October 27, 2021
21 Unique Employee Benefits & Perks to Make Companies Stand Out

Most employers have experienced the highly competitive talent market. As qualified professionals become increasingly difficult to find, organizations must think beyond traditional workplace benefits. 

The best candidates and employees desire much more than the standard health, retirement, and salary benefits. They are searching for an employer that shows that they value their team’s time, well-being, and happiness outside of the workplace. Companies that want to stand out and recruit and retain top talent need to implement non-traditional employee benefits. 

BlueLion recently had the pleasure of hosting a webinar along with several organizations and experts who shared 21 unique benefits employers can offer staff. Watch the webinar below, or read on for our complete guide with all of our ideas and resources below. 

1. Pledge 1%

As we at BlueLion believe, benefits don’t just have to be something you give to your employees. Think about things related to your workplace culture that will help you attract and retain great talent, such as showing that your company cares about its community. 

BlueLion founders Toni and Alison have always been passionate about giving back, so they decided to Pledge 1% from the time they started the business. Pledge 1% is a corporate philanthropy program that allows businesses and organizations to give 1% of their equity, time, product, and profit to the causes and nonprofits of their choice. 

Companies can choose just one or a combination of the four pledge types, and can always add pledge types over time. Learn more at pledge1percent.org.

2. Corporate Gifting with THNKS

Everyone knows that sometimes, little gestures can go a long way. Corporate gifting app THNKS lets you show tokens of gratitude via small gifts you can send to clients, colleagues, or prospects. These small tokens of appreciation show employees that you recognize their hard work, motivating them and boosting engagement and productivity.

The app is an excellent solution for employers and managers to give one-off thanks when a staff member goes above and beyond or crushes it on a project. For example, say Bob in accounting helped you out with that urgent critical report this week. You can quickly and easily send him a cup of coffee for two.

3. No-Meeting Days

Employees are bogged down with meetings. We’re either prepping for one, sitting through one, or recapping from one.

In a 2019 survey from Workfront, U.S. workers said they spend only 40% of their workday on their primary tasks due to emails and wasteful meetings that hamper productivity.

An up-and-coming perk that is quickly becoming one of our favorites is the no-meeting day. We’ve seen several clients start blocking off one day a week where the entire company cannot book meetings. This day is intended for people to focus solely on getting their work done.

Best yet? This cost-free benefit doesn’t affect your business’s bottom line!

4. Holistic Wellness Solutions

As holistic wellness practitioner Shae Sterrett points out, today’s workforce (i.e., Millennials and Gen Z) are focused on their wellness and finding workplaces that will support it. Employers that foster a culture of mental, emotional, energetic, and physical health will attract and retain the most effective, happy employees. Not to mention, every $1 invested on employee wellness yields about $3 to $4 in company savings!

Shae explains that investing in workplace wellness can help reduce:

  • Medical costs
  • Employee turnover
  • Sick leave and absenteeism
  • Stress 

And it can help employers:

  • Attract and retain quality talent
  • Improve employee relationships, communication, and collaboration
  • Improve productivity
  • Enhance employee creativity and innovation

By supporting your team’s self-care, you encourage them to take care of themselves and show up better in all aspects of their life. This is especially important as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 situation, which has made it challenging to separate work life from home and personal life.

Consider partnering with an expert who offers on-site and virtual wellness workshops and programs. For example, Shae provides yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Reiki, sound healing, and bodywork services in various formats. Learn more about Shae and her services at shaesterrett.com

5. Will Preparation Services

Consider bringing in a will and estate preparation service if you’re looking to step outside the box with your workplace benefits. Not many employers offer this, so it’s an opportunity to provide something different. 

You can partner with a service provider who comes in and presents to your team. While you don’t necessarily have to pay for the service, you can bring in a professional to educate employees on its importance. Will preparation is something many people don’t think or talk about, often because they don’t have time. By bringing in an expert, you give staff time to consider and discuss an important life matter.

For a reliable will and estate planner, we highly recommend Meghan Martucci of Feniger & Uliaz.

6. ICHRA

The individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement (ICHRA) is a unique benefit for employers of all sizes. ICHRA allows businesses, nonprofits, churches, and other employers to reimburse employees tax-free for individual health insurance premiums and other medical expenses. 

Under the program, employees pick their plan through the Individual Marketplace, and the employer then pays a portion. ICHRA is a great option for companies struggling to decide whether or not to offer insurance because it gives employers more cost control since the reimbursement limits are predetermined. There are even companies that facilitate the benefit for employers. Learn more about ICHRA.

7. Aflac

On the same topic of additional health benefits is Aflac. Chances are you’ve heard of the voluntary employee benefits company, but do you know just how much they offer? 

