Knowing how to build a strong and supportive team is imperative to the workplace environment. A simple, yet effective way to do this is by creating fringe benefits which are incentives that bring together the advantages of attracting talent, employee retention, and boosting company morale.
The effectiveness and advantages in offering fringe benefits is beneficial for all. A long standing tradition within a company that offers these benefits calls to the ethics and message a company holds. To offer something valuable to a workforce beyond wages and salary is a long term reality of business that should not be neglected.
Let’s explore how low-to-no-cost fringe benefits can help employee morale and overall retention.
Like those fancy decorations hanging from a suede jacket that give it pizazz, fringe benefits are those special extras that supplement an employee’s salary and give it an extra WOW! The most common fringe benefits are health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, and other very conventional, yet important, financial incentives. These are crucial to employees and are lucrative additions to any benefit package; however, as companies navigate through these new normals, employees want more. More importantly, they need more.
So, what are some examples of additional fringe benefits that employers can explore? We’ve put together a list of our 10 favorites.
1. Flexible Schedules
A flexible schedule allows employees to work during the times that best complement their personal schedules, while still getting the work done. The benefit not only alleviates an employee’s stress but flexible schedules provide an opportunity for management to show their trust in their employees, allowing them to work outside the conventional nine to five grind.
2. Flexible Days Off
Rather than implementing or increasing existing bonus programs, employers could reward high performance with additional paid time off. Paid time off shows appreciation for an employee’s hard work, while it also is not being a huge expense to the company. With employees returning to work in the office, they may feel as though they do not have the time they need to have a good work-life balance. A flexible day off benefit supports that need for balance.
3. Summer/Slow Season Hours
Everyone loves the weekend so consider allowing employees to leave an hour or two early on Fridays in the summer, or maybe during the company’s slow season, to allow them to have a longer weekend. Alternatively, employers could potentially allow employees to work 10-hour days Monday-Thursday and close on Fridays. This would be a great option to help achieve the work-life balance that is so important, now more than ever.
4. Casual Dress Codes
Employees working from home became so used to wearing comfortable clothing day-in-and-day -out that the transition back into formal attire every day can be stressful. While not all industries support this every day, even instating a once-a-week casual dress day can boost morale with zero effect to the company’s bottom line.
5. Paid Volunteer Time
Volunteerism is an increasingly common interest and passion among the workforce. Consider offering one or two paid days 1-2 days per calendar year to allow employees to spend the day volunteering with organizations they’re involved and that stokes their passion. Alternatively, if there are existing charities or organizations the company currently sponsors or supports,employers can offer employees paid time off to work with those groups.
6. Wellness Benefits
Mental and physical health are so important to everyone right now and stress from work can affect both of these areas. A few suggestions for wellness benefits would be free memberships to a local gym or fitness center, hosting weekly yoga classes for employees at work, providing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as an additional benefit, or allowing an extra 15- minute break time in their scheduled work day so they can go outside and take a walk. Any and all of these would be well received by employees, as it shows that the company cares about their health and well-being.
7. Free Food
Who doesn’t love free food? Free food is the simplest benefit to offer and possibly the most popular. Consider stocking up the break room with coffee and tea, soft drinks, water, and snacks that are available every day to employees. Additionally, employers could order lunch in once a month for the staff, provide a small meal stipend per person, per week, or encourage supervisors/managers to take the department out for lunch periodically.
8. Mental Health Days
Sure, employees can use a vacation or sick day for what we consider a necessary mental health day, but wouldn’t it be nice to have specially dedicated days to improve and aid your mental health? Consider providing 2 mental health days per calendar year for employees to focus on themselves and not feel more stressed about tapping into vacation time.
9. Corporate Library
This is a newer idea we recently heard about and as a team who love’s to read, our company jumped in on this one. This idea focuses around building a library in the office where employees can contribute, swap, and discuss, different types of books . Having a corporate library can help cultivate learning and build new relationships among colleagues. The books can also help increase industry knowledge, and promote learning and sharing of ideas.
10. Employer-Sponsored Event
Everyone loves a night out so why not sponsor one for your team. This can be done in many ways whether it be a Happy Hour, attending a local sporting event, hosting a company picnic, or any other event that provides an opportunity for employees to socialize and get to know each other outside of the office. Planning all-expense paid fun events where the employee can bring their family can also help boost morale and help with work-life balance.
All of these fringe benefits are no or low cost to employers and are easy to implement. Developing fringe benefits specific to an organization’s culture can cultivate a new way of thinking and add an approach that more and more candidates are seeking when looking for new roles. Any and all of these benefits can make the company more competitive to the eye of an applicant, while simultaneously boosting the morale of existing employees!
Megan Keough, HR Advisor
Megan Keough is an HR Advisor at Workplace Harmony. She began her career in higher education where she assisted faculty and staff for over three years with various Human Resources needs. In early 2021, Megan joined the Workplace Harmony team as an HR Generalist. She provides support to clients in different capacities, helping rebuild and rebrand their HR departments, creating and implementing new process flows, and much more!
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I'm the founder and chief boss lady at Workplace Harmony. Welcome to New School HR!
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