In recent years, many employers have jumped on the Millennial perks bandwagon, adding things like bean bags, ping-pong tables, couches and even arcade games to make their workplace more fun and inviting for younger employees.
While it’s true that some workers appreciate this relaxed atmosphere, it’s not enough to keep top talent. A ‘cool’ office won’t matter if your company isn’t investing in its people and providing real value in their personal and professional lives. We asked members of Young Entrepreneurs Council about the work perks that have directly impacted employee retention.
Q. Ping-pong tables and bean bag chairs aside, what one work perk at your company has directly affected employee retention? How does this perk work?
#1 Flexible Schedules
Our biggest perk is the ability to be completely flexible about hours and work time. We don’t have a set schedule unless there are specific meetings. The rest is on the team to get done what they know they have to do. They enjoy working that way because they have the freedom to take care of their personal lives while still getting their work done. – John Rampton, Calendar
#2 Personal Development Initiatives
We offer many on our staff the opportunity to participate in intense personal development to support their wholeness. Employees who are working to align their lives with their values on that way to wholeness are more powerful at work. People who are more powerful at work and at home are deeply loyal. The company and the individual identity weave together into an indistinguishable fabric. – Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
Providing a sabbatical so employees can take time off to work on a volunteer project, create something, travel or study is a stellar idea. We offer this for one or two months, and they can receive a financial stipend. They must show how this sabbatical will help the organization before it’s approved. – Murray Newlands, ChattyPeople
#4 Constant Education
Working with a lot of younger, tech-minded people, I often find that they are eager to develop their talents and are always looking to acquire new skills. Offering educational materials, access to webinars and guidance on projects allows people to continually improve their performance. People enjoy doing something they’re good at, but can also challenge their skills. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
#5 Free Lunch
#6 Facilitation of Personal Experiences
We purchase tickets for concerts or sporting events. It’s something that’s personal and memorable, and it’s something they may not have gone to otherwise. It’s fun to see what the employee is excited about and then help make that experience happen. Likewise, we’ve also purchased plane tickets with company miles to help people go on personal trips. – Travis Nagle, Stem
#7 Create Challenges and Curve Balls
It may not sound like a perk, but it really is, because we have a competitive team that likes to participate in these kinds of things. Some challenges are work-related while others are fun or for fitness. Then, we like to throw curve balls like those pop quizzes from school, except we throw a problem out there with a short deadline to solve. It’s fun and the team loves it. – Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy
#8 Team Retreats
Company retreats are a great way to facilitate team bonding, especially if your team is remote. Setting aside time each year to meet up in person is a great way to keep your team happy and fulfilled in their work. Retreats allow employees to connect with one another on a personal level, get a clearer idea of the direction the company is going in and gain a sense of ownership. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com
#9 Market-Matched Salaries
I do my research and find out what people in my industry are paying, and I adjust my team’s salaries accordingly. Without my team, I would not be where I am today, so I want them to know they are appreciated. It is not worth losing long-time employees over some extra money in my account. I would rather they have it and be happy here. – Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co
#10 Pet-Friendly Office
Allowing pets in the workplace costs employers virtually nothing, and so many people take the ability to bring their furry friends to work every day very seriously. My sister, for example, accepted a job at Wag! HQ over a higher paying position because Wag!’s culture was so dog and dog owner-friendly. Plus, it’s also an equally fantastic perk for non-dog-owning dog lovers like me! – Andrew Pietra, Qorum Inc.
#11 401(k) Plan
A tax-advantaged way to save for retirement is a valuable perk that transcends personal preferences and demographics, since it’s essentially a form of indirect financial compensation. It’s the second most requested benefit after health insurance and shows a strong sense of thoughtfulness and fiscal responsibility in a way that a one-time bonus or ping pong table does not. – Roger Lee, Captain401
#12 Traditional Benefits
You would be hard-pressed to find an employee who cares more about a kegerator than health insurance. Traditional benefits like health insurance and matching retirement contributions may not be especially glamorous, but they’re direct evidence that you care about your team. When your employees know you value and respect them, any additional perk will be icing on the proverbial cake. – Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty
#13 Work-From-Home Option
We offer the option for our team members to work from home four days a week. This has helped us to keep attrition rate low. Working from home really cuts down employees’ costs in time and material, and if they have children, they don’t have to hire a babysitter. Because of this, we have employees who have been working for us over five years. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
#14 100% Remote Team
In survey after survey, the No. 1 factor that causes employee burnout is when work interferes with personal life. Every well-read marketer has encountered endless content about passive income and the dream of working from a beach or mountaintop. To retain top-tier talent, we offer the same lifestyle that staff would likely pursue solo, just made better by the systems and resources of the agency. – Corey Northcutt, Northcutt Inbound Marketing
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.