The benefits of employee perks are obvious: cool freebies and services attract more talent, and keep current workers happy. And happy workers make successful companies: they work 12% harder, according to research, and take up to 10 times fewer sick days. To quote The Atlantic, “we are living in an Age of Peak Perk.”
There’s an added benefit of offerings employee perks that are one-of-a-kind. As the baseline gets more extravagant, it’s harder to stand out from the rest. Unlimited vacation days and nap rooms are great, but if you’re looking to really attract the top-tier candidates, you need employee perks unique to your brand – and ideally, things that align closely with your overall employer branding message.
Need some inspiration? Here’s a look at nine unique employee perks that help to brand the company – while keeping the workers happy.
Burton’s ski passes
The Vermont-based snowboard maker offers free season passes to employees – and newcomers can also benefit from free lessons and demo gear. “We live our passion for snowboarding and full season active lifestyles,” says Burton. “We’re all about making it easy to stay active and connected to our culture.”
Jagex’s bicycle repairs
The British gaming company brings in a team of bike experts every week, and invites staff to bring in their bikes for upkeep and repairs, “thus encouraging a greener and cheaper approach to commuting each day,” says Jagex.
Newcomers to the San Francisco tech company get a track jacket and a Kindle with a $30 monthly credit – but only once they create a Twilio app and present it to the company. A recent Forbes profile on the company explains: “most of the apps are goofy. One answers text queries with a Simpsons’ GIF. Another allows users to text a math problem and promptly delivers an answer from Wolfram Alpha, a Web-based knowledge engine that does computations. The takeaway, however, is serious: Anyone can build a Twilio app.”
REI’s “Yay Days”
Extra days off aren’t new, but outdoor gear company REI Co-op’s Yay Days – one each six months – are specifically for having fun outside. “Yay Day gives our employees a chance to get inspired by the outdoors, by engaging in their favorite outdoor activity or helping create access to inspirational places through stewardship,” says REI.
Auto Trader’s wine club
The British company (not to be confused with the American one by the same name) offers employees a wine club, with discounted wine delivered to their door each month. They also offer a buy/sell approach to time off, where staff can buy up to five extra days, or sell off days to get other benefits.
Epic Systems Corporation’s sabbaticals
Every five years, employees of this healthcare software company are entitled to a four-week paid sabbatical. But here’s the bonus: “If you choose to spend your sabbatical in a country you’ve never been to before,” says Epic, “we will help fund the trip for you and a guest.” The company reports that staff have taken more than 3,000 trips so far: a travel blog on the website even chronicles their stories.
OpenDNS’s ice cream truck
The perks at this tech company range from waffle Wednesdays to catered lunches, but one of the most unique offerings is the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck in the parking lot during the summer.
Miele’s in-house kitchen
Having a kitchen to cook your own meals isn’t necessarily a plus. But when the food prep space is filled with this German appliance manufacturer’s cutting-edge, state-of-the-art appliances, lunch gets a lot more fun.
Starbucks’s bachelor degrees
The coffee shop mogul partners with Arizona State University to offer full tuition coverage to all employees – both part- and full-time. “Partners receive support from a dedicated team of coaches and advisors, 24/7 tutoring on a variety of subjects, and a choice of more than 60 undergraduate degrees through ASU’s research driven and top-ranked program, delivered online,” says Starbucks.
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