11 out-of-the-box employee benefits that people love

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Employee benefits can’t always go by the rule book. It has to have a wider appeal like an ad-campaign.

More digitisation, multiple generations at work, talent dynamics and newer ways of working have transformed the modern workplace to be more employee focussed than ever. That said, companies are now even more focussed on the benefits and perks they offer to keep their workforce happy and engaged.

In an endeavour to retain talent, companies have been on their toes to offer new and innovative incentives. However, in their efforts to outpace each other, many once-hot perquisites have become passé. Still, every now and then one does come along that manages to delight people—because of its ingenuity, uniqueness or life-changing potential. To that end, Glassdoor identified 20 companies offering benefits that really appeal to people. Here are some of the interesting ones, in no particular order:

IKEA: Ikea offers up to four months of paid parental leave to both part-time and full-time employees, who have at least a year’s experience at the company, regardless of whether they work at a retail store or the corporate headquarters.

Although the paid parental leave isn’t anything beyond basics, what’s unique is the fact that it is as much applicable to part-time employees as to the full-time employees, which is rare.

Reebok: Reebok encourages employees to reach their personal fitness goals by providing an on-site gym with CrossFit classes.

Though having a gym in office isn’t a thing to boast about, CrossFit classes are a luxe perk that employees get to enjoy. It also helps align people with the company’s core business—fitness.

Bain & Company: The Best Place to Work in 2017, it holds an annual two-day, global Bain World Cup  soccer tournament open to all employees. Last year’s event was in Brussels. The 2017 tournament will be held in Los Angeles.

While this perk breaks the shackles of ‘all work, no play’, it also lets people play, travel and unwind from the routine schedules. The only downside with this perk is that not everyone might be interested in the sport.

Goldman Sachs: Goldman offers coverage for gender reassignment surgery, a benefit the company has offered since 2008.

This is the rarest benefit ever! Encouraging diversity and inclusion, this benefit truly has strong reasons for making it to the list.

Facebook: It provides healthcare coverage and free housing for interns. Known for its competitive benefits package, many Facebook interns report earning more than $7,000 per month.

Here’s an organisation that pampers its future talent – the interns – as much as its employees.

Scripps Health: It cares about the wellbeing of its employees’ furry family members, offering pet health insurance for cats and dogs.

Extending employee benefits to pets — now that’s really thoughtful! A company that not only takes care of its people but also their planet and its ecosystem in one way possible.

Starbucks: It provides full tuition reimbursement for its employees, covering an online bachelor’s degree programme through Arizona State University.

That’s a great way of helping people grow and learn, and support their journey up. Interestingly, the benefit is available to their baristas as well–not just corporate employees.

American Express: Its parental leave policy offers up to five months of fully-paid leave for both mothers and fathers. Birthing mothers generally receive an additional six to eight weeks under salary continuation for medical leave. Parents are also given access to a 24-hour lactation consultant, and mothers travelling for business can ship their breast milk home for free. 

Again, it’s not about the parental policy but about the fact that it is equally applicable to both parents. In addition, the arrangement for shipping breast milk home is a very caring gesture, which should ideally be common, but is sadly rare.

Deloitte: Deloitte offers two sabbatical programmes: an unpaid one-month sabbatical that can be taken for any reason, and a three- to six-month sabbatical that can be availed to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities with 40 per cent pay.

The flexibility of such a sabbatical allows one to chase one’s dreams. Add to it a partial financial support, and it makes for a lucrative and smart benefit as people might return more enlightened.

Microsoft: It offers an annual $800 ‘StayFit’ reimbursement programme to help cover the cost of gym memberships and fitness programmes.

Yet another fitness-focussed perk, this one comes with a strong financial backing, ensuring the best for the employees. In addition, it also offers flexibility to people to choose from various fitness programmes as per their need and preference.

Amazon: It offers two programmes for new parents: Leave Share, allows employees to share paid leave with their partner if the partner’s company does not offer paid leave. Ramp Back, gives new moms more control over easing back into work. All perks are available for corporate, customer-service and fulfilment-centre employees.

The idea of leave sharing is really unique and even the ramp back is a great way to get women to smoothly tune back in.

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