17 of the best perks for boosting employee engagement

Team lunches for employee motivation

Do you hate going to work?

You’re not the only one. Research shows that only 13% of employees feel actively engaged at work. Most employees only show up because they need the money. Without motivation, they barely scrape by, failing to embrace their roles or their company.

Employee engagement, or the emotional commitment a worker feels to goals and a company, is one of the clearest indicators of organisational success. If your workforce does not feel connected or committed, you can’t succeed as an organisation long-term.

To change the dynamic, you need to make a commitment to employees first. These perks illustrate that you care about your community, transforming your workplace and your bottom line:

  1. Consistent Praise

Consistent praise may not be a perk, but it should be. Positive reinforcement goes a long way by championing individual achievement and building a strong community. In analysing 10,000 businesses, Gallup found that regular praise and recognition increased productivity, engagement, company loyalty, and safety records among employees

  1. Dogs Allowed

Inviting dogs to your office immediately changes the tone of a workplace, infusing humour, levity, and empathy into the environment. Plus, dogs decrease stress levels and encourage individuals to take healthy breaks.

  1. Short Work Weeks

Four-day work weeks nurture engagement by giving more back to workers. As Katie Fang, founder and CEO of SchooLinks told Fast Company, “Our employees come back to work refreshed and ready to concentrate. In a startup environment, it’s tempting to scale the company faster. Four-day work weeks allow us to provide some sense of balance.”

  1. Free Rides

For a lot of employees, commuting is the worst part of their day. Take the edge off of daily trips by paying for employees’ fuel, contributing to public transportation costs, or wrangling your own shuttles. Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google all offer free bus services to employees — free wifi makes it easy for each team to get extra work done on their commutes.

  1. Great Books

Buffer gives employees and their families unlimited books and Kindles. Not only will this perk ensure you have a happy and engaged workforce, but it will also attract conscientious bookworms to your company.

  1. Co-working Allowance

Do your employees work remotely? Instead of paying for an empty office, surprise your team with a co-working space allowance. Some companies allow you to pay per desk per month. Employees who work in co-working spaces rate their levels of thriving as 6 on a 7-point scale, surpassing workers in traditional spaces by at least one point.

  1. Unlimited Vacation

Unlimited vacation time allows employees to take what they need to rest and rejuvenate. Adding this perk can increase employee engagement, just like it did at Netflix.

  1. FlexTime

Flextime means that employees work a set number of hours on their own clock — they may work 40 hours over four days or adjust their time to their personal schedule. This kind of flexibility ensures that people work at optimal times for their schedule.

  1. No-Email Nights and Weekends

The easiest perk requires a lot of self-control — never email your employees after hours or on weekends. Maura Thomas, productivity expert, shares why:

When employees are constantly monitoring their email after work hours — whether this is due to a fear of missing something from you, or because they are addicted to their devices — they are missing out on essential downtime that brains need.

Instead of sending emails when they come to mind, use a tool like Boomerang that enables you to schedule them for first-thing the following day.

  1. 10% Policy

Google made waves in the HR world for a policy that allowed employees to spend 20% of their time on their creative projects. The tech conglomerate may have ditched the program, but not before their idea caught on with other companies. Azavea, a company that develops mapping software, lets employees spend up to 10% on their own projects. To boost employee engagement, consider implementing a similar policy.

  1. Delectable Lunches

Counsyl, a health technology company, skips the awful cafeteria food. They offer employees delectable lunches and dinners from gourmet restaurants, food trucks, and farmers’ market vendors. By keeping your crew healthy and fed, you set a strong foundation for a productive work day.

  1. Generous Family Leave

Parental leave is one of the hallmarks of a good work environment. Make paid leave a priority, and you can expect increased engagement and less turnover. Even small companies can make it work if they get creative.

  1. Helpful Mentors

Mentoring programs don’t just help mentees; they empower mentors. A 2013 study found that mentors exhibited increased commitment to their organisation and higher job satisfaction.

  1. Conflict Resolution Training

Giving employees the tools to solve interpersonal conflicts can radically transform rates of engagement. Without the discomfort of rising tensions and internal disputes, people are free to commit themselves to important tasks and enjoy their jobs.

  1. Volunteer Opportunities

Healthy engagement at work always accompanies a sense of meaning. By encouraging employees to use their time on the job to serve an important cause, you nurture a sense of connection and an environment of service. Organisational psychology research reveals that helping others at work increases motivation.

  1. On-Site Childcare

When working mothers and fathers can attend to their work and their children at the same time, it eases the strain of two very hard jobs. On-site childcare allows women to breastfeed infants, and fathers to have lunch with their children. Campbell’s, for example, even offers kindergarten and after-school day care.

  1. Beer on Tap

Instead of gathering around the water cooler to chat, bring your team to the beer tap for a Friday meeting. A pint or two can bring a collegial spirit to your environment, giving employees the opportunity to decompress before they go home.

Perks aren’t bonuses anymore, they are necessities in a working world that requires increased employee engagement. As the adage “work to live” loses popularity, it’s more important than ever for organisations to offer benefits that create an integrated work-life experience.

How top managers motivate and energise employees

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About the author

Chad Halvorson is the CEO of When I Work, an employee scheduling app that nearly half a million people in over 50 countries rely on for employee scheduling, time clock, and communication. When I Work uses an innovative blend of collaborative communication technologies, including the web, mobile apps, text messaging, social media, and email, to make teams more efficient, more accountable, and better prepared. Most traditional workforce management software is clunky, cumbersome and difficult to install and maintain. When I Work is a simple, intuitive, mobile-first solution that owners and managers can implement and start using in five minutes, not five months—no IT required. More blog posts by Chad Halvorson ››
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