Think Outside the Benefits Box to Wow Your Workforce

Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

Medical, dental and vision insurance, retirement contributions, paid vacation and sick leave—it all adds up to a decent benefits package, but it’s what every other employer offers. So when a company wants to stand out, what do they do? Well, some offer scooters for employees to ride through the halls on, some make flag football an item on meeting agendas and some even offer Botox injections at work. While these benefits may seem over the top, they work.  

Benefits like these can help to create a sense of loyalty between an employee and their company, increase productivity because employees are more motivated to work hard and can also make employees feel as though they are valued. In fact, the majority of companies on the Best Places to Work list offer extravagant or unique perks. Employers on that list experience turnover that is two to four times less than their industry average. Big benefits impact employee morale, which is a major consideration for making the list and retaining employees.

Read below to find out about three of the most out-of-the-box perks being offered by companies and ideas for implementing them on a smaller scale.

On-site Sand Volleyball Courts

NetApp, a data storage provider, takes employee fitness to a whole new level. Not only does the company’s headquarters house a massive $4 million fitness center, but it also has sand volleyball courts outside for employee use. If the weather doesn’t allow for sand volleyball, the employees still have plenty of indoor options to choose from, including billiards, ping pong, a basketball league and more than 30 group exercise classes every week.

Ok, so you don’t have $4 million in your budget for a fitness center. Not to worry. No matter how large or small your company, you can still reap the benefits of healthy, energized employees. Implement the following instead:

  • Convert extra space into a gym area by purchasing a few pieces of equipment, such as a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike and mounting a TV on the wall.
  • Offer employees extended lunch periods to attend exercise classes or visit the gym.
  • Offer free or discounted gym memberships by partnering with a local gym.
  • Bring in a yoga or Zumba instructor and offer a free weekly or monthly class to employees.

Life Coaches at Work

Zappos, a leading online retailer, hired and trained a full-time life coach to assist employees with everything from reaching their goals to balancing work and life. Zappos put their money where their mouth was when they did this, proving that they care about their employees and want them to be happy and productive.

If a full-time life coach is a bit much for your company, try these ideas instead:

  • Set up mentor programs between employees.
  • Facilitate support groups, such as one for new moms.
  • Offer a time for employees to come speak with someone in your HR department about their career or education goals and how they can achieve them.

Panning for Gold, a domain registrar and web hosting company, takes employees on off-site outings every month. These activities take place during work hours and are paid for by the company. Morale boosting activities have included panning for gold, whitewater rafting and trapeze classes.

Activities like these can be expensive but they do wonders for employee morale. Consider one of the following low-cost morale boosters:

  • Set aside a day for your employees to volunteer as a group. A local food bank or Habitat for Humanity are great places to start.
  • Hold activities on site, such as employee olympics, a board game tournament or an afternoon luau.
  • Offer a special evening of activities for employees once a month, such as a girls' night out or a football watching party for the sports fans. These can be held at your office and don’t have to be wild. It can be as simple as offering karaoke and snacks.

If you could offer any benefit at your company, what would it be? Tell us below in the comments section.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs. 


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  1. 3 Michele 08 Apr

    I think this is a great way to get people excited about workplace benefits.

  2. 2 Michele 08 Apr

    I think this is a great way to get people excited about workplace benefits.

  3. 1 Michele 08 Apr

    I think this is a great way to get people excited about workplace benefits.


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