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23 employee perks to empower your team

Keep your employees happy by offering perks that support their productivity, health, and emotional well-being. Learn the best perks for employees in this guide.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated April 26, 2024

We’ve all had that one boss who hypes up the whole team for a surprise only to reveal…a branded pencil. Maybe not that exactly, but everyone’s been let down once or twice by someone’s misguided attempt to show appreciation. If you struggle to identify perks that keep employees engaged with their roles, you’re not alone.

There are many employee perks to consider, and they all support employees. These factors can improve company loyalty, your employee experience, and even your customer experience (CX). Below, we share 23 different perk ideas, how they can help your company, and how to choose the right ones.

More in this guide:

What are employee perks?

Employee perks are non-salary-related incentives that help companies attract new employees and retain their current ones. These perks aim to fulfill your employees’ “wants” rather than “needs” like employee benefits do. For example, health insurance is an employee benefit, while pet insurance is more of a perk.

Perks are one of the greatest weapons companies can use to attract new talent, with over 80 percent of employees stating they’d take a pay cut for highly desired perks. Since 2022, employees have reported declining mental, financial, physical, and holistic health. Perks that support these areas can vastly improve the employee experience (EX) and help retain your workforce.

23 best employee perk ideas

We took some of the hard work out of brainstorming the best employee perk ideas for your company. Below, we list 23 ideas that support employees’ financial, physical, emotional, holistic, and social well-being.

An illustration of a woman reaching for an apple accompanies a list of financial perks.

1. Work-from-home gear

Working from home gives employees much more flexibility with their time, but it becomes costly if they don’t have the right tools or equipment. Stock up your employees’ home offices with the necessary equipment to succeed, such as a work computer. Extra accessories like an ergonomic mouse pad or supportive seat cushions are always appreciated, too.

2. Student loan assistance

Student loans can be a major source of financial stress. Covering a portion of employees’ loan payments is a great incentive to alleviate financial stress and make a positive difference in your employees’ lives. Employers can make payments directly to lenders or offer bonuses to help cover student loan payments.

3. Stock and equity

Stock and equity options allow employees to purchase stock from their company at a slightly below-market rate. Typically, employees must wait for the stock to vest before they can sell it, which can reduce employee turnover.

4. Travel perks

Traveling creates lifelong memories, but it can be expensive. Travel perks like flight discounts and hotel stays help employees make the most of their PTO and see the world

5. Discounted insurance

It’s common for employees to receive health insurance through their employers. However, employees will pay for other types of insurance on their own, such as car, home, and renter’s insurance.

Offering discounted rates through a perks marketplace or reimbursing part of employees’ monthly insurance bills helps them protect their assets and families, improving employee satisfaction in your workplace.

6. Free lunch

A nutritious mid-day meal is essential for avoiding an afternoon slump, but employees might not have the time to prepare one every day. Free lunch takes one more worry off your employees’ plates and supports their overall health. In-person offices may have catered lunches, but remote companies can also offer meal delivery stipends or gift cards.

7. Pet insurance

Health insurance covers employees’ family members—just not the ones with fur. Almost half of pet owners have a pet with a serious medical issue or have taken a pet to the emergency vet. Pet insurance, like human health insurance, helps cover these costs, keeping pets healthy and their owners happy.

8. Entertainment subscriptions

Everything is subscription-based these days. Paying for video or music streaming subscriptions lets your employees unwind at the end of the day with their favorite content. This reduces employees’ financial stress while encouraging them to take time off after work.

9. Cell phone reimbursement

While some states like California require businesses to reimburse employees for business-related cell phone usage, this protection isn’t guaranteed at the federal level. However, for employees, cell phone reimbursement can significantly impact their finances.

For example, if employees use their cell phones to provide live chat support, it makes sense to offer this perk. Whether you offer a lump sum for a phone upgrade or pay part of their monthly bill, this is another way to show some appreciation to your employees.

10. Profit sharing

Profit sharing is a motivating perk because it encourages investment in the company’s success. Similar to receiving sales commission, employees in a profit-sharing model split a percentage of a company’s overall profits. This can boost productivity and company loyalty because employees have more skin in the game.

An illustration of two people relaxing accompanies a list of physical and mental health perks.

11. Mindfulness sessions and apps

Regular mindfulness sessions teach employees the skills to reduce stress. Try to schedule group meditation sessions or provide a subscription to mindfulness apps. Whether these happen on video meetings or as in-person events, your employees will benefit from the opportunity to check in and decompress.

12. Volunteering time off

According to Independent Sector, nearly 70 percent of people who volunteer wish they could do it more, and one-fourth of them view volunteering as a form of self-care. Employer-sponsored volunteer days support local communities and give employees a chance to make a difference.

13. Free day care

Support working parents and provide free day care so your employees don’t need to stress about finding child care. Whether you’re able to provide in-office day care or a stipend, this perk shows that your company values employees’ families and their well-being.

See what a better employee experience can do for you

Discover the latest trends in EX to inform your employee experience strategy.

