Holiday Hams And Other Outdated, Not So Special Employee Perks

2 min read
Nov 27, 2014

4873400550_c1fa7f5172_mHave you ever opened up a company’s Careers page, only to see that the benefits they think are awesome are, well, lackluster? It happens. What once seemed like trailblazing ideas are now outdated employee perks. Let’s look at a few, and see how we can make them awesome again:

Paid maternity leave: The base level of maternity leave required by US law is 3-months of unpaid leave. So some companies are out there touting 1 month of paid leave. It’s a little something extra, but it doesn’t wow us. When you consider how many hours Americans spend at work, and the huge cost of daycare, this limited paid (or unpaid) time off isn’t much to talk about.

  • How to make this a real perk: Let’s go back to that idea of daycare. Imagine the peace of mind you could offer if daycare, or even subsidized daycare, were part of your benefits package. Your employees wouldn’t have to decide between going back to work or staying home. And you wouldn’t have to worry about your employee quitting to take care of the kiddos.

401k: I’m referring to the kind where the company doesn’t offer a corporate match. Between traditional IRA’s and Roth IRA’s, there are plenty of ways for individuals to invest in their retirement. Offering your employees yet another way to save isn’t really going above and beyond for them.

  • How to make this a real perk: Okay, ideally, you can match a small percentage of your employees’ retirement savings. But if that’s not feasible, how about helping them be more educated about investments? Offer classes or sessions to let employees understand what investment options are out there, and which ones best fit their life stage and risk profile. Education is always a benefit!

Health Insurance: You’re surprised this made the list, right? Well, health insurance has become the cost of doing business...if you want skilled employees that is. And with the advent of state-run and national healthcare exchanges, healthcare is becoming easier to come by. Yes, it’s an expensive benefit for employers. But it is an expectation.

  • How to make this a real perk: Take a look at your health insurance plan and see if it really makes sense for your employee base? Do you have an older population but only offer high co-pay, high deductible plans? Or maybe you have a younger workforce and only offer expensive, low co-pay, low deductible plans. Tailor your plan to your workforce. Don’t just assume one health plan will cut it.

Holiday Ham: Seriously, companies are still doing this. In an era of food restrictions and food allergies, this one size fits all “gift” isn’t really something all of your employees will look forward to. It might just be that holiday gift you just can’t wait to re-gift.

  • How to make this a real perk: Rather than picking a food item that only some individuals will enjoy, how about helping everyone really get into the holiday spirit? Pick a local non-profit that could really benefit from an army of volunteers. The organization will really appreciate it, and your employees will end the day feeling grateful about being able to give back.

Employee perks exist to set you apart from the competition. Make sure that you’re providing the right ones. Otherwise, you’ll look outdated, and you might just lose that desired candidate to a company that’s more in touch with benefit norms.  


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