Corporate perks are one of the big ways companies are fighting the war for talent. A war that, according to the ONS, is intensifying.
It’s ever-more important for your business to find creative ways to attract and keep quality staff.
But corporate perks aren’t just about blinding staff with cheap, glitzy gifts. Quality employees are more clever than that.
These perks need to be an extension of how you see employees, and the kind of workplace culture you want to enjoy.
Don’t just think about what’s going to make you look funky and different when job-seekers are scrolling through CV warehouses’ open roles.
Think about how your perks reflect your attitude towards staff and your business.
Travelling is enriching, energising and broadens the mind. It’s also one of the most common ambitions your employees are likely to have.
Offering time and resources to see the world will enrich the minds of your staff. And your employees will see that you value them not just as professionals, but individuals.
2. Employee rewards
Make sure staff efforts don’t go without reward and recognition. Rewards become long-lasting trophies and positive memories for staff.
Jump over here if you want the full run-down on everything need to know before offering employee rewards.
3. Flexible hours
Modern life has a funny way of refusing to fit comfortably in the time outside 9am and 5pm.
Showing a bit of trust and letting staff be flexible with hours makes it much more comfortable to balance work and life. Remote working access would also be a huge game-changer for a lot of staff.
4. Time to volunteer
If you care about something, and it’s part of your company’s values, give your staff a stake in it.
Let them put some time aside every year to volunteer for a good cause that reflects what your company’s about.
As a corporate perk, it’s more than a feel-good exercise. Your staff get invested in the same things your company cares about, improving employee engagement. And boosting internal sentiment about your company.
5. Holiday trading
If you’re not already familiar, holiday trading is a form of salary sacrifice. Employees give up a slice of their annual pay for an equivalent number of days off. Or selling their extra holiday back.
As we pointed out in the flexible working section, everyone’s life is a bit different. And what’s important to everyone is different.
Some employees would relish the chance for an extra week with their family. Other work-obsessives might bristle when asked to take their days out of the office.
The most important thing is that the choice is there.
6. Training and development
The ugly stereotype that millennial staff are fickle job-hoppers does start with a sliver of the truth. Millennial staff are keen to learn, and they’re keen to take opportunities to grow.
Offering opportunities for staff to grow has two major effects. Talented people will seize the opportunity to develop their skills, and they’ll be inclined to stay with the companies that invest in them.
7. Staff discounts
Make the everyday a little bit easier, every day. Offer your employees a way to ease the daily burden of the things they can’t avoid making part of their routine spending.
Even discounts that seem small add up quickly when you use them over the course of a year.
Alternatively, you could arrange discounts on services like laundry, gym membership or cafes by dealing in bulk with local suppliers.
Staff will appreciate a corporate perk that does something positive for them every day.
Sometimes an employee can feel a bit divorced from the impact of their work. The difference between the company having a good year and a brilliant year might not get them fired up.
If it’s right for your company culture, profit-sharing would build more investment between employees and the success of the company.
They’d have more emotional connection to the effects of their work, and a sense of connection with the business.
The common thread through these corporate perks is having a bit of empathy. Acknowledging staff are human beings, not just cogs in a machine. People with needs, ideas, and wants.
That’s the foundation of any attempt to deploy some difference-making perks to attract and keep top staff. Get the emotional core right before fretting about which perk is right for your business.
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If your business doesn’t have values, it’s time to think of investing in some. We choose the word investment on purpose.
Values are a significant boost to a company that lives and dies by upholding them. However, like any investment they need attention, maintenance and care to be valuable.
Modern staff increasingly indicate they want to work for ethical companies. The world is more aware than ever of the effects of our lives, personal and professional, on the wider world.
As a result, there’s some existential and internal pressure to behave in an ethical manner. Those needs dovetail neatly with what employees want from their employers.
Upholding some coherent, ethical values will help you with staff retention. 
2. Establish a purpose and talk about it
Connect the work your employees do to something more interesting than bars on a chart. Then make that your purpose, and find a way to talk about it.