14. Unlimited PTO

Unlimited PTO is a rising trend as an employee perk. Glassdoor reports that “unlimited PTO” appears on job listings 75 percent more than before 2020. While unlimited PTO isn’t truly unlimited, it generally allows employees to take as much time as they want off—as long as they don’t fall behind in work.

15. Fitness stipend

It’s important to stay active, so a fitness stipend makes it easier for employees to prioritize their physical health outside of work. They can spend this perk on a gym membership, at-home equipment, or walking shoes.

16. Summer Fridays

In warmer months when the sun’s shining, everyone wants more time to enjoy it. End the workday early on Fridays in the summer so employees can soak up the sun and spend more time with their friends and family.

An illustration of someone floating on a tube neighbors a list of social connection perk ideas.

17. Coffee stipend

It isn’t just in-person workers who want free coffee throughout the workday. Employees who work from home also value perks like a free coffee now and then. Send gift cards or create a reimbursement program for coffee so employees can enjoy their favorite caffeinated drinks during the workday. Encourage employees to make this a social outing and get coffee with coworkers in their city to help build meaningful team connections.

18. Work-related travel

Employer-sponsored travel to different offices and regions helps employees connect with peers they wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to meet. This helps employees forge connections with coworkers and see new places. Travel can also lead to more effective communication when teams in different regions need to collaborate, making this perk beneficial to both employees and the company.

19. Social meetups

Work is better with a friend. In a study by the Society for Human Resources Management, 76 percent of employees say that having a close work friend makes them more likely to stay at their job. Social meetups like happy hours, dinners, sports games, or other group activities help employees bond, improving their satisfaction and work relationships.

20. Clubs

Clubs are a simple way to create camaraderie between employees and keep people engaged at work. Survey employees about their interests to see which clubs make the most sense. Some popular options include a book club, board games club, or crafting club.

Three icons represent a list of professional perks.

21. Conferences

Looking for a perk that you can turn into a social and professional development opportunity? At conferences, employees can meet industry leaders, network, and learn the latest industry trends. Covering the cost for employees is a perk that encourages them to take advantage of this valuable experience.

22. Free training

With so many sectors changing rapidly, it makes sense to invest in skill development. A company benefits from having highly skilled employees, and employees will benefit from the professional development opportunities it provides. Whether you sponsor HR certificate courses or send the team to sales training, free training encourages employees to grow in their current roles and set goals for the future.

23. Company retreats

Company retreats are like team trips where the team goes away for a day or two, mostly for team bonding and personal development. Plan team-building activities, lunches, and free time for employees to mingle. Some company retreats have specific goals, such as reducing employee stress or encouraging teamwork.

Benefits of job perks

Four icons represent the top reasons to offer job perks.

Employee perks provide benefits to both your workforce and your company. Beyond improving your employees’ health, here’s how adding employee perks can make your business more successful.

Increase employee productivity

Employee burnout is a serious issue and can affect your top performers. Burnout can result in higher stress levels, apathy in the workplace, and even physical ailments like sleep deprivation and illness.

One of the best protective factors against burnout is creating a better work-life balance. Choose perks that give employees more free time, like summer Fridays, and encourage relaxation through travel perks to help boost employee productivity.

Improve employee retention

According to the Zendesk Employee Experience Trends Report 2024, 36 percent of EX professionals say that investment in employee wellness is a protective factor against turnover. Job perks are an effective form of employee experience management. Implementing these perks keeps your top talent working for your company.

Strengthen company culture

Employees feel a sense of loyalty when a company values their well-being outside of work. Financial perks that alleviate stress and mental health benefits make positive differences in the everyday lives of employees. This sense of care creates a positive company culture.

Magnify talent attraction

Employee perks help your company stand out to prospective hires. It’s a no-brainer that a position with a horrible work-life balance isn’t as attractive as a position with perks that will improve your quality of life.

How to choose the right perks for employees

An illustration of a jogger accompanies a list of the main factors to consider when choosing employee perks.

It’s worth investing in perks for your employees, but you’ll want to do it right so your company doesn’t waste resources on perks no one uses. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Budget: Don’t overcommit to perks you can’t afford. No one appreciates a perk they’re used to being taken away.
  • Outcome: Consider which perks will have the most positive impact on employees’ lives and productivity.
  • Company culture: Work within the established work culture while making small improvements when necessary. If all your hybrid employees work remotely more often, then in-office snacks aren’t as valuable.
  • Employee desires: What do your employees want? Get their input or use employee experience journey mapping to determine what might increase engagement.
  • Education: Leverage internal knowledge base software like Zendesk to make it easy for employees to learn about their options and contact HR with further questions.
  • Productivity: Focus on perks that free up employees’ time and calm their anxieties to support better focus at work.

If you’re not already measuring employee performance, pull some baseline data to see if perks are having an impact. Along with standard productivity metrics, survey employees about their well-being so you can measure how employee perks enhance their employee experience.

Frequently asked questions

Educate your employees about perks with help desk software

Simplify your perks rollout for a more engaged workforce. HR help desk software enables internal knowledge bases and connects employees with HR easily so they can get their top questions about perks answered. Enroll your team in the employee perks needed for a loyal and engaged workforce.

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