Employee satisfaction is essential to a company's overall success, which is why it's crucial to offer incentives that excite and inspire staff as well as attract top talent to the recruiting process. While every employee loves a salary increase, there are other ways to reward workers besides offering more money. Here are 15 impressive perks offered by large and small businesses across the country.
1. A pet-friendly environment
Love your four-legged friend like a child? So does PetSmart, which offers employees a variety of pet-related benefits. In addition to a 15 percent discount of pet-related merchandise and grooming, PetSmart employees get free training classes and discounted veterinary services. And if they don't want to leave your dog at home, many PetSmart employees bring their pets to work with them.
Dogtopia is another pet-friendly workplace. Employees get a personal wellness fund that can be for doggie daycare and vet visits. Employees who don't have pets, however, can still put it to use by applying it toward gym memberships and healthy lunches.
"We made sure everyone can get some benefit from the fund, since not everyone in our office has a pup," said Toni Teplitsky, Dogtopia's director of marketing.
2. Massages and yoga
At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the office environment is designed to support employees' mental and emotional well-being. Unsurprisingly, offices have healthy food options for the staff. They also have weekly massages and yoga classes available during work hours to ensure that everyone feels comfortable, happy and creative throughout the workday.
3. Free books
Employees who love free books will be drawn to Penguin Random House's Free Books Program. This benefit allows workers to order multiple books and e-books, free of charge, from a list of more than 100 titles, which is updated throughout the year. Employees can also join or form book clubs with their colleagues to discuss plots and practice team building.
4. Daily ice cream pints
Ben & Jerry's wants employees to know and love its ice cream, so it rewards them with three pints every day. While it may seem like the opposite of many workplaces' health initiatives, it does make employees popular with their friends and loves ones, with whom they are encouraged to share this daily perk. Employees also have a say in the names of ice cream flavors, and, of course, boasting rights if theirs is chosen.
5. No official work hours
At Netflix's California headquarters, vacation days and work hours aren't tracked. The company only measures what people get done, so if employees do their work, it doesn't matter when or for how long they're in the office. The company encourages employees of all levels to take time off, including new parents, who it claims often take four to eight months off. However, that vacation time might not be completely off the clock. "We intermix work and personal time quite a bit, doing email at odd hours, taking off weekday afternoons for kids' games, etc.," says Netflix's "Culture" description.
6. Plenty of time off
When you work hard, it's nice to have an employer who lets you play hard, too, like Boston-based Metis Communications. In addition to three weeks of vacation time, staff members get their birthdays off and a bonus vacation week during the last week of December. After you've worked for the company for four years, you get a fourth week of vacation every year, and after five years of employment, employees are eligible for Friday vacation days in the summer.
7. Focus on family
Deloitte offers incredible perks focused on parents and parents-to-be. Eligible employees, both moms and dads, can get up to 16 weeks of paid time off to bond with new babies after birth or adoption. The leave can also be used to care for a spouse, domestic partner, child, sibling or parent with a serious health condition. Eligible employees can even be reimbursed for up to $25,000 of expenses related to adoption or surrogacy.
8. Onsite health services
In addition to standard health insurance benefits, Steelcase takes care of its employees' health at the office. The design and manufacturing company has an onsite Wellbeing Hub where employees can make appointments with a massage therapist or registered nurse. The company also looks after workers' health by offering "healthier home meal" ingredient stations in its cafeterias, where employees can prep a meal to cook at home instead of visiting a drive-through after work. Steelcase also hosts Curious Minds, a series of lectures on topics like personal wellness and elder care.
9. Mental health support
Capital One Financial is another company that cares for its workers' well-being, including their mental health. The company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides counseling services, either in person or via telephone, as well as informational services to help with big changes like moving or having a baby
10. Continuing education
As higher education becomes more difficult to afford, companies are offering tuition assistance as a perk of employment. At Starbucks, benefits-eligible employees, both full- and part-time, can take advantage of the College Achievement Plan to earn a bachelor's degree through Arizona State University's online program, with full tuition coverage.
In 2017, Starbucks expanded the plan with its new Pathway to Admission Program, which gives academically ineligible employees another chance to qualify. ASU support specialists will work also with employees to help them qualify by identifying which courses they need. They can then take up to 10 freshman-level courses tuition-free as many times as needed.
11. Student loan paydowns
For employees who already have a degree, student loans can eat into their paycheck for years. That makes companies like PwC, which provides help paying down student loan debt, especially attractive. PwC offers its employees $100 per month, totaling $1,200 a year, strictly toward student loan debt. The benefit is available for up to six years, which, factoring in interest, can help employees save up to $10,000.
12. Midday surfing
Outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia values employees who love the outdoors, so it encourages them to stay physically fit and active. The California-based company provides bikes, volleyball courts and onsite yoga for its workers. Employees are also encouraged to catch a wave or two in the middle of the workday: The reception desk posts daily surf reports and makes companywide announcements on especially good surf days.
13. Giving back
Multiple studies have shown that workers, especially those in the millennial generation, value brands and employers that emphasize doing good in the world. That's why companies like tech behemoth Google are making their own contribution to employees' volunteer efforts. Google not only matches employees' monetary charitable contributions, but for every five hours of volunteered time, Google will donate $50 to that nonprofit.
14. Office parties
At San Francisco-based music app developer Smule, employees can bring their instruments to the office for the company's weekly jam sessions. There are also various holiday parties, including a Halloween costume party, Thanksgiving lunch, Wednesday game nights and monthly karaoke party.
"This year ... we celebrated the Lunar New Year, making dumplings together," said Sharon Negev, Smule's head of human resources. "We believe that developing a strong sense of belonging for employees from diverse backgrounds makes our experience as employees and humans more meaningful."
15. Freedom (and funding) to travel
Travel booking company HotelTonight gives employees the chance to travel at free or discounted rates with hotel credits as well as the chance to win an impromptu free vacation through monthly 'spin-the-wheel' events. Employees are also eligible for flexible vacation time, which lets them experience the HotelTonight app and stay in partner hotels.
Additional reporting by Sammi Caramela.