5 uncommon perks that attract talent

Here are five uncommon job benefits that improve satisfaction levels and attract new talent.

In the 1980s, Canadian rock 'n' roll group Loverboy claimed that "everybody's working for the weekend," and for many employees, that sentiment is still true. Though that rollicking classic may have been a hit song, the underlying message isn't a happy one.

Low job satisfaction equals low engagement at work, often resulting in high turnover rates. Today, many companies understand that their employees want to feel happy and satisfied at work, and not just at 5 p.m. on Friday. This understanding has led to many innovations in the benefits area.

Here are five uncommon job benefits that improve satisfaction levels and attract new talent:

1. Drinks with the boss

For many employees, time with the boss is often limited to company meetings and brief interactions in the halls. Employees may feel disconnected from upper management, which can lead to uncertainty about the future and lower job satisfaction.

A Gallup poll found that managers account for roughly 70 percent of variance in employee job engagement and engagement scores. In other words, companies with high employee turnover rates may need to look at the relationships managers form with their departments.

"I believe getting to know your team members and who they are goes a long way in their success and happiness with an organization," says Laura Snyder, Senior Business Development Manager for Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Cleveland. "We, as leaders, need to be approachable and take the time to know what motivates our team not only during work hours but in their personal life as well. Setting aside a dedicated time to do this shows them it is a priority for us and they are a priority to the company."

Offering after-work drinks can be a fun way to build camaraderie among team members and between employees and managers. These low-key events provide an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other on a more personal, down-to-earth level.

2. Flexible working hours

Here's a news flash: Employees aren't in love with the 9-to-5 grind. That's why companies like Netflix don't have official working hours, according to Fast Company. Instead, the human resources department works with salaried employees to ensure projects are finished on time and no departments are left understaffed for long periods.

Not every company can afford to be quite so liberal in its scheduling. However, offering flexible start and end times, as well as work-from-home opportunities, can be a great way to help employees lead fulfilling lives. These kinds of incentives shouldn't be ignored.

"The workplace has changed so much, and it's difficult to maintain a work-life balance with the constant contact of technology," explains Ms. Snyder. "While it is not always possible to allow complete flexibility in working hours, I think it is important to work with employees to determine a work-life balance that works for them and the role they are in. I've seen it over and over again with both internal employees and consultants, if you work with them on their individual situation the response is, many times, of tremendous appreciation and a higher level of commitment."

Many parents value work/life balance above salary.

3. Wellness programs

Investing in employee health benefits workers and employers alike. By offering access to resources in the office and at home, employees can take control of their personal health and lead more satisfying lives. In return, the company benefits from a healthier, happier workforce. After all, employees who are focused on their health will likely take fewer sick days and will have more energy to be productive at the office.

Managers can also leverage wellness programs to encourage productivity. For example, some programs have built-in incentives, such as paid time off for completing various health-related tasks, such as going to the gym or attending a yearly physical.

4. Continuing education

Often, the best way to have a skilled workforce is to train it yourself. That's exactly what companies like Starbucks do with their investments in continuing education for employees. Partnering with Arizona State University, Starbucks allows qualified employees to complete 10 freshmen-level courses tuition-free.

By investing in skill building, companies benefit from a more educated workforce that can better compete with other organizations in the marketplace.

5. Office pets

Sometimes, all it takes to cheer up a work environment is the wag of a fluffy tail. Many companies allow employees to bring their pets to work, either on a regular basis or on special days. Having a "Bring Your Dog to Work Day" during crunch time could even ease anxiety around the office. A poll found that 55 percent of people feel more relaxed after spending time with a dog, and 44 percent are more optimistic about the future.

Ready to jump-start your talent search? Contact the expert recruiters at Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

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