Do employees still care about their benefits? Yes, perhaps more than ever—it’s not just about compensation! While they’re not willing to accept the bare minimum, Forbes Advisor found that one in 10 workers say they would take a pay cut as a tradeoff for better benefits. As employers strive to remain competitive, offering unique employee benefits and perks is no longer an option.
And if employees don’t get decent benefit packages? They’ll simply look elsewhere, as statistics show 49% will leave their jobs in the next 12 months over a lack of benefits. As for employee turnover, it can cost anywhere from 30% to 400% of the employee’s annual salary to replace them!
Yet, 78% say they would likely stick around if they like the benefits. Clearly, a solid benefits package is essential for both attracting and retaining top talent. Forbes reported that the top five benefits employees look for are:
- Health insurance
- Life insurance
- Retirement plans
- Mandatory paid time-off
- Mental health support
So, start getting creative with perks that will help employees save money and find more time and joy in their lives. At BlueLion, we are passionate connectors and love partnering with businesses near and far that can provide fresh offerings to our clients and their employees. That’s why we host an annual webinar sharing the latest unusual benefits for employees! Watch it below, or read on for the complete list and resources.
1. Professional Headshots
Have you ever considered professional headshots as a perk? Many don’t, and that’s what makes them a unique employee benefit! As our go-to brand photographer, Trayce Gregoire, explains, headshots and team photos can go a long way in boosting morale.
Plus, having modern, lifestyle, approachable headshots aligned with your brand allows your team to put their best foot forward! You and your employees can use the photos on your:
- Company website
- Other marketing channels and materials
This creates a much more cohesive, professional brand than selfies or candids taken randomly. Using BlueLion as an example, Trayce explained how our headshots and team photos stand out and make us memorable and recognizable. After all, people want to see who they’ll be working with and put a face to the name to personalize it. When everyone’s photos look uniform and show your pride, your team can feel good about them, too.
Employers can use professional headshots as a recruiting tool. By offering this to employees, you’ll give them something to use for future career moves. Plus, you’ll make it convenient for them to have photos they can feel good about and enhance their confidence!
Additionally, brand photography can support your diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. When engaging with your audience and prospective employees, clients, and partners from your website to social media channels, these images show the faces behind your business and tell your story.
Another often overlooked benefit of professional headshots applies to many blue-collar businesses, such as plumbing, HVAC, landscaping, and others in the trades who come to customers’ homes. Many businesses now send customers photos of the technician or pro beforehand, so they know who to look for, providing them with peace of mind that they’re working with a reputable company.
To learn more about Trayce, visit traycegregoire.com and reach out to her about headshots and team photos!
2. Additional Time Off
Many employers have been asking us what else they can offer for leave. It’s a crucial question—employees are looking for more flexibility to accommodate their well-being and lifestyles and are no longer willing to sacrifice quality of life for work. They want to know their employers value their overall wellness and time.
Some up-and-coming types of paid time off (PTO) include:
- Birthday Paid Leave: You didn’t work the day you were born, so why should you now?!
- Parental Leave: Many employers are offering a more inclusive parental leave policy for all types of parents and family situations versus the traditional maternity/paternity leave.
- Adoption Leave: A growing number of organizations offer this for parents who have adopted children.
- Required Leave: Mandatory isn’t always bad! In fact, 31% of employees prioritize required PTO. In this situation, employees select a certain number of weeks at the beginning of the year to take leave and fully disconnect. You determine the length, which may vary by level.
- Floating Holidays: These allow employees to celebrate other religious holidays outside of the standard federal and Christian holidays
- Long Weekends and Fridays off
- Mental Health Days: We all have days when we wake up and don’t feel up to going in. The mental health day gives employees an option to take the day off without having to lie about a sick day or schedule PTO in advance.
- Pet Bereavement: Pets are family too, so give employees some time to mourn the loss of their companions.
- Pregnancy Loss: Parents may need more time off on top of the standard bereavement in the case of pregnancy loss. This extra time shows your compassion and sensitivity.
Besides compensation, paid leave is one of the first employee benefits new hires typically negotiate. Show team members you value them from the start with flexible, inclusive paid leave policies.
We are BIG fans of Aflac here at BlueLion, so we were excited to have agent Will Mumper join us! This supplemental insurance is one of those affordable and unique employee benefits that offers many types of plans and protections.
Aflac can work with your business whether you have no existing benefits or you offer robust benefits with deductibles and copayments. Simply put, it puts money back in your employees’ pockets with significant events like a cancer diagnosis, physical trauma, loss of income, and medical treatments. Best of all, Aflac offers:
- No additional costs to your business—it’s just a simple payroll deduction for employees!
