Here are a few more suggestions you may wish to implement if you’re not doing so already:
Never ignore professional recognition dates (for example, Administrative Assistant’s Day, National Nurses week, Social Workers Month, etc.); make a big deal out of them! Put them on your calendar with alerts for plenty of lead time.
Occasionally host company fun days (BBQ, bowling, beach days or luaus, and so on) not for having attained some strategic goal but just for no reason at all.
Therapy animals, long used as an aid in healing, are increasingly utilized in other environments (for example, many colleges and universities have them in, especially around finals). Why not at your workplace?
Institute profit sharing with staff who come with cost-saving or revenue-raising suggestions: staff get a certain percentage of the gains made (after a set period of time to prove that the ideas really work, of course).
Contract with companies that provide mental health coaches and/or corporate chaplains to make rounds at your workplace.
Arrange for food trucks in the parking lot on a routine basis.
Offer a fitness allowance for gym memberships.
Give fully or partially paid memberships to big box stores.
Ensure shift schedules are published well in advance so that employees can arrange for transportation, childcare/elder care, etc.
Completely rid yourself of the idea that staff should be available to you 24/7. Respect the boundaries they need to rest and recharge.
Anticipate concerns your staff may have and proactively seek to address them.
Want more ideas? There are numerous companies offering “lifestyle benefits” on a subscription basis: Telemedicine, diet/lifestyle coaching, drug/tobacco cessation programs, resort stays, travel offers, nutrition/wellness offers, and much more. A small investment in these kinds of services can help you become an employer of choice.
Keep in mind, however, perks are enjoyable, but what humans crave is validation. And it must be sincere; no one wants cheap flattery. All of the bonuses and extras described above will be dismissed as trivial or “band-aids” if the workplace culture is demeaning and grinding people down. Of course everyone expects decent pay and benefits; beyond that, there must be an environment which promotes recognition, appreciation, belonging, and purpose in order to maximize retention, productivity, and morale.
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