Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders—in that order. – Simon Sinek

The days are long gone when employees expected very little from their employers except for their wages at the end of the month.

These days, increasing numbers of skilled professionals expect a lot more from the companies that they work for.

With many of the biggest names in the industry offering impressive perks and benefits for their workers, the pressure is on for companies of all sizes to up their game and to offer something more to their staff than simply the satisfaction of a job well done.

Recruitment and retention is always a problem in a competitive marketplace, and when companies are keen to attract the right kind of talent to their firm they need to think of what they can offer on top of an impressive salary package.

While company cars and pensions have been pretty standard for years, in the 21st century it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to think outside the box and to consider what employees really want.

With over a third of workers admitting to ranking perks and benefits as their top consideration when seeking employment, it’s no wonder that more companies than ever before are going above and beyond when it comes to impressing job applicants.

 

 So, what are the most popular employee perks in Australia?

1. Parental Benefits

Some of the top perks offered to employees surround parenting and parental leave.

Offering mothers and fathers ways to fit their working lives and home lives together more conveniently is a great way to keep parents (and especially working mothers) as part of the workforce.

Some companies have started offering extra time off work on full pay after the birth of a baby, not just to mothers, but to fathers too, with a more flexible work schedule following their return to work.

Some companies also offer free shipping home of breast milk if breastfeeding mothers have to travel on business, and some even offer to pay for egg freezing and fertility treatments.

On-site childcare facilities are also a key benefit for parents.

2. Health and Fitness

Fit employees are healthy employees, and healthy employees take less time off work due to sickness, so offering health and fitness perks such as gym membership or access to an on-site swimming pool is beneficial not only to workers but to businesses too.

Some companies go even further, giving an annual budget to employees to spend on a health and wellness activity of their own choice, having an on-site doctor and dentist, reimbursing gym membership fees, or even offering treatments such as acupuncture in the workplace.

Mental well-being is not forgotten either, with many companies offering free confidential counselling services to help combat stress at work.

3. Paid Time Off

One of the top things that employees look for in a potential employer is extra paid time off. It isn’t too surprising that many forward-thinking companies have started to offer paid sabbaticals, Christmas shopping days, days off on birthdays, paid time off for volunteering projects.

This is comparatively new, even enforced time off when the entire operation shuts down for a week.

4. Travel and Leisure

Business owners know that many employees are just biding time until their next holiday, and that’s why several of the industry-leading companies have started giving their staff travel and leisure-related perks and benefits.

From fully funded company holidays every year to unlimited annual leave, and from fully funded accommodation to discounts on hotels and flights, there’s no denying that giving workers the chance to get more out of their holidays is one of the top employee perks.

5. Food and Drink

The staff cafeteria has long been a fixture in many workplaces, but these days many companies have started giving their workers free food during their working day.

From a free meal for servers at fast food outlets to a full three catered meals a day, food and drink have started to become one of the most sought-after perks.

Some even offer free drinks on tap or discounted wine delivery services.

6. Student Loan Reimbursement

Repaying a student loan can take years, and can lead to ongoing debt problems for new graduates.

Now, many companies have realised that offering partial or even full loan reimbursement is a great way of attracting the brightest young talent to their organisation.

7. Free Benefits in the Workplace

Interestingly, although lucrative benefits may be extremely appealing and may persuade skilled candidates to apply for a position with a company.

Studies and surveys have shown that, in fact, the things which are likely to persuade employees to remain loyal to a firm are the things which money can’t buy.

Praise, appreciation and recognition for achievements in the workplace are extremely important to workers at all levels, while open communication and two way dialogue are also key to a company’s ability to retain staff.