- Easy setup and benefits administration
- Personal ongoing customer support from your rep, Will
- Guaranteed issue policies, meaning even someone with a history of health problems can find coverage
- Rate lock, meaning your rate stays the same as when you enroll
Aflac simply pays out the benefit to the employee and they use it as needed, giving them breathing instead of more worry about how they’ll afford things and support their family. As Will explained, it mitigates financial concerns. Because let’s face it, unless the employer covers a huge portion of the medical costs, most employees have a large burden when it comes to using medical benefits.
And since everyone is at a different point in their lives, Aflac offers their policies a la carte and they’re totally customizable. Will sits down with each individual or family to discuss their needs and point them in the right direction. Contact Will at 978-376-6039 or email him today to learn more.
4. Reproductive Health Benefits
Many employers are becoming even more competitive regarding reproductive health benefits in the wake of reproductive health care law changes in the Supreme Court. In addition to paid parental and adoption leave, these can include:
- Surrogacy benefits
- Family planning assistance
- High-risk pregnancy care
- Pregnancy, post-partum, lactation, and menopause support
- Travel benefits
Please note: Employers providing legal reproductive care benefits will need to assess the implications of these offerings as reproductive health care laws continue to evolve.
Additional unique benefits for parents (especially those overwhelmed new parents) might include credits for food delivery (e.g., Uber Eats, GrubHub), laundry, and house cleaning services.
5. Reassess Your Health Insurance
According to Forbes, 67% of employees note health insurance as the most important benefit. For the younger generations, it’s non-negotiable—85% of millennials believe healthcare is “absolutely essential” and “very important.”
So, when was the last time you evaluated your company’s health insurance? Take steps to keep it competitive by reviewing your policy annually. Ensure your broker isn’t simply dialing it in. Consider what else you can provide, such as:
- Supplemental plans: Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), and Dependent Care Accounts (DCAs) are low-cost for employers, while employees get to save pre-tax dollars.
- Health analytics: You can share data with employees so they understand what areas of their health they could improve—this benefits them and your insurance costs!
- Telehealth: Last year, 93% of organizations said they offer telemedicine or telehealth to workers. It’s a given since Covid!
Consider what other unique employee benefits you can offer, like gym memberships or hosting wellness and fitness classes. Toni shared an example of a former employer that gave employees points toward reimbursements if they could provide receipts showing the fruits and veggies they purchased.
Health insurance costs vary widely, but the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored coverage in 2022 were $7,911 for individuals and $22,463 for families. What are you doing to offset those costs and educate employees about their options?
6. Peak Recovery & Health Center
Colin Cook established Peak Recovery & Health Center in Manchester, NH, to offer a range of health and wellness services, something your employees are focused on! As you already know, healthier employees are more productive and miss less work.
Peak Recovery specializes in cutting-edge recovery solutions, focused on:
- Mood and mental health
- Pain management
- Stress reduction and relaxation
- Injury rehabilitation
- Athletic/sports performance enhancement
To address these issues, Peak Recovery provides a range of services, including:
- Cryotherapy: Uses extreme cold temperatures that alleviate pain and reduce inflammation (shoulder or back issues, for example), release endorphins, and help you feel better overall.
- Photobiomodulation: Helps with cellular function and rejuvenates deteriorating or underperforming cells. Great for winter and seasonal issues.
- NanoVi: Reduces oxidative stress and removes free radicals from the body (works well with photobiomodulation).
- Float Therapy: Sensory deprivation tank in which you float for up to an hour with the lights off and music on if you’d like. Good way for the body to absorb magnesium to shut off our minds.
- Compression Therapy: Increases circulation and reduces muscle soreness.
- Infrared Sauna: Lower temperatures make it more comfortable and infrared penetrates the body for more benefits.
- Massage Therapy
- Celluma: Helps with acne and skin conditions
Peak Recovery offers custom memberships and packages, which they can customize with any of their recovery services based on your employees and the business. You can offer ongoing services for employees to use regularly and promote proactive health.
The center also offers Wellness Days, through which they will organize wellness experiences for your team focused on group self-care and team bonding. There are both half and full-day options, complete with snacks and refreshments. Learn more at peakrecoveryandhealthcenter.com!
7. Preventative Well-Being
You’ve probably noticed a theme here regarding health and wellness benefits. Today, this means focusing on proactive well-being by addressing and preventing stress, burnout, and mental health issues.
People are already stressed, which affects businesses. Of course, employees expect employers to do something about it. A majority (91%) of Gen Z and 78% of millennials believe every company should implement a mental health policy for employees
So, what can you provide and how? We advise:
- Expanding employee assistance programs (EAPs) to provide these resources and services. You can only support your employees so far, so give them professional resources to help ease that burden and cost.
