“It is important to [provide] higher benefits so your employees know that you truly care about them," says Bobby Hotaling, president and CEO of The Hotaling Group. Being generous with your perks and benefits helps make you a crush-worthy employer, and shows existing employees that you genuinely care about their well-being.
Rather than emulating major companies such as Google or Tesla, find the perks and benefits that suit your brand. To help you do just that, we’ll look at three tiers of employee benefits and how they’ll help you win the talent war.
The basics get them through the door
If you want to attract top talent, start by covering the basics.
What exactly are these "basics" we speak of? To start, there are certain required benefits that you’re legally obligated to provide in Canada, including stat holiday pay, parental leave, and bereavement leave. Additionally, according to the Canadian Payroll Association, the top five most popular employee benefits are health and dental insurance, group life insurance, job training expenses, vehicle allowances, and gifts and awards. If you offer these basic benefits, you’ll be competing on the same playing field as the majority of Canadian companies.
Offering the basics will get candidates in the door, but being more generous with your group benefits package will set you apart as a top employer.
The perks set you apart
To set yourself apart as an employer, start by getting creative with your perks and benefits.
By offering employee perks like telecommuting and flexible schedules, healthy snacks and treats, onsite fitness and wellness packages, standing desks, education budgets, and dog-friendly workspaces, you’re going to give yourself a leg-up in the talent war.
More than that, you’ll make your existing team more productive and engaged. Studies show that happy, healthy employees are more productive and take fewer sick days. This saves your organization money and makes you more valuable.
Be strategic about what you're offering employees and make sure your perks and benefits actually fit your employer brand. If learning is one of your core values, offer budget and opportunities for continued education. If your team values wellness, consider giving subsidized gym passes and healthy snacks.
With that in mind, find inspiration in these common workplace perks and benefits that go a bit beyond the basics:
- Telecommuting and flexible work schedules
- Healthy snacks and meals
- Good coffee
- Onsite fitness and wellness packages
- Generous maternity/paternity leave and bonuses for new parents
- Flexible spending accounts
- Professional development budgets
- Nap or meditation rooms
- Free beer Fridays
- Dog-friendly offices
- Three (or more) week vacation policies
- Volunteer hours and social spending bonuses
- Transportation reimbursements
The outliers seal the deal
So you've covered the basics, and even gone above and beyond to set your company apart. Still don't feel like you truly stand out as a top employer? It's time to kick it up a notch.
Studies show that candidates really are influenced by perks and benefits when choosing between potential employers. According to Sun Life Financial, 62% of employees value benefits as an important factor when comparing job offers from two different companies. With sites like Glassdoor making it possible to see and compare benefits at different organizations, employees have more power than ever to see what perks are out there—and be selective about where they work based on that information.
That's why top companies are offering increasingly exceptional perks. By now, you've probably heard about the unlimited vacation policies at Virgin, or the myriad benefits of working at Google, or the four-day-summer-work-weeks at Basecamp. But the real key to making your benefits work for you? Tailor them to your specific brand, product, and people.
Adventure travel company Intrepid Travel offers their employees some exceptional travel benefits as a way to encourage team members to see the world and learn about their products.This makes perfect sense considering the services they offer and the travel-minded culture they're trying to build. Not only do their unique perks help to engage existing employees, but they also attract new, travel-loving talent to the team.
Employees at Intrepid can enjoy one free trip per year, plus five education days on top of their generous vacation policy when they choose one of their designated trips (which include sightseeing in Japan and staying at safari lodges in Namibia, to name a few). One team member recently went on a surprise trip to Greenland—a reward she earned for being supportive to her team members and for her exceptional efforts on the sales team.
“People work for Intrepid because they are passionate about our style of travel and love being surrounded by it each and every day,"says Rob Cooney, Regional Finance Manager at Intrepid Travel North America. "Plus, we find that a well-travelled team tends to be a more inspired team. Our business is very rare in the sense that travelling the world actually helps us become better at our job. We want all of our staff to understand and love our style of travel, which isn’t exactly tough to do!”
Cooney adds, “At the end of the day, we are in the business of selling unforgettable, real-life experiences. By travelling, our team achieves a greater appreciation that our customers' annual vacation time is simply too precious to waste, and it helps deliver the best tours possible.”
Over to you
So there you have it: offering exceptional perks and benefits not only helps you attract top talent, it ensures your employees are engaged and invested in your company's mission.
How do you find unique and tailored perks and benefits that fit your brand? Start by establishing your core values. What kind of company culture do you want to create? Then, offer perks that support that culture. If it's a culture of creative and playful thinkers, perhaps you could offer innovation days and time for employees to work on their own creative projects. If your mission is more socially-minded and philanthropic, offer volunteer hours and bonuses that can be allocated to charity.
Winning the talent war is not about generating the largest talent pool ever; it's about curating a diverse and passionate team who believe in what you believe in.