Benefits & Compensation News

10 incredible benefits employees like — and you can afford

While a competitive salary is nice, benefits can sometimes be even more attractive. And although most companies can’t afford the lavish perks companies like Google can offer, a little innovation can go a long way.

So how can a small company compete with places that offer concierge services and daily catered meals? Well, here are 10 of the most unusual — while still being affordable — employee perks:

  1. Transparent financial status. To give its employees an idea of where the business is headed, once a month the social network company Tagged shares all of its financial information — including revenue, expenses and profits — with employees.
  2. Equal benefits for same-sex partners. UK-based professional services firm Ernst & Young, LLP, reimburses the tax its U.S. employees pay when adding a same-sex partner to its health plan.
  3. A nap room. While shoe company Zappos offers its employees plenty of perks, one of the most unusual is a nap room, where employees can slip in whenever they need a quick recharge.
  4. New-mother mentoring. Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers offers mentoring for all expectant mothers and women that are planning to adopt. The mentors, other female employees with mothering experience, offer assistance and advice throughout the early stages of motherhood.
  5. Babies in the workplace. Schools Financial Credit Union in Sacramento, CA, allows all employees to bring their newborns into work until the child reaches six-months old, or is able to crawl. According to Schools’ vice president, Nathan Schmidt, the parents are generally able to still perform at about 75% efficiency, which he says is preferable to hiring temps or training new workers to fill in for them.
  6. Unlimited vacation. The Chicago-based event firm Red Frog Events offers salaried employees unlimited vacation days, which they can take at any time as long as all their work is completed on deadline. Their jobs are very much in demand, which keeps workers in line. They know if they abuse the policy, they’re gone.
  7. Doggie day care. Genentech, a biotechnology company in South San Francisco, offers on-site doggie day care to all its employees.
  8. Shopping sprees. Every few months, three to five employees who meet sales goals at Fun Bike Center Motorsports in Lakeland, FL, qualify for a timed grocery store shopping spree. Fun Bike Center Motorsports pays for whatever the shoppers can get in their carts.
  9. Trips to Vegas. Once a year, employees at Chicago-based Freeborn and Peters, LLP, enter a drawing for a chance to enjoy an all-expenses-paid weekend trip to Las Vegas.
  10. “Happiness Day.” At Robertson Cooper, a business psychology company in the UK, employees receive an annual extra day off for what it calls “Happiness Day.” On this day, each employee is given £50 (about $76) to do whatever makes him or her happy.
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