Aflac’s coverage complements the standard health plan employers provide their staff. This includes: 

  • Costs not covered by traditional health insurance: ER visits, urgent care visits, deductibles ($3,000-$7,000), out-of-pocket maximum ($7,500-$14,000), accident, hospital confinement, and critical illness
  • Income replacement while recovering from injury, illness, or critical illness
  • Financial protection for an employee’s family if the employee passes away

As Voluntary Employee Benefits Advisor Gerrell Smith notes, today’s employees want more than basic health insurance. Offering Aflac helps attract and retain top talent by providing a more comprehensive benefits package. Plus, their plans are very affordable for employees, as low as $7 to $28 per week, or $360 to $1,500 per year. 

To chat with Gerrell about Aflac’s flexible options, contact him or connect with him on LinkedIn.

8. CPR Training

Another employee perk you may not have thought of is CPR training. We’ve partnered with Life Safety Institute, an organization that will come onsite to train your team on:

  • CPR
  • First aid
  • Basic life support
  • Advanced cardiovascular life support
  • Pediatric advanced life support

These classes equip employees with the knowledge to provide first aid and CPR both at and outside of work.

9. Healthy Office Snacking

Are you thinking about bringing snacks into your workplace? Many snack clubs and subscriptions make it easy for employers to keep healthy snacks stocked at the office. Be sure to research a mix of brands, as nutritional value, allowance for employee input, and schedule options vary. A few ideas include:

  • SnackNation: Healthy snack options at a low price.
  • NatureBox: Unlimited monthly snacks and priced per employee
  • Eat Club: Choose between a catered snack pantry or let employees create their own snack boxes for the week.
  • WorkPerks: Easy online ordering system

10. Nutrition Programs

To take it a step further than healthy snacks, some employers partner with nutritionists to implement a complete program for employees. 

Jennifer Wall of Nutrition in Motion (NIM) says common feedback from employees is that wellness feels fragmented. She explains that companies just getting started in this area often have one-off engagements, which don’t give employees a roadmap to how each event fits into their overall wellness. 

NIM provides continuous engagement and customized solutions for all areas, creating a cohesive feeling to help employees feel more engaged in the process. They also take the burden and stress off of employers and their HR departments that comes along with promoting and engaging employees in a health and nutrition program. NIM streamlines the process of enrollment, integration with your company’s existing resources, and individual customization to create a cohesive experience for your team.

Employers and employees can choose from a NIM’s wide range of services and programs. Their affordable pricing often includes insurance coverage, too! Offering a nutrition program can be easy and cost-effective, even boosting employees’ morale and productivity.

11. Employee Assistance Program

An employee assistance program (EAP) is another resource employers can provide to help staff with a broad range of life matters, including mental health, substance abuse, grief counseling, marital issues, financial struggles, and more. 

Although employees may be wary about EAPs, they can provide valuable support, and counseling is always 100% confidential. And they’re often included in your short-term disability or healthcare plans, so start by checking with your existing providers. This cost-effective resource could pay off significantly in the long run by giving employees the support they need.

12. Home Cleaning Services

Another critical area of worker benefits is time-saving. Time is a top concern among today’s workforce. Many feel that they are losing significant time with family and the other joys in life between their work and home responsibilities. There has been a mindset shift toward people searching for employers that value their time and allow for more work-life balance.

One way to do this is by offering home cleaning services. You don’t necessarily have to provide every month for all employees. Instead, use it as a gift for employee anniversaries or a reward for someone who did an exceptional job. Look into cleaning companies like:

13. Dry Cleaning & Laundry Services

Similar to housekeeping, dry cleaning and laundry services are other enticing perks for employees. After all, the average household spends about $500 on dry cleaning per year, according to industry reports. And an employee may spend eight hours a month on laundry. 

If you are considering providing laundry, a professional laundromat costs $2 or less per load or about $50 per week. Many services even offer pickup and dropoff services, sometimes for free, depending on your volume of business. So even if you don’t pay for the full laundry service, you could offer the convenience of the pickup/dropoff to save employees more time—potentially at no cost to your company. Check out a few local laundromats, like:

  • Vitto’s Organic Dry Cleaning
  • Cleary Cleaning
  • Kelley Street Tailor Shop and Laundromat
  • Wash Street
  • Garden Island Laundromat 

14. Pet Insurance

Today’s workers love their pets and consider them family, so it’s probably not surprising to learn that pet insurance is becoming the most requested employee benefit. And since two-thirds of your employees have at least one pet, you might want to consider adding it to your benefits package. Offering pet insurance helps employers:

  • Attract top talent
  • Improve culture
  • Increase retention

Pet insurance companies like Figo cover standard preventative, accidents, and illnesses. They can also cover extras like vacation cancellation and unfortunate incidents (i.e., your dog gets out and damages someone else’s property). Through their Pet Cloud app, they can even create a company-sponsored site specifically for your employees. The best part: The average cost is just $1.25 per day per pet!

