When you think about benefits for your employees, which benefits come to mind? My guess would be the usual benefits such as medical insurance, paid time off, holiday pay, dental, vision, etc.

These are great benefits, no doubt, but digging in to see what your teams really need to make work and life balance each other can pay dividends in employee engagement.

Growing your company? Use unique benefits to make a job offer enticing so applicants take your offer instead of another company’s offer.

In today’s workforce, there are many benefits that are expected and it’s the unique benefits that people want to brag about to their friends and family. The more people talk about the company they work for, the more engaged they are as an employee and the more they feel the employer cares about them. As a company, it’s always best to have the latest and greatest for your customer; the same thinking should go for your employees.

The rest of this article will discuss a few benefits that revolve around transportation, but use your imagination and get to know your team in order to know what will make them want to go the extra mile for you and your customers.

Telecommuting

There is a lot of buzz about this benefit, but be aware that it’s not a one-size-fit-all benefit. Telecommuting can mean a variety of things. Someone may only be working from home and never set foot into the company’s office, or perhaps it’s a mix of an office share space, a home office and the company’s headquarters and the location changes weekly.

What’s important about this benefit is that everyone is getting what they need or there may be trouble down the road. If someone thinks it’s best for them to have a home office, yet they are in need of face-to-face meetings to get their job done, it’s not going to be as effective as it could be. Set expectations early so it is a winning situation for everyone involved and evaluate this benefit often to make sure that it still works for your business.

Discounts or reimbursements on public transportation

If your team relies on public transportation, this may be a great benefit to offer them. Whether it is a discount of a certain percentage or a total reimbursement, it will not only make your employees happy with a smaller bus, train, Uber or taxi bill, but it will help the environment by encouraging more people to use public transportation. There are even guidelines for reimbursements for bike commuters.

As an added bonus, there can be tax benefits to the company for offering these benefits. A great website to check on the tax information would be the IRS website. Specifically, here is the link to the most recent IRS guide to fringe benefits: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15b.pdf.

Ride share groups

Further information can be shared about ride sharing if there are employees traveling from afar. In these situations, it would be best to not force the relationship, but to offer the information to the team and let the relationships form organically for those that are interested in doing a ride share group.

For the frequent traveler

If you have employees that travel for any part of their job, it is well worth it to make sure you are following the most recent reimbursement guidelines for mileage, meal and hotel stays. Beyond that, think outside the box about how you can further entice them to be happy and engaged on the road — which leads to more productivity.

The benefits of reimbursing for a drop-in aerobic/yoga class will pay off in reduced insurance claim dollars by promoting a healthy lifestyle. It will also show that you as a company care about their outside interests and want them to be happy and healthy outside of the workplace.

Are they traveling to the same place frequently? Perhaps the company can help locate a place to volunteer while they are there, which will not only put a good light on the company, but also feels good for everyone involved. Again, thinking specifically about what would hit home with your employee is where you will get the most return.

Communicate your benefits

These are just a few ideas of benefits that could be offered in addition to what you already offer. Do you already offer some unique benefits that aren’t being utilized? Communication is the name of the game — letting the team know what is offered will ensure everyone is aware of what is out there. Just because you know they are there, doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t need to be promoted every now and again.

While communicating these benefits, ask what other benefits the employees would like to see. An employee survey can also gather information about what people would like to see as additional benefits in the company.

Certain unique benefits may work better for some companies than others. Be sure to make a decision based on your company’s specific needs and to offer your team the things that will connect with them, while keeping fairness in mind. Research lists on the Internet of great places to work to start searching for that next best thing for your team.

Brooke Richartz, a Society for Human Resource Management — Senior Certified Professional, is in human resources at Festival Foods. She is also director of public relations and marketing for the Chippewa Valley Society for Human Resources Management. To connect with her, please reach out on LinkedIn or email at brichartz@festfoods.com.

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