POST WRITTEN BY: Forbes Coaches Council
Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.
Company perks and benefits can make all the difference for employees, especially creative or particularly valuable ones. The opportunity to continue education, do volunteer work, get local discounts or even participate in a forum to share personal interests is a powerful draw. It helps your company's community and creates a broader sense of who's sitting around you, or in other departments, rather than just a half-remembered name and a face.
The right personal development approaches can broaden skills as well as break people out of mental ruts. All of these things mean more engaged staff with broader skills and higher abilities to cope with day-to-day stress.
So what works? Below members of Forbes Coaches Council talk about 15 perks they favor, as well as why they're a boon to all involved.
1. Offer Student Loan Repayment Help
This is always a great perk to give, especially to deeply indebted millennials. It helps to create loyalty and show that the company cares and desires to retain, not just attract, top employees who are saddled with college or grad school debt. It does wonders for morale and company culture. - Yuri Kruman, Master The Talk Consulting
2. Provide Time For Staff To Bring In Outside Interests
We all want to belong at work. Give employees the time to bring outside interests inside. Remind employees of their value by supporting and celebrating life outside of work. Help employees find similarities by creatively sharing non-work-related interests. Creative outlets like open mic night or new parent support groups help engage your team more creatively. - Meredith Moore Crosby, Leverette Weekes
3. Encourage Learning A Foreign Language
A number of studies on the effects of learning and speaking languages have found that speaking more than one language provides constant exercise for the brain, which can improve decision-making, memory, focus and dealing with distractions. It can also open up the company to be more accepting of the cultures and traditions of others. - Maria Pastore, Maria Pastore Coaching
4. Create The Position Of Chief Creative Officer
A creative perk that companies could offer is to name a "CCO," or Chief Creative Officer, for one week per quarter. This person would be tasked with identifying creative ways to help employees live the company's values. The added benefit to the employee is they would garner new leadership skills. Further, it would strengthen the culture and reaffirm everyone's commitment to the company's core values. - Sidney Evans, Brand Vision Global
5. Organize Game Events
Whether they're inside or outside, establishing organized games will allow employees to earn awesome prizes, and at the same time promote team building and fun. Employees are able to vote on games such as puzzles, ping pong, dodgeball or even fitness challenges. Companies will see a significant increase in work production by allowing employees to get a lot done while having fun. - Niya Allen-Vatel, Resume Newbie
6. Set Aside An Hour A Week For Team Fun
If you want to improve culture, you need to improve the work environment and interactions between employees at all levels. Set aside an hour each week for employees to interact in a fun, casual way. Games, storytelling, and sharing outside interests all build the relationships that are the foundation of culture. - Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC
7. Let Significant Others Join In On Travel
A creative perk is to allow significant others to join on trips, especially for those who travel constantly (usually at more senior levels). If an employee travels a lot, their relationship might be suffering at home. This stress affects productivity. Allowing spouses or partners to travel creates a culture of respect and concern for the well-being of your top producers, with direct benefits to your bottom line. - Susan Taylor, Generon International
8. Offer Days For Staff To Do Volunteer Work
Some employers give workers the option to volunteer a certain number of hours per month during company time. This can be an excellent way to encourage employees to get out and do something positive in the community. It can also be very positive for the company culture, as employees feel valued and are given freedom to explore outside pursuits. - Angela Copeland, Copeland Coaching
9. Set Up Discounts For Employees
Everyone loves a discount. A friend of mine was thrilled to get a nice discount on a new phone because she works for the local hospital. Another friend got a percentage off of her gym membership, and yet another one was offered the company's timeshare for a week. If your company can offer a discount for something, especially something out of the ordinary, your employees will thank you for it. - Erin Kennedy, Professional Resume Services, Inc.
10. Make Desks Movable To Create An Adaptable Culture
One of my clients has desks on wheels for all employees. Each person is able to roll the desk to wherever they need to be, sometimes talking and brainstorming in a large circle as a team. While working on an individual project, they may roll their desk to look out a large window that overlooks a beautiful scene. These desks can be standing or sitting depending on what a task entails. Adapt! - Shawn Kent Hayashi, The Professional Development Group LLC
11. Host An Internal TED Talk Series
Culture is about building trust and getting to know your peers' unique skills and interests. Host a TED Talk series, where employees can share their creative passion projects. Team members have an opportunity to share ideas that they believe in and inspire others to take action. You'll be surprised by the hidden talents of your colleagues! - Leanne Wong, MC Partners
12. Trust Your Employees To Be Responsible
Freedom is the ultimate perk. If an employer trusts its workers to do their jobs well, they should be allowed to work from home, enjoy long lunches, and structure their workday. Some offices even supply liquor for employee enjoyment. Trust begets responsibility, and if the employee can't handle the freedom of any perk, they'll self-select out of the culture. - Kelly Meerbott, You: Loud & Clear
13. Encourage Workplace Meditation
Offering a meditation space and guided meditation at lunchtime or mid-afternoon will help employees get into the habit of meditation, encourage interaction with others, increase the mindfulness of those involved, and even settle the cultural stress level. The health benefits of meditation will reward the employee and the company on multiple levels, too! - Deborah Goldstein, DRIVEN Professionals
14. Customize Professional Development
Every employee, regardless of generation, skill-set or tenure, benefits from targeted professional development. For those getting ready to retire, it could be planning for that "second career" with a coach, while for high-potential millennials, it could be leadership-development training. By tailoring the support you give to your people, you drive their growth, talent succession and company performance. - Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC
15. Start A Book Club
We recently started a book club in our organization based on topics of interest to team members. This used to be popular years ago, so one might think it is outdated. However, it has been embraced and is bringing new energy, enhancing relationships and organizational commitment. Right now the topic is leadership and entrepreneurship. We'll see what it is next month; that's what makes it fun. - Michelle Braden, MSBCoach, LLC