In an effort to attract top employees, many employers are developing benefit programs that go beyond health care insurance and paid time off.
New research from Glassdoor revealed perks for new parents, on-site amenities, college tuition and free food are some of the more unique benefits employers offer.
A solid benefits package is an important factor for employees considering job offers. The study found that 57 percent of job seekers said benefits and perks are among their top considerations before taking a new job.
To show how organizations are developing more creative benefit programs, Glassdoor has highlighted 20 different perks employers offer today. [See Related Story: Top Work Perk? No Place Like Home, Employees Say]
"Many of the benefits featured in this report fall into the more practical category, but go above and beyond the baseline," Allison Berry, Glassdoor community expert, told Business News Daily.
These are some of the more nontraditional perks being offered:
- On-site gym: As a way to encourage employees to achieve their personal fitness goals, Reebok provides an on-site gym complete with CrossFit classes.
- Soccer tournament: The global management consulting firm Bain & Company holds an annual three-day soccer tournament in a different city each year. Employees from all of its offices around the world are invited to participate.
- Gender confirming surgery: Since 2008, Goldman Sachs has offered medical insurance coverage for gender confirming surgery.
- Intern benefits: In addition to paying them a sizable salary, Facebook provides company interns with health care coverage and free housing.
- Pet benefits: Scripps Health, a health care system in San Diego, offers all of its employees health insurance for cats and dogs.
- College tuition: Starbucks provides its employees full tuition reimbursement for an online bachelor's degree program through Arizona State University.
- Parental assistance: At American Express, both mothers and fathers receive up to five months of fully paid leave. New moms also typically receive six to eight weeks of salary continuation for medical leave. Additionally, parents are given access to a lactation consultant, and new mothers who travel for work can ship their breast milk home for free.
- Wellness stipends: To help keep its employees healthy, Eventbrite offers workers a $60 monthly wellness stipend. They can use it on anything from gym membership fees to juice cleanses.
- Food discounts: Full- and part-time employees at Whole Foods Market receive a 20 percent store discount.
- Burgers and fries: Workers at In-N-Out can have one Double-Double burger and an order of fries for free each time they work.
- Sabbaticals: At Deloitte, employees can take advantage of two sabbatical programs. Employees can take an unpaid one-month sabbatical for any reason and a three-to-six-month sabbatical with 40 percent pay to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities.
- Museum: Corporate employees at Gap get free access to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
- Gym memberships: Employees at Microsoft can receive a yearly $800 StayFit reimbursement to help pay for gym memberships and fitness programs.
- Flexible schedules: The insurance company Swiss Re has developed the Own the Way You Work program, which encourages employees to embrace flexibility with their schedules and work remotely.
- New parent programs: Amazon offers new parents throughout the company several different programs, including a leave-share option that lets employees share paid leave with their partner if the partner's company does not offer paid leave. Amazon also offers the Ramp Back program, which gives new moms more control over easing back into work.
- Counseling: Southwest Airlines' Clear Skies Employee Assistance Program provides confidential counseling and referral services for employees to help with a range of issues, including stress, substance abuse, grief and relationship problems.
- On-site amenities: The biotechnology company Genentech offers a variety of on-site amenities for employees, including car washes, haircuts, child care, mobile spa treatments and dentist services.
- Volunteering: Employees at Timberland can take up to 40 hours of paid time off per year to volunteer.
While unique perks can pique the interest of employees, it is still important to also offer the traditional benefits employees typically expect. Berry said the more practical perks are the ones that make the biggest impact on employee satisfaction. These are the core benefits that help keep employees happy:
- Health insurance
- Vacation and paid time off
- Pension plan
- 401(k) plan
- Retirement plan
- Dental insurance
- Maternity and paternity leave
- Sick days
- Vision insurance
- Paid holidays
When developing a benefits package, employers should first learn what really interests their workers, Berry said.
"Employers should personalize entire benefits packages with their specific workforces in mind," she said. "It is important to keep in mind that not all benefits and perks will attract all employees."