisely the built-in support system employees are seeking these days.
Well-executed mentorship programs are beneficial to everyone involved, from the mentor to the mentee to the company as a whole. They raise quality and productivity, increase employee satisfaction, build community, and bolster retention. It’s a win no matter how you slice it, so let everyone eat cake.
Don’t choke on your coffee when you read this one. Unlimited paid time off for employees is a perk that works well for them and the company. That makes it a perk every employer should at least consider.
Employees are now looking for companies that help them achieve the work-life balance they want. Although it won’t work for every job position, if it does, unlimited PTO is a means to that end. The flexibility it affords the employee to be absent with pay and without guilt is priceless.
Of course, employees are still required to be productive, complete work, and achieve goals. The ability to take time off whenever they want is a great incentive to work harder while they’re on the clock. Moreover, human resources don’t need to track reasons for employee absences, which makes your HR pros happier as well.
Unlimited PTO is still subject to some limitations necessary for the work of the company. Most employees granted this option will be happy to work within those margins. After all, you’re making their balancing act much easier to perform.
Support for Volunteerism
The isolation most employees felt during the height of the pandemic was stifling. Even now, with so many positions remaining remote or hybrid, the sensation persists. Helping employees reconnect with the world, beyond Zoom calls, is a welcome perk.
Demanding a full-time return to the office isn’t the solution to ending isolation. Employees figured out that remote and hybrid work isn’t just possible, but often preferable. Rather than insist they reappear at the office Monday through Friday, help employees reconnect with the world through on-the-clock volunteerism.
Naturally, volunteerism offers much-needed assistance to nonprofit organizations crushed by the pandemic. But the value of the experience to volunteers is life-changing. It can improve their physical and mental health, reconnect them with humankind, and even teach them valuable new skills.
Your company doesn’t just benefit from employees who experience these perks of volunteerism. By allowing team members to volunteer without sacrificing their pay, your brand looks pretty amazing to prospective talent as well. Your employees constitute an army of potential helpers, so let them march on (and spread the word).
Any company can build a culture around the expected boons, like holiday parties, annual bonuses, and employee-of-the-month plaques. But what about building a culture of unexpected appreciation?
If you can’t bring yourself to provide unlimited PTO for your workforce, you can award extra days off on the fly. Reward a team who reeled in a new client or an employee who delivered stellar service to a difficult customer. An extra day before or after a holiday or a long weekend with pay will always be welcomed.
Invest in perks that play to individual employees’ interests and bestow them liberally. Think gym memberships, tickets to sporting and cultural events, spa vouchers, and gift certificates to restaurants and stores. The more you get to know your employees, the easier it will be to figure out what reward buttons you can push.
It’s not that the expected perks aren’t unappreciated. But unexpected gestures of appreciation for a job well done both surprise and delight. Think of them as adult gold stars for stellar performance.
Perking Up Your Workplace
As an employer, you strive to make your company the place everyone wants to work. In the wake of pandemic-fueled, priority-shifting employee discontent, that’s not an easy task. Luckily, it’s also not impossible.
Employees want different things these days. So look beyond the traditional benefits and “perk up.” It could be your best shot at attracting and retaining the talent that otherwise might get away.