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Gone are the days when companies could attract candidates by just offering a competitive salary. Today’s jobseeker is attracted to companies that boast a creative office space, superb health benefits, and perks that range from free lunch on Fridays to in-house massage therapy.

Although they may seem frivolous, benefits and perks like these are priorities for candidates today. According to a recent Glassdoor survey, 57 percent of respondents said that benefits and perks are one of their main considerations before accepting an offer, and 79 percent said they would prefer new benefits to a salary increase.

Better perks means happier employees, which means higher levels of job satisfaction and increased productivity. In fact, a recent study published in the Illinois Business Law Journal found that “policy aimed at improving workplace happiness not only has an impact on employees’ subjective feelings of well-being, but also improves worker productivity and by extension corporate profitability.”

Today’s most sought-out benefits can be broken down into the following five themes:

1. Focus on Families.

Many companies are beginning to realize how crucial it is to offer benefits that center on their employees’ families. Better healthcare options that include lower deductibles and more in-network doctors allow employees to feel confident that their families are covered if they need medical care. Netflix made news last year when it announced that it would give salaried employees up to 12 months of paid parental leave to take at their own discretion.

This is a huge benefit to offer, especially considering that the Family Medical Leave Act only stipulates that employers offer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity (not paternity) leave.

Other companies, such as Twitter, Google, Adobe, and Microsoft have also implemented family-oriented benefits like extended paid parental leave, day care reimbursement, and even a “baby cash” stipend for each child born or adopted.

2. Keep It Fun.

Who would have ever imagined that some of today’s employee benefits could include video games at work, free massages, and on-site yoga classes? The truth is these perks make employees feel like their company doesn’t just care about work, but about having fun too.This kind of perk is becoming more and more popular among companies, and the types of fun perks range widely: Twitter provides its employees three catered meals a day and also offers on-site acupuncture and improv classes; Walt Disney Company gives employees free admission to its parks; and Yahoo’s headquarters has an on-site gym, complete with basketball and sand volleyball courts.

3. Allow Flexibility.

Along with fun perks, companies are becoming more flexible and allowing employees more flexibility too. Work from home days, alternate schedules, and flex workweeks are more popular than ever. The 9-to-5-workday of yesterday is gone, and companies are realizing the value and the uptick in productivity that comes from offering their employees a better work-life balance.

This leads to less stressed and more engaged employees. Amazon recently launched a new pilot program that allows part-time employees working in certain technical teams to be eligible to receive the same benefits as Amazon’s full-time employees. The program is in response to competition from other tech companies offering increasingly generous flexible work schedules.

4. Boost Creativity.

Sitting in an empty room looking at a blank wall doesn’t do much to spark creativity. An employee benefit that has gained popularity, especially in creative industries such as advertising, web development, and design, is offering creative office space.

These cool workplaces—with beanbag chairs, foosball tables, and blackboard walls instead of the usual conference table—are meant to spark employees’ creativity. Some examples? How about a rock wall and Ferris wheel at Wisconsin-based insurance company Acuity, go karts at GoDaddy’s headquarters, and ping pong tables in Intuit’s offices.

5. Invest in Education.

Whether it’s providing assistance for student loan repayment or stipends for further education, companies that invest in their employees’ education see returns. With so many millennials joining the workforce, companies have begun offering student loan repayment assistance as one of their benefits.

These companies are attracting candidates better: according to a American Student Assistance survey, 76 percent of respondents agreed that, everything else being equal, their choice to take a job would be decided on whether an employer offered a student repayment program. Many companies are also offering tuition reimbursement for their employees to go back to school. Companies like Best Buy, Target, Walgreens, and Staples have programs that provide full-time employees tuition reimbursement for undergraduate, graduate, and job-related coursework.

And it doesn’t stop with vocational or college-level learning. Evernote hosts team-building courses through its “Evernote Academy,” while Epic Systems Corporation offers employees a paid four-week sabbatical to pursue their creative talents after five years at the company.

What otheremployee benefits do you think help companies attract candidates?


  • George Miller says:

    A great benefit that demonstrates the interest of a company in its employees and their wellbeing over the long term is a retirement investment plan. An employer can contribute financially to the employee’s retirement account. This benefit is not one that has a great impact on the millennials, but if your workforce is senior and your recruitment activities are focusing on senior candidates, it can be a great benefit to offer.

  • Julia M. says:

    Another great benefit a company should provide is free transportation. If the role of your employees does not require driving a car, I’ve discovered over time that providing reimbursement for public transportation can be a big plus. 

  • Amanda Z. says:

    Great article about benefits. Companies should start considering offering them, as salary is no longer the main aspect candidates consider when choosing a job. From my experience, employers are satisfied when their annual vacation is paid by the company.

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