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7 Innovative Employee Benefit Ideas to Increase Retention

Traditional employee benefits such as flexible schedules, 401k contributions, and maternity leave are often not enough to encourage employees to stick around in today’s competitive job market. Creative new employee benefit ideas can make a difference in how appreciated employees feel, increasing the likelihood that they’ll stay with your business for years to come. Here are a few options you may want to try. 

1. Extended Holiday Breaks

In addition to vacation time, some employers have started to close entire offices for a yearly extended holiday break. PwC began giving employees the week of July 4th off, with pay, in an effort to increase retention in a tight labor market. Their employees also have a paid week off between Christmas and New Year’s, encouraging them to rest and refresh since no one else is in the office working. 

2. Fertility Benefits

This benefit has a strong impact on retention – more than 32% of employees say they are more likely to stay with a company that offers fertility benefits. These benefits can include covering part of the cost of IVF or egg freezing, surrogacy, or other fertility measures. Some companies even expand this benefit to adopting or fostering a child as other ways of supporting employees who want to grow their families. 

3. Educational Benefits

Benefits like traditional tuition assistance have been around for a long time, but employers are getting more creative with helping their employees continue and fund their education. Some partner with local or online university partners to offer additional tuition discounts and pre-paid options so employees don’t need to front the whole cost themselves. 

And a few, like Fidelity Investments, offer a benefit that pays up to $2,000 per year, for up to five years, towards an employee’s student loan debt principal. That’s one of the most innovative employee benefit ideas in recent years. 

4. Pupternity Leave

Also known as “pawternity”, a few employers are beginning to offer paid time off to employees when they bring home a new puppy or have a sick or injured pet. New pets can require quite a bit of care in their first few days in the home, so this employee benefit idea can help your employees balance their work obligations with personal time. 

5. Paid Volunteer Time

Liberty Mutual Insurance is one of many businesses that offers employees at least one paid day per year to spend volunteering on a project of their choice in their community. This employee benefit idea allows employees to give back and feel supported in their life outside of work, while also helping businesses build bonds with their communities. 

6. Wellness Benefits

This goes beyond providing health insurance to employees – some companies, like Google, offer employee benefit ideas such as on-site massages and physical therapy, while Patagonia offers on-site yoga classes and company-subsidized organic meals in a cafe at their office. These benefits help employees stay healthy and reduce stress, which is good for productivity and retention. 

7. Sabbatical

Sabbaticals aren’t just for college professors any more – employers like REI offer a four-week paid sabbatical after an employee has hit the 15-year mark, and every five years after that. These extended breaks can help employees refresh their enthusiasm for work, and reward employees who stick with the company for over a decade.  

Make the Most of Alternative Benefits

What are the best alternative employee benefit ideas? The ones that are personalized to your employees and maximize their happiness at work. Be sure to check in with what employees want and value from their benefits package with workplace surveys or focus groups. That way, you can customize benefits to the needs of your employees, ensuring both they and your business receive the maximum rewards.  

Looking for more ways to increase employee happiness and success? See how Cangrade can help