How to perk up your employees' lives

Published November 25th, 2015 - 12:18 GMT

Today’s professionals want more. They expect their employers to invest in their growth and development and are hungry for skills acquisition and training. According to the Employee Motivation Survey, January 2013, ‘training and development’ (45%) and ‘career advancement opportunities’ (42%) are considered to be second and third most important drivers of motivation at work by professionals in the Middle East region, right after ‘recognition of my work and achievements’ (47%).

Traditional perks include the various items in the offered salary and benefits package, including health coverage, retirement, and perhaps life insurance. While these should be competitive within your industry, simply offering a larger salary may not be the most effective way to attract and retain top talent.

Non-traditional perks work on a simple rationale: keep your employees happy and able to maintain a comfortable work-life balance. After all, a good work-life balance was identified as top motivating factor by the Middle East’s professionals in the Employee Motivation Survey. Employees who are feeling their best and can keep their homes running smoothly are more likely to be in top form when they arrive at work each day – making them more productive, more motivated, and more likely to stay with your organization for the long-term.

Here are some non-traditional perks you may consider offering:
Wellness programs. Wellness programs go beyond traditional health insurance to offer free or discounted gym memberships, nutrition counseling, massages, anti-smoking programs, and other programs to improve health and wellbeing.

Flexible schedules. Top candidates are often motivated self-starters who can handle the responsibility of setting their own schedules and choosing when and how to work. Flexible hours, telecommuting, and work-from-home options can all play a role.

Time-saving services. Employees can better focus on work when they know they can save time on tasks like child care, car washes, concierge services, hair styling, on-site medical clinics, or housecleaning.

Entertainment. Help top employees balance stress by offering holiday parties, retreats, or other perks like movie, sports, and concert tickets. A well-appointed break room can also help relieve stress at work and give top talent a place to do their best creative thinking.

Creating Play Time. While this may seem counter-productive at first glance, it’s actually a perk that goes a long way towards increasing employee productivity. In a high stress job, employees need a chance to get away for a few minutes and do something else to get their minds back on their task. Setting up a Wii area or even an on-site gym gives employees a great place for planned distractions.

Performance-based compensation. Be sure to align the potential hire’s future benefits with the success of the company. Performance-based compensation is one of the best ways to get top talent at a low base. If they add value for the company, set it up that they are rewarded for that value.

Extended vacations. Offering four or six weeks of paid vacation can really make your job offer stand out. Great employees will always be responsible and fulfill their job obligations and duties before going away on holiday, so the work will get done, and you can hire people you might otherwise not be able to recruit.

Quality work-life balance. The employers that are going to be most successful moving forward are the ones that understand the importance of lifestyle balance. Whether it’s the ability to work from home or more vacation time, the new generation appreciates – and even demands – a lifestyle balance much more so than the older generations. According to the ‘Millennials in the Middle East and North Africa’ survey, February 2014, a good work-life balance was chosen by 60% of Gen Y (or “Millennials”) in the Middle East and North Africa region as the most important factor that encourage employee loyalty.

If you want to be competitive in today’s job market then you have to be able to attract the best talents. There are many different ways that you can accomplish this, such as offering higher salaries and a great benefit package, but there are also non-traditional perks that you may want to consider. Most of these perks are actually low cost and will provide your employees with benefits that they won’t find anywhere else — and that is the key to attracting and retaining today’s top talent.

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