These are the 10 best employee perks for attracting (and retaining) talent

It’s going to take more than a ping-pong table to attract top talent to your business. While perks such as video game rooms and in-office slides help to create a buzz for your company, here are the actual benefits that will help employees feel more productive, supportive, and engaged long term … as well as suggestions on how to implement them.

1. Flexible schedules

In a recent survey by FlexJobs, 80% of respondents said they would be more loyal to their employer if given flexible work arrangements. People want the ability to work during the times they feel most productive and want managers who trust them to get the work done regardless of the hours they are in the office. Allowing remote work helps employees to balance family commitments, reduces commute stress and transit costs, and significantly improves morale.

Employers should invest in high-quality speakers and microphones in conference rooms to make it easy to remotely dial into meetings. In addition, encourage employees to work from other offices if your company has a presence in multiple cities, and even consider a travel stipend like these nine companies.

2. Gym and wellness benefits

More than half of employees think wellness benefits are the most important factor in the workplace, and 70% specifically wish that current employers will add fitness benefits for employees.

Google, Facebook, and Gatorade are a few of the companies jumping on this bandwagon by partnering with ClassPass to offer a global workout and wellness benefit to their teams. The ClassPass Corporate Wellness Program gives employees access to 22,000 boutique studio classes, gyms and wellness experiences around the world, all with one membership. Employees want to be given the tools to prioritize their wellbeing, especially while traveling for work, and subsidizing workouts and wellness is one way to show you actually care about the long-term health of your team.

3. Learning and development stipend

The average professional will change jobs 12 times during their career. Professionals want opportunities for career advancement and are looking for companies that offer onsite learning and development programs as well as supporting individual growth through conference stipends and tuition reimbursement.

Share this list of online classes offered by top universities, pay for employee access to Coursera, or give employees the opportunity to apply a stipend toward the growth opportunity they expect to provide the most benefit.

4. Paid family leave

The U.S. is the only developed country that does not mandate paid leave to every new parent. The country is so stingy in leave policy that Dove designed an entire campaign around offering $5,000 paternity grants.

Good family-leave policies signal to employees that you care about their lives outside of work, and that you see them as long-term members of your community. Offer an inclusive policy that includes paid leave for all new parents, including those who adopt, and consider on-site childcare as an added benefit if you are able to add this into your benefits budget.

5. Onsite healthy snacks

Long gone is the 9-to-5. One report claims the average American worker works more than a medieval peasant, or specifically 1,811 hours. That’s a lot of time spent in the office, likely with candy jars and chips to get through stressful weeks.

Encourage healthy habits and keep productivity up by offering complimentary snacks and catered meals. Having healthy food in the office will encourage teams to take breaks, have more social interactions around the kitchen, and keep energy up during long meetings.

6. Pet-friendly offices

80% of employees in pet-friendly workplaces saying having pets nearby makes them feel happy, relaxed and sociable at work. Pet owners are much less likely to rush out at 5 p.m. if they know their pet is nearby and not waiting to go outside, and will be happy to save on dog walkers and doggy daycare programs. In addition, 15-minute dog walks during the day can help remind workers to take necessary breaks away from the computer, getting fresh air.

Amazon was one of the first larger companies to offer a pet-friendly policy and now has over 7,000 registered dogs at their Seattle Headquarters. While you should certainly have requirements around dogs being well-behaved and potty-trained, consider adding a benefit that will make almost everyone in the workplace happier.

7. Commuter benefits

Commuting is expensive, particularly for workers who are driving to the office or taking public transit to meetings throughout the day. Offer pre-tax commuter benefit cards, parking and bridge toll reimbursements, and ride-share allowances to cut down on commute costs. You can also add a bike room where workers can safely stash their bikes during the day. No matter the size or location of your company, this is a benefit that everyone will appreciate.

8. Stock options

Employees want to feel that their work has meaning, and helps the bigger picture. Stock options encourage an ownership mentality where everyone feels responsible for the highs and lows of a business, and everyone also financially benefits when the company does well. For startups that can’t offer top compensation packages, stock options are a meaningful benefit to attract employees willing to step into high risk, high reward scenarios.

Stock options also help to retain talent, as most options vest gradually before employees can exercise their options. A four-year vesting period may encourage some employees to stick around during low periods rather than accepting competitive offers because they expect the stock to be worth something in the future.

9. Health insurance

An SHRM survey found that 56% of U.S. adults considered whether or not they liked their health coverage as a key factor when deciding to stay in a job. The main satisfaction driver is comprehensive coverage, and the main dissatisfaction driver is the rising cost of healthcare that the employee is expected to pay. Rising costs mean that up to 39% of employed individuals may skip the doctor just to keep costs down, which translates to more sick days, more germs around the office, and lower productivity levels.

Work with your HR teams to offer varying tiers of healthcare coverage that provide options to your team, and give them flexibility in choosing manageable, comprehensive and affordable plans.

10. A sense of purpose

The last thing employees are looking for is the hardest to measure, but has a vast impact: Employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.

In addition to developing a clear company mission and clarifying company values, it is a company’s actions that will ultimately attract and retain talent. Companies should align with charitable causes and offering employees opportunities to get involved, recognize employees who reinforce the company mission, and making milestones rather than profit a thing that is celebrated.

So, which benefits can you implement and improve at your company?