When we think about compensation at work, it's not just salary we need to consider. The benefits employees receive make up a big part of their total package, and if you're a business owner, it's important to acknowledge their significance. At the same time, since these benefits do cost money, it's crucial to focus on those that will have the greatest impact on your employees' outlook and productivity. With that in mind, here are four perks you really shouldn't skimp on.
1. Vacation time
The average U.S. worker gets just 10 paid vacation days per year, but in a recent study, 58% of employees said they'd be willing to go as far as taking a pay cut in exchange for more time off. When workers are given the opportunity to get a break, or series of breaks, from the daily grind, they tend to come back recharged, refreshed, and ready to be as productive as possible. On the other hand, limiting your employees' vacation time increases the risk that they fall victim to burnout, and that their output suffers accordingly.
[Related: Employee Satisfaction Surveys]
2. Sick days
Getting sick is one of those things none of us can really control. But if you're stingy with sick days, it's not just your workers who stand to suffer -- it'll negatively impact your business as a whole. That's because if you don't give enough sick days, your employees will more likely than not come to work ill, to avoid using vacation time for recovery purposes or going without pay. They may then infect other workers, thereby kick-starting a cycle where key players are forced to call out and important projects are put on hold.
A better bet? Give your workers ample time to get over whatever illnesses come to plague them. You're better off having the average worker miss a day or two of work than having that same person come to the office sick for a week and get little to nothing done during that time.
3. Health insurance
You want your employees to take care of their health so that they're able to come to work and do their jobs. That's why it pays to invest in a decent health insurance plan. This way, your workers have access to the care they need, and money won't be a barrier in helping them recover when injuries or illnesses inevitably strike. Along these lines, you might consider an insurance plan that offers wellness perks like subsidies for gym memberships or exercise equipment (or you could offer to subsidize such items directly yourself). The more healthy a lifestyle your workers lead, the less time they're likely to miss.
[Related: Competitive Benefits Kit]
4. Parental leave
It's an unfortunate statistic that only 40% of U.S. companies offer some type of parental leave. Giving your workers ample time to adjust following the birth or adoption of a child, however, is one of the most important steps you can take to retain employees. In doing so, you're sending the message that you care about your workers and recognize the importance of family and of work-life balance. You're also allowing employees to take the time they need to recover physically and secure child care, so they're able to return to work with clear heads.
The more generous you are with your workplace benefits, the more likely your employees are to stick around. Focus on these key perks, and with any luck, you'll gain the loyalty and appreciation of the team you've worked so hard to build.