Mention the New Age and most people will envision meditative vegetarians burning incense and chanting “Om’s”. Stereotypes aside, most companies haven’t really caught up with the demands of the New Age in business culture and they could be putting their company’s future at risk. How so? Because whether you’re old school or New Age, one thing all companies have in common is productivity and growth are directly linked to employee satisfaction.
While benefit programs are critical to attracting and retaining the best and brightest, today’s workforce prioritizes benefits differently from their predecessors. Today’s employee doesn’t want to just clock-in, clock-out and take home a paycheck, comforted by the safety net of a 401K and health insurance. They want their job to be meaningful. They want to be a good corporate citizen. They want their employer engaged socially. To attract the best talent, here are the top 5 New Age perks a company needs to offer in addition to standard benefits:
Scheduling should take a more humane approach. The reality in every worker’s life is that life happens. And when it happens, it happens most unexpectedly. By allowing employees flexible scheduling, or work-from-home options, they are better able to balance their personal and professional responsibilities. This lowers stress, improves productivity and is a boon to worker morale, a condition that is highly contagious. For 88% of today’s workers, flexible scheduling is as important as health insurance.
2. Vacation/Sick Leave
Modern employees understand the value of a reset. This means that they also value more vacation time. Companies that are choosing to be very generous with paid leave are seeing a seemingly radical approach truly pay off.
For example, Richard Branson, Virgin Group’s CEO, offers unlimited paid vacation and sick time. As crazy as it may sound, Virgin employees are able to take as much paid time off as they want to recover and reset. His response to shocked questions about this policy has been a commitment to treating his employees like human beings. In other words, trusting them to make the right decisions about their own needs for recuperation and recreation. The end result is that they have not abused their employer’s generosity and continue to get the job done to his satisfaction. With 80% of the workforce desiring more paid vacation time, Branson seems to be doing things right.
In addition, some industry leading companies are allowing workers to transfer unused vacation days to other workers in need. In some cases employers are also tying this program to corporate giving and volunteering initiatives. The bottom line here: flexibility is key and when programs can be tied to “giving back” initiatives, it’s a home run
3. College Debt/Tuition Assistance
Nearly 50% of young workers express a desire for employers to offer assistance in paying off student loans. Nearly 45% would like an employer to help them with tuition as they continue to pursue higher education goals.
When a business offers these perks, they send a message to their employee that they see their commitment to excellence as a worthy investment. This transforms into a sense of deep loyalty in the worker toward their employer, resulting in higher productivity. Companies that invest in the education of workers attract and retain the best talent.
4. Lifestyle Options
In addition to standard company benefits, employers are finding that a smorgasbord approach, featuring certain lifestyle perks, keeps them more competitive when it comes to attracting the highest quality of new hire candidates. Gym memberships, free day-care, and fitness classes may not be desired by all, but by allowing the choice to opt in, a company finds that many more prime job seekers opt in to their job offer.
5. Corporate Social Rsponsibility
The trademark of the Millennial generation could very well be their highly developed social conscience. As they explore job options, one particular perk that is quite often the tipping point is a company sponsored social platform offering employees the opportunity to become active corporate citizens. A company that is proactively involved in making the world a better place, through the collective participation of its entire workforce, is the type of perk that many Millennials actually see as the most important. There are instances when it is the deciding factor for accepting a job offer. And while many companies have an established CSR platform, most have yet to enter the “New Age” of corporate benefits and unlock the full potential of these programs.