The 20 Most Important Perks that Keep Employees Happy

Melina Theodorou
Melina Theodorou

Career and Culture Writer

important employee perks

Employees today want more than just a paycheque at the end of the month.

They want to be engaged, do meaningful work and be part of a company they believe in.

And by meeting their needs as an employer, you not only keep employees engaged (effectively retaining top talent) but you also build your employer brand and make your company more attractive to prospective employees.

To achieve this, many companies have started offering a unique set of perks and benefits to their staff.

But which are the most important to employees and jobseekers alike? Which should you add to your benefits package?

Read on to find out.

1. Performance bonuses

Performance bonuses are a significant motivator for employees, as it essentially gives them a sense of ownership over their work, and it validates their efforts in the company. It also indicates that the company recognises their efforts and is keen to reward their steady development. 

2. Healthcare coverage

Many working professionals consider health insurance to be far more important than a pay raise due to the high costs of healthcare. Indeed, it effectively lifts a considerable amount of pressure off employees’ shoulders, and it helps them feel like they’re part of a company that cares for their overall wellbeing.

3. Paid vacation days

Paid vacation days are an important incentive for working professionals and are the second most common work benefit (PDF) after healthcare insurance. Taking time off helps employees’ wellbeing, reduces stress and bolsters their performance at work. In fact, paid time off can significantly reduce the chance of burnout and boost employee morale.

4. Flexible working hours

Flexible working is becoming increasingly common in the workplace. Indeed, perks that provide genuine options for a better work-life balance are a crucial factor for young professionals. Employees enjoy the freedom that comes with not being tied down to a 9-to-5 schedule, and this flexibility allows them to adapt their days around their own needs.

5. Tuition reimbursements

For many young professionals, paying off their college debt is a top priority. Therefore, an employer that offers a tuition reimbursement on top of a respectable salary is highly valued. Indeed, removing some of the financial pressure helps employees stay motivated and focused on their career without having to worry incisively about their outstanding debt.

6. Paid parental leave

Paid parental leave can give expectant parents ease of mind as they can dedicate time to their family without having to sacrifice their career. This often spans to six months with paid leave, allowing new parents to return to flexible part-time and full-time work afterwards to smoothen their transition back to work.

7. Volunteer days

Being able to do meaningful work outside the office is a big plus for many employees. The benefits of this are manifold: it helps them stay motivated, it secures their loyalty, and it gives them a stronger sense of purpose both inside and outside the workplace.

8. Pet-friendly offices

Nothing can beat the Monday blues like having your pet accompany you to work. For many jobseekers out there, this could be a fun but also vital perk, especially for those who need emotional support animals. Undeniably, pet-friendly policies can improve your team’s wellbeing and reduce work-related stress. And let’s face it: having pets at work makes everything more enjoyable.

9. Remote work

Being able to work from home is an important perk for many professionals. In fact, a staggering 75% of respondents of a recent survey said they feel more productive when they work from home, as it gives them the necessary flexibility to juggle work and family commitments. Consequently, this helps them work more effectively at the office, as they can eliminate distractions outside of work.

10. Retirement plans

When it comes to retirement plans, most jobseekers want to ensure their long-term wealth. It’s no surprise, then, that retirement benefits are a crucial component during a job search, according to 81% of respondents in a 2018 study. This makes a respectable retirement plan an indispensable perk that will give your team peace of mind as week as solidify their loyalty to your company.

11. Paid sick days

Employees need to know that their employer will be there for them both in sickness and in health. A company that prioritises the health of its workforce will make employees more content and relieve them from unnecessary stress. Indeed, paid sick leave means that sick employees don’t have to worry about short-term expenses while they’re recovering.

12. Wellness perks

Wellness perks range from on-site gyms, juice bars, sponsored gym memberships, healthy snacks or even fitness classes. Even if your employees aren’t fitness freaks, this kind of initiative will make them feel valued, as it shows that the company cares for their health and wellbeing.

13. Four-day work weeks

What younger workers especially value the most is working within a company that encourages good work-life balance. Four-day workweeks are a fairly new concept that businesses are adopting to grant their teams more flexibility. The results speak for themselves, as this not only makes employees happier but helps crank up and maintain productivity levels in the long run.

14. Life coaching

Life coaching adds a layer of support within the workplace and can help employees feel more secure within their role. Working with a mentor will prompt your team to identify their personal and professional goals and drive them towards achieving them. Ultimately, employees value perks such as life coaching because it shows that their employer is invested in their personal development.

15. Development programmes

Development programmes are an indispensable perk for aspiring employees who want to advance their career. Indeed, for 42% of the millennial workforce, development opportunities are a determining factor when looking for a job. Consequently, companies that are dedicated to their workforce’s professional development are more likely to attract the best and brightest talent.

16. Stock options

Stock options are another excellent way to reward staff for their hard work. Undoubtedly, by being financially invested in the organisation they work for, employees become even more committed to its performance. Meanwhile, this incentive also gives them a sense of ownership and belonging in the company as it elevates their status from mere workers to partners.

17. Office snacks

Small acts of kindness, such as offering free food, show employees that their company is invested in its workforce. Equipping the office kitchen with tasty snacks will not only make your employees happy but also create a better sense of community within the office as it encourages them to engage with each other – and nothing can bring people closer than food!

18. Childcare assistance

Balancing a busy career with an even busier family life can be a difficult task, hence why childcare assistance is essential for many working parents. This can span from on-site daycare to flexible hours to subsidies. Of course, this is greatly beneficial for companies, too, as it can lower turnover rates and lead to happier and more productive employees.

19. Casual office dress code

For employees, casual dress code means they can work comfortably in their day-to-day clothes without having to break their bank accounts to buy formal outfits they can only wear to work. It’s no wonder, then, that modern companies are ditching the old rulebook on business attire.

20. Travel stipends

Having the chance to travel for work is a distant dream for many - which is why companies that offer travel stipends are widely sought after by wanderlust-afflicted workers. Stipends are a great source of motivation for staff, and being encouraged to travel by their own employer is a dream come true for many!

Final thoughts

Perks and benefits have become an important factor for working professionals. Indeed, they’re an effective way for them to evaluate an organisation’s corporate model and company culture, as well as its core values. And while many companies are using flashy incentives to attract young talent, most jobseekers look for perks that can foster their professional growth and cater to their individual needs.

By keeping their workforce happy, companies can create a more positive, open and fruitful work environment for employees and employers alike.

Can you think of any other important work perks? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!