Ten Perks that Attract the Best Talent


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As of July 2016 the unemployment rate is at the rock-bottom figure of 4.9 percent, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor. Unlike the height of the recession, when there were six people applying for every opening, many employers are scrambling to attract the best talent. And while generous salaries and regular raises are powerful incentives, money alone isn’t always enough to secure top candidates. The ten fringe benefits listed below are considered some of the most desirable among job seekers. Employers seeking to recruit and retain a top notch crew should seriously consider providing at least a handful – if not several.

Health Insurance for Workers – and Their Families

Providing health care coverage – including payment of all (or at least a significant proportion) of the monthly premium is still appreciated as a fringe benefit. While large employers are now required to provide health insurance for full-time workers under the Affordable Care Act, provisions of the plan often mean that premiums for family members are unaffordable. However, family members of workers who are eligible for health care coverage under an employer-provided plan are usually NOT eligible to obtain premium subsidies if they opt to seek coverage through the exchanges instead. Likewise, small employers with less than 50 full-time employees are exempt from the requirement to provide health care coverage.

Transit Passes and/or Car Sharing Memberships

Many individuals – especially Millennials, are weaning themselves away from automobile ownership. Especially among workers who are located in urban areas with good public transportation systems, paid transit passes represent a much-appreciated perk. Company sponsored car-sharing memberships also allow workers to obtain cars for weekends or other occasional needs without being subjected crazy-expensive car rental fees.

Retirement Savings Plans

During the height of the Great Recession, 401(k) accounts and other employer-provided retirement related perks suffered stiff declines. Nonetheless employees still appreciate employers who provide generous retirement plans. And if the company matches or double matches employee contributions – so much the better.

Profit Sharing

Back in the day, the unwritten social contact stated that when companies did well, their workers benefitted also. That social contract has largely fallen by the wayside, with many companies stashing big profits in overseas tax havens. However, providing profit sharing to your workers gives them a sense of ownership – which can lead to a greater investment of effort and increased loyalty.

Paid Vacation Days

One trendy perk, especially among startups, is to offer employees unlimited paid vacation days. While that may not be a practical option for your company, being stingy with vacation time can lead to candidates or workers seeking greener pastures elsewhere. Extra days off around nationally recognized holidays and sick leave are also prized perks.

Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave

The United States stands out among industrialized countries in that paid maternity leave is not mandated by law. Providing your employees with paid maternity AND paternity leave establishes your company as recognizing the value of work-life balance. In turn, job candidates and workers will recognize your company as a good place to work.

Clear Advancement Opportunities

On one level, it’s easier to provide regular promotions in large companies rather than in smaller outfits. But even small companies can recognize workers by providing them with more latitude within their own positions as they demonstrate their expertise on the job. And if there are a few more dollars in the pay envelope as well – so much the better.

Training and Professional Development

Providing training and professional development opportunities for employees demonstrates that you value their contribution – and you’re willing to make an investment in them. As an employer, you have several options for providing this perk, including in-house training, tuition reimbursement and paid attendance for industry related conferences.

Off-Site Events

During the height of the Great Recession, many companies cut “non-essentials” like the annual holiday party, company sponsored sports teams or related off-site events. These days, companies that fail to offer any off-site events run the risk of appearing stingy. Besides, such activities build a sense of shared company culture – besides being enjoyable.

In-House Perks

Flashy in-house spas or professionally catered meals may be beyond your company’s budget. However, budget-friendly versions of in-house perks, such as an employee lounge gift cards to recognize birthdays or a sandwich tray on Fridays are also appreciated by employees, especially if workers tend to remain on the job well beyond the standard nine-to-five workday.

Audrey Henderson
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Posted In: Management

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