Want To Attract Talented Workers? Consider Offering These Unconventional Benefits.

by Stevie Valle

Unconventional Employee Perks

As millennials enter the workforce in droves, businesses are looking for unique ways to attract top talent to their companies. Long gone are the days where merely offering a higher salary with stock options, 401Ks, or health benefits alone will cut it - top minds desire a great quality of life in addition to a great paycheck.

A 2012 study by Ask.com revealed that 95% of Americans consider job benefits and perks before deciding whether to accept a new job or leave a current job. With traditional benefits becoming relatively standard, what can your business offer to enhance the benefits package to attract (and keep) new talent? 


Telecommute/Flexible Work Hours

The work day is changing and your company may want to consider adapting to stay competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Millennial Branding conducted a survey on rising costs of hiring the new generation. Through their study, they found that 45% will choose flexibility benefits over increased pay.

Giving your employees the option to work from home or a coffee shop, for example, allows them to thrive in an environment that is conducive to their productivity needs. It also gives them the opportunity to handle their familial obligations while still being able to complete their workload.

Of course, this may not work for every industry, but if your employees do not have to be in office, affording them the opportunity to work how and when they can make the biggest impact benefits your company as much as the employee.


Unlimited Time Off

Earlier this year, GfK KnowledgePanel ran an online survey to find out vacation habits of US workers. What they found was that 5,641 workers who earn vacation left a cumulative 648 million vacation days on the table. When compared to other similar nations like the UK, for example, why are we hesitant to take the vacation we’ve earned?

According to the survey, while many factors such as fear of workload upon returning or lack of funds also contribute to this phenomenon, over 58% of those surveyed blamed a lack of support from their boss or colleague as the reason they stay. Furthermore, 80% said they would feel more comfortable taking time off if they felt encouraged by their boss or team.

Vacations offer your employees a chance to unwind and disconnect, leaving them refreshed with a new perspective when they return. This positively impacts their productivity and overall job satisfaction which directly improves their performance.


Student Loan Debt Reimbursement

Go to college,  get an education, and get a great job. It’s what our parents and teachers stressed ad nauseam growing up. Now, in 2016, many college graduates find themselves saddled with crippling student debt; to the tune of $1.4 trillion nationwide.

Companies like Fidelity, Nvidia, and SoFi are now using student debt repayment stipends to help attract quality talent. Ranging from $200/month to upwards of $6,000 annually, companies like these are noticing the priority shift from traditional benefits to something that resonates with many college graduates today.

Along these same lines, companies like The Home Depot and Apple Inc. offer their employees who are currently in school tuition reimbursement. This takes the away the immediate need for students to take on extra debt (a high portion of which is usually interest) and also helps them develop skills to succeed within your company after graduation.


Continuing Education

On the subject of education, many workers today are considering continuing their education. With new technologies debuting faster than ever before in nearly every industry, the need to stay current is vital to the success of your business.

Investing in the training and development of your employees is a no brainer. The Chicago Tribune reports that in a recent survey, the number one reason employees quit is due to lack of career development. But you don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar company to afford investing in continuing education for your team.

Inc. Magazine recently explored ways to develop the continuing education of your employees for companies without billions of dollars to spend a year. With local university and certification programs, you can help your team get specialized certifications for their roles (or future roles) at a lower cost than traditional degree programs. Additionally, some companies develop their own corporate universities to develop and re-skill their current workforce.


Dog Friendly Office

Did you know that roughly 37-47% of all households in the US own a dog? If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to feel the bond between an owner and their dog, you know that leaving them for 8+ hours a day while you go to the office is one of the toughest parts of your morning routine. Now, more and more companies let you bring your dog to work with you. 

Best of all, there is science to support this perk. A 2012 study by Commonwealth University found that workers who were allowed to have their dog by their side were more productive and experienced less stress throughout their day. They also found those who were allowed to bring their pets to work reported a higher over all satisfaction with their job.

Of course, when implementing a pet friendly office, you’ll need to consider a formal policy. For example, to help reduce the spread of illness, all dogs should be properly vaccinated and to avoid any other problems, the dog should be properly trained.


Just like selling your products or services to potential clients, the benefits you offer your employees is what will ultimately make someone choose you. This new generation is changing the way we think about work life, and by adapting to their needs, you’ll be on your way to attracting the best talent the workforce has to offer.


What unconventional perks do you offer your team? Share in the comments below!