At the end of every year, agencies like Glassdoor publish a series of articles such as
- Top companies of the last year
- ‘X’ unique benefits introduced in ‘z’ year and so on.
There are various parameters behind these assessments such as salary, perks and benefits, work culture, etc.
While there are some aspects that employees still want, others remain unexplored. In this article, we are specifically going to talk about employee benefits that are missed out in those reports. Many companies have introduced such benefits, but the number is still negligible.
Here’s a list of employee benefits that could be introduced in 2019
1. Customizable packages:
This isn’t a benefit in itself but it is the need of the hour. A company may offer some of the best benefits to its employees. But do they really need it? Or are there any other alternatives that they would prefer?
In this age of customer driven user experience, why do we treat our employees any differently? We take painstaking efforts to understand the psyche of our customers and tailor our products/services according to the needs of the target audience. Shouldn’t employees be treated in the same manner
Take Care Of Your Employees And They’ll Take Care Of Your Business,” Says Richard Branson
Not surprisingly, it is much more simpler as compared to creating buyer personas for customers. There is no need to conduct research into which employee would prefer which benefit.
You can simply ask them! They can select suitable options based on their needs. Over time, they can change this package as per their changing needs. An employee’s age, number of dependents, location and other demographics affect their preferences.
For example, for someone with 3-4 dependents, health insurance benefits can be a high necessity, whereas for a younger person, educational assistance would be more preferred.
It could be a mix and match of the following benefits:
- Educational assistance
- Extended maternity/paternity paid leaves
- Flexible working options
- Free meals
- Well-being reimbursements (gym, sports, music or other recreational activities)
- Day care centers or creche
- Legal and Financial assistance services
- Health insurance (most popular – but additional options such as dental, vision, etc.)
Whatever be the case, giving a choice to your employees empowers them to select benefits on their own terms.
2. Educational assistance:
There are many companies who understand the importance of training and development of employees. But not all end up investing in due to budgetary constraints or other priorities. For them, here’s a popular short story that has been doing the rounds on LinkedIn and similar platforms in recent times.
CFO: What happens if we train them and they leave?
CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?
It really gets one to think, doesn’t it? How would the investment on training of employees (who leave) compare with letting unskilled (or semi-skilled) employees working in the company for long periods? Which would prove to be more costly and harmful in the long run?
Educational assistance is not about training employees per se. It is defined as a benefit wherein the company reimburses employees who seek to continue their educational journey. This reimbursement could either be a percentage of the total cost or in entirety of the expenses incurred (fees, tuition and books) for the course. It depends upon the company policy.
One of the biggest advantage of including educational assistance in company benefits list, is that it increases loyalty among the employees. They get to learn new skills necessary for their job (or personal growth) and increase their contribution towards the company. What better than to have a job that also lets you fulfill your desire and complete your education?
And lastly, it also helps in improving the company’s reputation in the industry. Talk about two birds with one stone.
Let employees broaden their horizons. Either way they will be highly engaged in their work given that some or most of their aspirational needs are being met, with the company’s assistance.
3. Legal and financial services:
The average person does not like to get involved in legal matters, unless it is absolutely necessary. So when anyone is actually involved in one, it can affect him/her in more ways than one. Common patterns observed include lower engagement levels, poor job performance, higher absenteeism to attend to legal matters and the most dangerous, increase in stress levels.
Same goes for matters related to financial concerns. By providing a legal and financial assistance benefit, companies can ease the psychological as well as financial burden of employees to a great extent.
When employees are assured of getting immediate help in these matters, it puts their mind to rest. They are better able to focus on their goals and job. Having this security is not only beneficial for their personal lives, but it also reflects in their professional one as well.
4. Well-being reimbursement:
Today, an increasing number of people are realizing the importance of prioritizing health over job. Although not everyone is able to follow the practice due to certain constraints, time and budget being the biggest ones.
A well-being reimbursement benefit or a employee wellness program is essential to ensure that all employees are able (as well as encouraged) to maintain a great physical and mental health. Fit employees are more productive, less stressed and less prone to absenteeism due to flu, cough and cold, or other common illnesses.
As we stated earlier, there’s an article by Glassdoor that talks about 12 Companies With Amazing Wellness Benefits. Check out the list of wellness benefits provided by the companies mentioned. Some may well be in the budget of smaller companies as well.
5. Salary advances:
Even with the best of planning, certain situations may force people to exhaust their savings. They need to replenish this amount without taking on the additional burden of personal loans. It is best to also avoid breaking your retirement savings, mutual funds, etc.
In such cases, salary advance benefits can be a huge boon for them. It is easier for them to repay it out of their future paychecks i.e. the amount can simply be deducted as agreed upon in the terms and conditions. There may or may not be additional charges to this process, depending upon the company’s policy.
Although, it is best to watch out for those who repeatedly seek to utilize this benefit. It may reveal deeper issues other than poor financial management.
Bonus: Short-work week
There are some companies who have introduced a 4-day work week. There have been experiments, such as when a New Zealand company found that by working fewer days, its employees were “happier, focused and more productive”.
As good as it sounds, we find that this one is unlikely to become a global practice. Unless you happen to be in Netherlands, where the 4-day work week is becoming a norm.
Apart from the ones mentioned here, which benefits do you think should be introduced in the coming years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.