To learn more about Figo and their top-rated pet insurance, contact Lisa Steadman of Archie Jennings Insurance.

15. Food/Grocery Delivery Services

Speaking of time, who actually enjoys spending theirs at the grocery store? The Time Use Institute states that each food shopping trip takes about 41 minutes, with an average of 1.5 visits per week. 

Consider educating your team about available grocery delivery services like InstaCart, Amazon Fresh/Pantry, or Fresh Direct. You don’t necessarily have to cover this entire service, but you could buy the first delivery for those who are hesitant to change their grocery routine. Additionally, grocery delivery adds another level of comfort during COVID-19 by limiting in-person interactions.

In the same vein, you could also offer employees gift cards to DoorDash or GrubHub so they could enjoy the occasional easy meal nights and avoid cooking. 

16. Mobile Auto Service

Did you know there are auto maintenance shops that come to you? That means they pick up your car, do the work, and bring it back—all without you having to go anywhere. 

Some mobile auto repair shops partner with local companies to provide convenient services to employees, such as Manchester’s Bob & Sons Automotive. Bob & Sons doesn’t charge you anything because they get a captive audience: Your whole staff!

Even if you’re outside the service area, they might consider making an exception based on the size of your business. It never hurts to ask!

17. Career Coaching

Lea Stabler of Pathways Navigation says that although people often think the conversation about career is about moving on to a new organization or department, that’s not necessarily the case. Instead, the current talent pool is searching for non-traditional benefits that address a person’s well-being. 

That’s why Lea has developed programs to help professionals overcome chaos, stress and anxiety, creativity, and productivity issues. He believes there are different pathways to getting jobs done, so he offers both individual coaching and structured group coaching. Lea can devise solutions for professionals who are ready for that next transition. And by providing career coaching, employers can demonstrate to employees that they care about their growth and development. 

18. Travel Planning

Going on vacation is very stressful. That may sound counterproductive at first, but think about it: You have to worry about where you go, what you do, how you pay for it, and coming back to work with everything piled up. Unfortunately, this means many workers don’t enjoy taking vacation.

You can reduce that stress by giving employees access to a travel planner. Most don’t cost you or the employee anything because they get paid via commissions from hotels or outfitters. As an employee perk, it shows you want staff to enjoy their vacation fully.

19. Mortgage Specialist & Realtor

People stress about things like bills and home buying but often don’t know where to start or have time to research and find a reliable professional. Ask a mortgage specialist and/or realtor to come in and talk about home-related topics with employees. They can: 

  • Educate people on getting qualified to purchase or sell their home
  • Review employees’ finances and assist them with improving their credit score
  • Assist employees in building personal wealth

Now is a prime time to refinance and save, so many of your team members could benefit. This is another way to show employees you care about their well-being outside of work at no cost to your company. 

20. Banking

Many people stick with their bank, not knowing what their other options are. Besides, researching new banks is another hassle many don’t feel like dealing with. But you could offer employees a way to save more and make their bank accounts work for them by partnering with a great bank. 

For example, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust provides an array of options and benefits for employees, including: 

  • $100 cash offer to open checking account
  • Savings and Savings Transfer Club Account
  • Dedicated representative to work with your company and employees
  • Free health savings accounts for employees with high deductible health plans
  • Free educational seminars for employees customizable for individual or group settings

To learn more about Bar Harbor’s exceptional products and services, contact Tina Brown.

21. Local Business Discounts

Last but not least: Offer local business discounts! This is a great way to connect with and support local businesses. Reach out to those in your area to see if they’ll offer corporate discounts for your employees (e.g., a gym, restaurant, or shop). They are a captive audience in your community who would likely appreciate having your staff’s business.

A couple of other ideas include connecting with: 

  • High schools to purchase their sports teams’ discount cards for your team
  • Local attractions like ski resorts for employees to enjoy with their families

Whew, that was a lot of ideas and resources! Remember, you don’t have to implement too many at once. We recommend adding at least one new perk to your employees benefits package every year until your company can afford to do more. As many of these ideas prove, you don’t necessarily have to increase your costs to attract and retain stellar people! 

If you need help developing a benefits package that helps you stand out in the employer pool, contact BlueLion today at 603-818-4131 or info@bluelionllc.com to learn how we can help.