Startups and young executives are redefining “work-life balance.” They're learning how to keep an energized workforce by connecting emotionally with their employees––and they’re ‘upping the ante’ for all companies in the process.
Because of their small size and scalability, these companies have the power to experiment with cutting-edge and intriguing benefits to recruit and retain top talent. No matter the size or structure of your company, you can learn a lot from the innovations in benefits these employers are making to boost morale and encourage productivity.
By focusing on three main things, you can start to implement some of the benefits in this new “era” of employment. Any of these ideas can make your employees happy and more inspired –– without breaking the bank by buying fancy new furniture, taking an office retreat, or giving everyone a raise. They are flexible, easily tailored ideas that often save your company money in the long-run:
1. Give them time back
Show that you appreciate the time and dedication your employees give to your company. Gift some of this back to them in the form of telemedicine, flexible hours (like the “firm 40” or “summer hours”), and letting them work remotely. The Harvard Business Review recently shared an example of a company that saw great results in allowing employees more flexibility in their work schedules:
"Nicholas Bloom and graduate student James Liang, who is also a cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip, gave the staff at Ctrip’s call center the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive."
2. Give them money back
Offering raises and bonuses can pad employees’ pockets –– but if your company isn’t in the position to offer substantial raises this year, there are other ways to save your staff financial stress outside of the office.
Make sure they truly understand their employer health benefits plan so they know every possible area where they could be saving money. If they’re eligible for certain programs (such as student loan deferral or tuition assistance) because of the nature of their work or the employer health benefits package you offer, be sure they thoroughly understand how to take advantage of those benefits. And if your company partners with a nearby gym to give employees discount memberships, publicize this clearly (and often) so more of your staff members take advantage of it. These financial breaks not only take away stresses at home, but allow your employees to focus more on their jobs and be more productive.
3. Give them control back
Great managers and personnel employees know that listening is key to employee happiness. Give your workforce opportunities to speak up throughout the year on topics like the office layout, holiday celebrations, volunteer opportunities, and any changes to employer health benefits programs where input could be helpful. Their voices make up your community, and you can show that you care simply by addressing their concerns –– even if they’re as simple as fixing a leaky faucet in the bathroom or adjusting the office thermostat. By providing them with a chance to express their concerns and opinions, you give them control in the everyday life and future of your company.
You shouldn’t always have to spend money to ensure your employees’ happiness and comfort in the workplace. Simple actions, like hosting forums on changes in the office and improving employer health benefits transparency, will build trust between you and your staff.
By listening to their concerns and allowing them to have flexibility in their work-life balance, you can increase productivity and create a happier, more modern company culture.