Getting Creative with Benefits For years employee benefits were fairly cut and dry. Nothing fancy, but the important basics. You know, health insurance, PTO, sick leave, life insurance, 401K, etc. And while those benefits are still extremely important to not only attract the best talent available, but also keep them around for the long haul, today’s employees are starting to expect more creative benefits that speak more to work/life balance and culture. Often times, employees are willing to forego certain benefits of old and even a higher salary if these benefits make their life easier. According to Glassdoor, 90 percent of millennials prefer creative benefits to raises. So, what are some ways that your HR department can infuse new and creative employee benefits that enhance the culture of your company to attract the best talent? Here are some ideas that can help you get the ball rolling. Unlimited PTO We felt you shudder a little bit. The thought seems really out there and hard to manage, we know. You definitely need to trust your employees and may need to institute a period of earning that trust, but several companies have found success offering this benefit with surprising results. Netflix for example, has implemented this benefit and has seen improved culture and employee morale. Happy employees = productive employees. Creative Partnerships Whether it’s a company in your area or a national provider of some sort, a creative partnership could offer your employees something attractive at a low cost. Take Starbucks, for example. They recently partnered with Care.com to provide subsidized emergency backup child and adult care to all their 180,000 employees. This increased employee morale by alleviating the stress that comes with missing work due to child care or elder care issues. In addition, Starbucks reaps the benefit of not having employees miss work. The Power of Rest People like a good nap and it’s proven that a rested mind is a powerful mind. Giving the employees the option and space to take a good nap throughout the day shouldn’t be frowned upon but encouraged. A 2008 study published in Behavioural Brain Research found that a nap is better than caffeine. Rest is huge, and it doesn’t have to be a nap. Sometimes just getting away from technology and being able to go outside to rest your mind is good. Often the change in environment will give employees a boost to perform at their best. Empowered to Give Some of the best employees you can hire are those that are inclined to serve their community by volunteering. This attitude toward service benefits their employer’s bottom line and should be encouraged. Companies like Salesforce offer employees six days of paid volunteer time off per year, as well as $1,000 a year to donate to a charity of their choice. That could really tip the scales in your favor if you’re chasing after talent that loves to serve. There are so many other creative ways to reach the best employees. A few others that stand out include World Wildlife Fund taking off every other Friday, companies providing yearly student loan reimbursement, parental leave policies for women and men, Airbnb giving a $2,000 stipend to travel, catered meals, free education, onsite gym and workouts, and so much more. There are so many ways you can creatively, and economically, enhance your benefits packages to focus on things that matter to this new generation of employees. It’s worth your time and investment to see what you can do in this competitive climate. The key is to find what works for you… and what works for those people you want working for you. Whitney Eagleburger Whitney Eagleburger is Business Development Manager at Oasis, a Paychex® Company. Whitney specializes in consulting with small to mid-size businesses in Kansas City. She creates long-term relationships built on an authentic approach that generates repeat relationships. Specialties: Human Resources Outsourcing, Payroll Administration, Benefits Administration.