- Providing online resources, education, and articles for employees
- Offering training for managers on recognizing behavioral issues and warning signs (e.g., an employee who is always late, missing a lot of work, etc.)
- Steering those employees toward the appropriate services and resources
- Conducting anti-stigma campaigns. Many are still not comfortable getting mental health support, so educate them about programs like peer groups and support groups for families like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous.
- Offering workplace flexibility to help offset the need to go to group meetings, therapy, doctor appointments, etc.
8. Renovate Fitness
Continuing on the topic of unique employee benefits around fitness, we have Renovate Fitness in Londonderry, NH, owned by Liz Erlandson. Renovate offers results-based training, which employers can incorporate into their perks in many different ways.
This welcoming and inclusive gym takes a whole health approach by focusing on both nutrition and fitness. There are no cookie-cutter programs here—they customize each program based on the individual! You can offer this at no additional cost to your company, or you can subsidize the cost of their membership. Renovate also offers discounts for your employees.
While other gyms offer weight loss, not many incorporate injury healing and prevention into their programs, which is what Renovate has become known for. You don’t just go and work out. Instead, their trainers develop a plan, pick goals for you, and work with you on problem areas or send you to someone who can. They even have tools like the Fit 3D body scanner to keep track of everything to help clients hit goals.
Renovate offers a range of memberships, including:
- 1:1 personal training: Good for those with injuries and health conditions (e.g., strokes, MS)
- Groups: Pre-planned workouts and diets
- Semi-private: Meal plans and nutrition coaching
- Pain-free & Fit: 12-month health and wellness program, monthly or in-person Zoom call, videos, and PDFs
9. Remote Work Perks
We can’t gloss over the specific employee perks for remote teams! Think of ways you can support them, make their workspace more efficient and comfortable, encourage virtual team bonding, and simply brighten up their days. These might include:
- Home office stipend
- Learning and development stipend
- Childcare reimbursement
- Mental health workshops
- Standing desks
- Virtual hangouts
- Plant subscriptions
- Workout class subscriptions
- Internet reimbursement
- Access to coworking spaces
- Virtual book club
BlueLion has had a lot of success building our virtual team, and we’re happy to share more of what has worked for us in establishing a positive culture!
10. Fully Promoted of Southern New Hampshire
Another one of our trusted partners is Sal Calautti of Fully Promoted of Southern New Hampshire, who we trust with all of our branded merch needs!
BlueLion can say from first-hand experience that employees love high-quality branded swag. We do hoodie Mondays, inviting the whole team to wear their hoodies and ease into the week both comfortable and put-together. Our hoodies were embroidered by Fully Promoted, and we’re always happy with their embroidery.
Of course, when it comes to company swag, every employee has a different style and preferences. Consider giving employees a stipend so they can pick what they want with your logo on it! You might also put together a new hire package with a shirt or sweatshirt and a few office supplies so they can start showing company pride right away.
At the end of the day, these small gestures show employees you’re invested in them and you care. So if your Southern NH business needs next-level branded products, check out Fully Promoted or call Sal at 603-647-9994 today!
11. Financial Benefits
Thanks to inflation, Americans are spending an average of $709 more a month on everyday goods and services than they did two years ago! What unique employee benefits can you offer to help your team members plan and save? Consider providing:
- Retirement plans
- Covered meetings with financial planners
- College planning meetings for children and parents—did you know you can establish a 529 plan not just for college but for trade schools?!
- Will preparation to ensure they’re prepared and won’t be saddling loved ones with debt
- Power of attorney
- Credit building or rebuilding coaching
- Financial debt management
- Student loan repayment
- Budget planning and assistance
- Legal subscription
- Identity theft protection
Research has found that 39% of employees say their personal and professional lives are negatively affected by money concerns. Plus, employees who experience severe financial stress levels lose between 29 and 39 workdays yearly to handle concerns. Offering financial benefits can help your employees and save your company money and resources lost to low productivity and absenteeism.
12. Spark Offices
There are numerous advantages to working remotely—but it can also be distracting and isolating. Not to mention, we all need to get out of the house and engage with other humans once in a while! That’s where a coworking space like Spark Offices comes in.
With one location in Manchester and a new one opening in Dover, this collaborative workspace gets employees out of their home offices and away from distractions (think that pile of laundry you still haven’t gotten to or being interrupted by the kids, your spouse, or pets). You can decide how often you’d like employees to come in, whether it’s a couple of times a week or a few times a month.
Spark offers perks to make workers as comfortable and efficient as possible, including:
- Premium local coffee
- Secure WiFi
- Convenient restaurants and snacks
- Stand and sit workstations
- Presentation technology
- Accessible parking
As owner Chris Duhaime explained, there are also intangible benefits, such as:
- No distractions: People can work in the main space, conference room, or a private office.
