Think your organization’s perks and benefits can’t compete with hotshots and big wigs like Google? Think again! With these six simple, yet awesome work extras added to your HR tool belt, you too can ramp up your company culture, knock your employees’ socks off, and have potential candidates flocking to your doors.
Let’s take a look at what Google offers their employees, why they do it, and how you can do it too.
What Google Does:
1. Offers free meals to employees.
2. Offers educational talks from experts, speakers, actors, and others.
3. Offers on-site wellness and healthcare services from physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists.
4. Offers on-site gyms and workout classes.
5. Gives back to the community.
6. Offers discounts to many local museums and events.
Why They Do It:
While they may offer each specific “extra” for different reasons, we believe they all combine to do a few things:
1. Help employees cut down on their personal costs.
2. Create a culture of fun and positivity.
4. Help employees facilitate a proper and healthy work/life balance.
5. Boost employee performance, which in turn boosts your profits.
6. Attract new employees.
How You Can Do It Too:
1. Keep breakfast items on hand to fuel your employee’s morning.
You don’t have to go all out to let your employees know you’ve got their backs. Mornings
can be such a hassle: eating breakfast, getting yourself ready, packing a lunch, getting kids ready (if you’re a parent), fighting traffic, and making it to work on time. By keeping a few breakfast items on hand—such as fresh fruit, protein bars, and maybe even a few hot sandwich options depending on your cafeteria capabilities—will help your employees’ mornings go that much easier. Plus, by providing nutritious breakfast items, you’ll fuel their brains for great work all day long.
2. Facilitate a mentorship program, and encourage professional development opportunities.
The more your employees know, the more they benefit your company. But if you’re not able to bring in the likes of Ryan Reynolds or Lady Gaga (neither are we), don’t worry. You have a wealth of knowledge and a diverse skillset among your employees. So, start a mentorship program! A well-designed mentoring program pairs the skillsets of a leader within your organization with the interests of someone less experienced. Through intentional meetings and thoughtful dialogue, both parties will grow!
Perhaps you want employees to learn from someone outside your organization. What then? We suggest sending employees to local conferences—or, depending on your budget, to national conferences—about once a year. Or, you can offer an education reimbursement so employees can complete a relevant certification or attend or audit relevant classes at a local college or university.
3. Facilitate lunch-and-learn sessions with wellness professionals, and spice up employee appreciation events.
You don’t have to be Google to offer on-site wellness and healthcare services. And while having massage therapists, physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists on-site at all times is an awesome perk, it’s not absolutely necessary. So, we suggest offering lunch-and-learn sessions where these professionals come to your workplace to share about what they do, and then stay for an hour or so to offer massages, adjustments, or the specific services they offer. This is beneficial for a couple reasons: 1) They are happy to do it for networking purposes and building their client base, which means sometimes they’ll do it for FREE, and 2) You provide relaxation and stress relief to your employees.
Another option is to do what we did one year for Employee Appreciation Day (but it also works for other appreciation events): bring in a massage therapist for the day and set up a chair massage station in a common area. Set out a sign-up sheet and have employees sign up for a 15- or 30-minute time slot.
4. Provide ways for your employees to get active at work!
It’s hard to be active at work when you sit at a desk all day every day. But, there are ways you can facilitate employee health and wellness (or create a good foundation for a company-wide employee wellness program) on a budget.
One option is to make a walking path around your building, whether indoors or outdoors (we’re looking at you, four-season friends!). If done outdoors, you can pave a sidewalk or section off a walking path around the perimeter of your parking lot. If done indoors, you can map out a course throughout your building. Then, encourage walking meetings or walking lunches.
If you believe on-site exercise or wellness classes would be a hit with your staff but need more budget-friendly options, consider hiring an instructor for a one-hour class once a week. For just one hour, most instructor rates are widely affordable. Or, as we mentioned in #3, consider inviting them for a lunch-and-learn. Then, in return, they may offer a free class to your employees.
5. Give back to the community.
According to the workforce today, working at an organization that gives back to their local community is important. And no, you don’t have to be in public service to be able to do it. Every business has the ability to offer opportunities to give back, such as:
A Group Outing – Choose a charity that reflects your values or lines up with what you do as an organization and donate your time as team. It’s a great way to facilitate team-building while benefitting a local cause and providing a sense of purpose to your employees.
Donating a Percentage of Profits – If you don’t already give to a charitable organization, consider giving a percentage of your profits this year! Our own Baudville’s Helping Hand gives to many local organizations, most recently to Ele’s Place to help them renovate their Grand Rapids facility and better help grieving kids in need.
A Donation Drive – This option costs you nothing, but shows you care about your community. The perfect option for tight budgets, it’s an easy volunteer initiative to coordinate. Choose an organization, ask what they need, and charge your employees with the task of collecting the items. Plus, you can make it fun with a competition! Award the employee who brings in the most items with a free pass to leave early on a Friday or maybe a fun gift.
6. Offer discounts to local museums and events.
This perk is wonderful for everyone, but is especially geared toward families, socialites, and community event lovers. It’s a great way to get your employees involved in your local community and experience what it has to offer. By providing a discount on tickets or season passes, you’ll help employees cut their costs and live an active and cultured lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
Anything is possible! Whether you work for a big organization or small, there are ways to tweak the extras of the hotshots and big wigs to work for you. We hope this article broke down some barriers, gave you some good ideas, and shows you that extra perks equal extra engagement.
Also, be sure to check out our Summer Employee Engagement Guide as we leave the dreary winter days behind and look forward to soaking up the summer!