Graphs and bar charts are too boring. They need context to get an emotional response from staff. They don’t seem as tangible as real-life outcomes.
Too many companies set out with a purpose, but it ends up as flimsy PR, internally and externally.
Employees stay with employers that make a real difference to the wider world. Connecting employees with a professional raison d’être gives them more than just figures and graphs to look to when it comes to what they take satisfaction in with their work. 
3. Recognise staff
Recognise your employees for anything that brings sincere value to your workplace. Not just for hitting targets, but for improving your workplace overall.
Recognition isn’t just another form of reward, it’s a way of building a relationship among a group.
From both managers and colleagues, it’s important for human beings to feel like a valued member of a team. It’s vital to our emotional comfort and personal and professional safety.
Recognition improves areas like motivation, productivity, engagement and satisfaction. It extends to retention, too: 55% of employees state that they would leave their current job for a company that embraces recognition. 
4. Empower staff and listen to them
Having a voice in decision-making gives staff a sense of buy-in over their work and what they’re being asked to do.
The only thing worse than not listening to staff, is listening to staff and ignoring what they say.
When your staff believe in a project that requires their expertise, they will be more invested in the project’s success.
Technology has allowed work to infiltrate the home lives of workers through computers.
As a result, the lines between the personal and professional are irreparably blurred.
Many staff see a fair but neccessary transaction here. In exchange for more work out of office hours, employers have less say over where that work takes place.
You might have some hard red lines, depending on your industry. You can’t fly in the face of regulations, legal constraints or even the need to staff your call centre. But flexibility will be a prized workplace benefit for the foreseeable future.
And employees will leave for employers with more flexible approaches to work. That’s a direct threat to staff retention. 
12. Offer robust employee benefits
Employee benefits are not optional. They’re vital for attracting and keeping quality people.
Even just finding a way to alleviate the financial burden on your staff could be monumental.
Employee benefits that improve quality of life increase employee attachment to employers.
Competitive employee benefits packages reduce personal issues that make employees think about leaving.
They also help you attract new employees at the same time. Combined it’s great for acquisition and staff retention.
13. Address your work environment
Does your workplace work for your workforce? As companies grow, workplaces themselves can become a millstone around the neck.
They can stop teams from reaching their potential and frustrate your employees. Frustrated employees are poor for staff retention.
Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple invest collective billions into their work environments. Because they know employees need appropriate surroundings to excel.
Some factors that make a workplace a better environment for your employees include:
The ability for employees to communicate properly.
Some degree of privacy, or space for quiet work.
Access to the technology they need to do their work, like wireless internet or video conferencing equipment.
A location that’s desirable without being inaccessible for staff.
Access to food and health services.
Safety of workers during their working day.
14. Embrace the exit interview
If an employee leaving your business is a cloud, then the exit interview needs to be the silver lining.
You can’t claw back an employee already walking out the door, but you can learn from what set them on that path.
Then you can apply that knowledge to the rest of the your staff. Especially the ones who might have one foot out the proverbial door.
Put employees at ease by holding the interview after they’ve secured a reference. That way there’s no fear that they’ll put their next role in jeopardy.
Ask open-ended questions that address their employee experience without being too negative. For instance, asking what an employee would like change about the company is more constructive than just asking what they didn’t like about working for your company.
Be positive, honest and above all else, keep their answers as confidential as possible.
Getting staff retention strategies off the ground
Ultimately, your company needs to believe in the change, and believe in the need for the change to take place. Not just individually, but as an organisation.
Making any kind of substantial change to how your business operates will tend to seem like a big deal. That means it’s important to have the will to overcome any hurdles.
Your senior leadership needs belief in the change to drive it home. In the long run, it will be worth it. Employees that stay longer bring immense value and understanding to your company.
Their contributions eclipse the price of making sure they stay in the fold in the first place. Once your senior leadership understand the need for change, it’s much easier to drive positive changes across a whole business.
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