Unique Employee Perks That Go a Long Way with a Small Investment

Happy employees are more productive, committed, and loyal – qualities you should be seeking in people prior to hiring, but what about after they have joined your company? An employee’s overall happiness is key to a company’s success.  Finding new and innovative ways to offer employee perks is a consistent way of showing appreciation.

Remember this,  “People rarely remember what you did, but always remember how you made them feel.”

The simple and first way most think to incentivize employees is with a salary increase, but there are other ways to reward your people other than financially. Here are 12 perks offered by businesses within the U.S. that you should consider offering to your employees.

Even if you are a traditional business that is bootstrapping your way to success it’s important you think about the potential ROI of implementing these incentives and leveraging your group purchasing power.  In addition, you will most likely support other local businesses in the process.

Most of these listed will require some planning, policies, and procedures to keep the perk from being abused, but with the proper mindset, you are certain to increase employee retention and engagement.

Keep this in mind, If you spend an additional $500 a month for each employee on these perks and receive an additional 10 productive working hours, what is that worth to your business?

Perks don’t just need to be perks.  As an employer you can calculate an ROI into the perks I lost below, which may show up later in the area of production, or decreased turnover.

  1. Pet-Friendly Office

Let me first encourage you to check with the landlord for your office space to be certain pets are allowed.  If furry friends can roam the office, allow your employees to bring their pets with them. You will need some guidelines such as affirming the pet is trained and plays well with others, but pets have scientifically proven to increase the happiness of people.

2. Gym memberships

There are a wide array of options when it comes to choosing a gym, but try contacting local gyms close to your office to obtain a group purchasing agreement on a month to month basis.  Any gym will be excited to have your business, especially if you have a large number of people. Healthy people are happy people, and happy people are productive people. This is the ultimate win win.  And since you are paying for the memberships, try adding in a competition held monthly or quarterly based on fitness goals such as how many times each employee went to the gym, steps, miles completed, calories burned, etc.

3. Flexible office hours

Many employers shutter when they hear the option of flexible office hours.  A typical excuse is “that just won’t work in our business”, but that isn’t true.  Before you implement flexible office hours you first need to have clarity on the expectations for each employee so there is no ambiguity about what needs to be accomplished and when.

Secondarily, your company may need to have set core hours which are the hours every employee needs to be present.  An example of this is our office. We have core hours of 9:30am-3: 30 pm and everyone has a specific goal to meet for the day.  Some people prefer to come in earlier, others prefer to stay late, but everyone has a detailed set of accomplishments that needs to be obtained prior to leaving.  This type of office environments gives your people the flexibility to take their kids to school, hit the gym early before the rush, or enjoy a longer lunch.

4. Unlimited time off

Here is another one that shocks most employers, but just like flexible office hours, an unlimited time off policy can only work if you have a certain set of tasks, goals, deadlines, and accomplishments that need to be met.  Offering a perk like this requires your employees to be mature and recognize the responsibility of their work and accountability to the team they work with. An incentive like this could be earned instead of a given, but the employees who understand the mission will embrace the unlimited time off policy properly.

5. Family benefits

Consider offering maternity and paternity leave to your employees.  In the grand scheme, if you preach family first it’s important to show this in your perks.  In addition, you should have your business set up for everyone to work remotely from a company laptop if needed.  We live in a world which offers tracking tools for accountability of our actions which means offering family time off is achievable.

6. Onsite health services

If you are a small business you may not be able to build out a medical facility on site, but an easy way to offer health services is to contact a local physician or physician group and work out a plan for them to receive a health assessment.  One of the growing areas of popularity right now are allergy tests. Your health insurance plan will most likely cover the basics but consider services for other areas of preventative medicine. A healthier employee takes less time off, and infects less people 🙂

7. Volunteer hours

Allow your employees an allotted amount of time off each year to volunteer to an organization of their choice, or better yet, coordinate with your entire staff to volunteer time and resources to a non-profit group which will give your employees out of the office time, build company morale, and ultimately help a group in need.

8. Student loan debt reimbursement

This one should peek some ears!  It’s estimated that 70% of Americans with a bachelor’s degree have student loan debt according to Market Watch


Implement a program that offers to pay for their student loan debt in exchange for a time of work with your company.  This will require some specific legal language in your offer letter that may include an employee repayment if they leave your company during a certain time period, but ultimately it is a win-win for all parties with the proper boundaries set in place.

9. Laundry service

No one likes to do laundry!  Well, maybe some, but adding a laundry pickup and drop off service at your office will save your employees time at home, which in turn may offer them the ability to work at the office more or put in more time toward work since you took an unwanted task out of their life.  Try contacting local laundry services in your area and again use the power of group purchasing. We use In a Snap Laundry in our office who has implemented an uber style pick up and drop off office laundry service in the Orlando area.


10. Co-lab working space

Co-lab working spaces are becoming very popular, whether you are expanding your company to a new city or even looking to move your main headquarters into one.  Companies such as WeWork (www.wework.com) or Industrious (www.industriousoffice.com) offer a ton of perks for your employees as one set cost per seat.  These companies understand the power of a strong working environment and have even started to add art classes, exercise facilities and co-living spaces along with the workspace.

11. Luggage party

Once a quarter offer a luggage party where each employee brings 1 piece of luggage packed with the proper attire for a vacation you have scheduled.  You can have a drawing on Friday afternoon and the employee chosen from a raffle has a limo waiting for them to take them to an airport or cruise line for a weekend getaway, all expenses paid.  Again, you can either offer this as a general perk or tie toward some form or performance.

12. In office massages

Set aside an area in your office and schedule a massage therapist in monthly for chair massages.  15-20 minutes of massage goes a long way for someone’s mental and physical health.

At some point in everyone’s career, a decision needs to be made to stay with the current employer or change companies for a new opportunity. The reason for change can vary, but if you add some of the perks I suggested you can be certain if an employee is leaving your company it won’t be because they weren’t appreciated.

patrick sirmeyer