Perks That Matter to Employees in 2019

Posted on Mar 29, 2019 - By Leesa Love

In the 2000s and 2010s, Silicon Valley tech companies led the way in employee perks. Innovative companies made free snacks and on-site baristas signifiers of a stimulating and creative workplace culture. Some businesses even encouraged rumors of meditation rooms and electric bikes to cultivate this image. However, it turns out that freebies are no longer what truly retains or even attracts quality talent. In 2019, your business does not have to break the bank renting bicycles on behalf of your employees to build a successful team.

In fact, recent studies by LinkedIn show that what employees truly value in the workplace is culture and job significance. People want to feel like the work they do matters, but they also crave work-life balance. At the turn of a new decade, employees prefer flexible hours to foosball tables at work, and they strive for personal development more than espresso machines. This change is largely driven by the increasingly diverse workforce. In order to hire and grow top industry professionals now, companies need to offer perks that appeal to today’s job applicants.

Growth Opportunities

New titles and promotions are not the only kinds of growth that interest employees. Personal development and skill building are important to employees as well. To satisfy their employees’ desire for personal development, companies can host lunch-and-learns, encourage goal-setting and relate personal goals to the overall company vision. Employees feel more motivated and engaged in a workplace where they feel they can achieve personal goals while supporting company-wide objectives.

Further, some employees need to know that the company itself is growing. Their own personal progression eventually reaches a ceiling if the company itself is stagnant. Some employees may even view their work as meaningless if it does not have a clear value to the progression of the organization. Additionally, access to the C-level and a relationship with company leadership builds employee trust.

Customization of Benefits

A recent MetLife study found that more than 70 percent of employees desire the ability to customize their benefits. This desire for adjustable benefits is driven by a diverse employee workforce and the variety of needs and interests that come with it.

Every business will have a mixture of employees who are more interested in paying down student loans than building retirement funds, and vice-versa. It will also have employees who are new parents or have kids in college, as well as those who do not want any children. Giving employees the ability to adjust their benefits as needed increases loyalty to the company. It also reflects that the workforce that is growing more diverse than ever, and that the company is committed to every employee’s wellbeing.

Flexible Hours

Work-life balance is a keystone value for most modern employees, and offering flexible working hours is a popular corporate response to this desire. Many businesses that include flexible working hours in their job postings are found to attract more young professionals. Additionally, businesses that are open to flexible working hours retain more parents even after their children are born, and it greatly impacts the number of women in company leadership roles.

Like customizable benefits, flexible working hours are required for an increasingly diverse workforce. This includes making the workplace more accessible to employees with disabilities or chronic health issues. Flexible hours may even offer a solution to a lack of diversity in leadership positions.

Employee Referral Programs

Every recruiter wants to hire great talent for the company, but finding a team member who matches the company culture and has the right skill set is a challenge. Establishing employee referral programs is a benefit trend on the rise in 2019, because it is a great way to get the entire team involved with the recruitment of new talent.  These programs help employees feel more involved in the organization, rewards them for assisting the human resources team and can take some of the pressure off of HR to find the best new match.

Additionally, employees enjoy the workplace more when they feel that they are surrounded by friends. A team’s increased investment in professional peers create a closer workplace culture and a sense in new recruits that they are welcomed in the community.

Work From Home

Like flexible working hours, the ability to telecommute is an increasingly popular work perk. In fact, the number of remote employees has risen by 115 percent since 2005, and two-thirds of managers find that employees who work from home are more productive. A Stanford University study also found that employers who offer remote work opportunities saw employee turnover rates fall by 50 percent.

While not all positions need to be remote, the occasional opportunity to work from home reduces stress among employees. Like other perks that create a flexible work environment, a work-from-home option increase employees’ loyalty to the company. This is because it allows them to maintain productivity and save vacation days, even while making time for doctors’ visits and repair appointments. It also opens up more work opportunities to employees who have mobility-impairments or would struggle to manage a daily commute.

Employee Recognition

While rewards systems may not be the prime attractor that brings new talent through the door, employee recognition is key to keeping your best talent. Recognizing and rewarding performance throughout the year is an excellent way to encourage team loyalty and satisfaction in the workplace. Friendly competitions can also forge a company culture where employees feel consistently motivated to be productive and innovative.

Employee of the Month awards, recognition and praise for completing difficult tasks, reaching certain milestones or pursuing outside education are all ways that companies can recognize their best performers. Keep in mind that a business does not need to throw a full banquet in order to make the staff feel seen, appreciated and respected. Employees are more likely to be dedicated to a company that they feel values them in turn.