- Comradery and friendships: Employees can enjoy in-person social interaction.
- Educational and networking opportunities: Spark hosts events and brings in speakers to encourage learning and connection.
While Spark Offices is open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., you can work out of the main space anytime as long as you coordinate with them so they can open it for you. Visit sparkoffices.com to learn more and schedule a tour today!
13. Ways to Enjoy Time
We’ve discussed the importance of flexible paid leave options, but how will employees enjoy that free time? Are there areas you can help them when it comes to funding entertainment, relaxation, and travel? Here’s a slightly scary fact: 74% of Americans have gone into debt to pay for a vacation, with the debt averaging about $1,108!
Think of unique employee perks you can offer that help your team enjoy their time, such as offering:
- Tickets to local attractions (museums, events, sports, movies, etc.)
- Vacation stipend
- Music streaming subscription
Look into local attractions you can partner with to provide those tickets and potentially get discounts!
14. Compt Lifestyle Spending Account
We love a good lifestyle spending account as a unique employee benefit here at BlueLion, so we were excited to have Chelsea Barron of Compt tell us about this unique reimbursement model platform.
The first cool thing to note: You can take everything you’ve seen here and offer it to your employees through a stipend!
Unlike vendor marketplaces which are pre-funded and limited (often not catering to employees’ lifestyles), and card models, which are also pre-funded, restrictive, and often forgotten about, Compt is not pre-funded or tied to vendors. You set up stipends for employees based on goals or behaviors you want to drive.
The platform offers 25 categories, and you select those that best suit your employees. For example, you can offer a wellness stipend, and employees can use it at Peak and subsidize their premiums at Aflac. Or they could subsidize headshots via a professional development stipend.
Compt provides an easy way to accommodate your entire workforce in different life stages, wanting different things. They simply upload their receipts and are reimbursed through payroll. Implementation is easy implementation, and you get a customer success manager to guide the way.
65% of employees stated that they are more likely to stay at their company because of the benefits offered through Compt, which include:
- All-in-one platform for stipends, rewards and recognition, and expense management
- 100% IRS compliant and automated, so your finance team doesn’t have to go through and upload receipts
- An average of 90% employee engagement, the highest of any LSA platform
15. Day-to-Day Perks
Have you considered those everyday apps and services that you could offer as unique employee benefits? What do they do to relax? What do you hear them complain about that you could provide to help save them time and money? Some ideas include:
- Mindfulness app subscriptions
- Audible/Kindle subscription
- Career coaching
- Car wash/detailing
- Dry cleaning
- Laundry drop off
- Uber Eats or grocery delivery costs or stipends
Since 76% of employees want benefits and perks that enhance their well-being and quality of life, they would likely appreciate having some of these things taken off their plate!
16. Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
Last but certainly not least, there’s banking—yep, and we understand if you haven’t thought about offering this as a benefit to employees! But you certainly can by building a relationship with a local bank. Our go-to is Tina Brown at Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.
First, Bar Harbor offers $100 to employees who open a checking account which is free, and also comes with a free savings account and free mobile banking and bill pay. Their easy interface encourages employees to enroll in direct deposit, which simplifies the process for both the employer and the employee.
Additionally, Bar Harbor offers:
- Money markets and Certificate of Deposit (CD) accounts with competitive rates
- Savings and Savings Transfer Club Account, allowing you to save for planned expenses and earn interest
- Free HSAs for employees with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) that Tina sets up for you
Finally, Bar Harbor provides educational seminars for your employees on managing money appropriately and getting themselves to the next level, such as:
- How to create a budget
- How to build credit
- First-time homebuyers seminars
- How to save for retirement
These seminars can even be customized for each individual for their needs in a private or group setting. We love Bar Harbor for their judgment-free and rewarding banking. Call Tina at 603-464-9242 or email her today to learn more!
Stay Competitive with Unique Employee Benefits
WOAH, that was a LOT of cool employee benefits and perks to take in! So don’t stress about implementing all of them or doing too much at once. Consider how you can make gradual changes to build the culture and attract the top talent you want.
As you do, ensure people can customize their choices based on their needs and lifestyle—remember, one size does NOT fit all anymore! Don’t forget to research additional resources for the listed benefits in your local area, which also supports your local business and community.
If you need help, BlueLion knows many amazing professionals and resources we are happy to recommend!
We don’t get affiliate income from these vendors—we share them because we use their services and genuinely believe in what they do and know that their services or products are solid and their customer service is excellent. And we like to work with people who will serve our clients to the best of their abilities.
Need help starting in the right direction and determining what’s best for your team? Contact BlueLion today at 603-818-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org!
The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.