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15 Out-Of-The-Box Perks Businesses Should Offer To Retain Top Talent

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at October 28, 2021

In today’s remote-first world, company perks have evolved beyond catered lunches and ping-pong tables. Attracting and retaining top talent in the current market requires employers to think outside the box and provide innovative workplace incentives to their teams.

The more creative and valuable your employee benefits package is, the more likely your employees are to stay loyal to your business. To help you craft an appealing set of perks, 15 members of Forbes Human Resources Council suggest some out-of-the-box benefits you can offer to improve your chances of retaining employees.

1. Four-Day Weekends

More vacation days should be offered that are counted—outside of sick days. A simple way of doing this is extending a three-day weekend into a four-day weekend since many people take off the day prior to a holiday weekend. It’s a sign of appreciation while acknowledging that people already are on vacation mode. – Danny Speros , Zenefits

2. More Paid Time Off

Additional, no questions asked, paid days off. Time to recharge, catch up on personal admin or reconnect with pursuits outside work is something many employees are increasingly struggling to access. As flexibility reduces and workers spend more time back in offices, women are disproportionately impacted and may especially appreciate more paid time off. – Bontle Senne , Virgin Media UK

3. Dependent Care

Dependent Care is one of the most critical needs highlighted in 2020. Families struggled to work from home, kids were home taking classes online and our elders living in community facilities were vulnerable and at risk. We will see the rise of companies offering cafeteria-style benefit plans allowing employees to choose the benefits and perks most valuable to their family and lifestyle. – Meg O’Connell, Global Disability Inclusion

4. Flexible Work Options

While not considered a “true perk”, flexibility is one of the most important retention benefits to offer in the workplace today. Studies show that flexibility such as remote working options, flexible hours and alternative work schedules not only helps with retention but can also enhance employee engagement and talent acquisition efforts. – Karen Hill, Otis College of Art and Design

5. Training Programs

A personalized upskilling and training program, based on algorithmic analysis of a person’s skill gap. As more enterprises move to automation and adopt digital processes into their day-to-day work, the skills required are changing fast. AI algorithms identify the skill gap in real-time and provide personalized training programs to keep employees’ skills updated and relevant. – Shay David, retrain.ai

6. Mental Health Resources

Mental health has taken a huge toll on workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Training managers and leaders to recognize the signs that someone may be struggling due to mental health is so important, so is making mental health care accessible. For example, by improving your EAP or adding a benefit like “Virtual Mental (Tele)Health” that is accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. – Laura Doner, Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

7. Increased Contributions

It’s difficult to compete with a lot of big companies that are offering great company perks. Our company changed our benefits contribution to cover more of the cost for our employees. We also increased our 401k match and gave all employees a non-elective contribution after 90 days whether they are contributing to the 401k plan or not. We’re also working on being more flexible, with a remote policy. – Tracy Ellison, Hilton Software

8. Personalized Flexibility

Pre-pandemic perks don’t work in our current environment. Instead, offering the personalized flexibility and balance employees need to meet their work and personal goals is key to helping them manage their work-life balance, physical health, mental wellbeing and family obligations. – Natalie Baumgartner, Achievers

9. Resume Boosters

Years ago, I worked for a Detroit manufacturer that gave employees a gallon of ice cream every Friday as an incentive. Lunch and Learn is a popular trend for companies that want to train employees in unconscious bias, customer support, or new operations procedures. Be sure to provide employees with a certificate of completion as an incentive for their resume portfolio. – CJ Eason, Hired In Michigan Career Institute

10. Acknowledgement Of Shifting Priorities

The great resignation is here and people are quitting in record numbers. People are prioritizing differently, and for many, it has become family first. Get to know your workforce and offer perks that wrap around the whole family. Offerings such as childcare, tutoring stipends, mental health days, online kid camps, elder care support resources or wellness for the whole family are just a few ideas. – Bianca McCann, SAP SuccessFactors


Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives across all industries. Do I qualify?


11. Annual Stipends

Offer something that really talks to the company you are or want to be in. As a leading digital innovator invested in driving genuine human impact, we have an annual amount that employees can utilize for new gadgets or well-being such as a gym membership or a vacation. – Paul Phillips, Avanade

12. Meetings With Leadership

Coffee and conversations with key leaders or decision-makers in the organization will be seen as a perk. This allows staff to ask questions, receive information in an open and transparent way, because they want to be involved and connected. As employers consider new ways to help with this desire, these will be seen as perks that have a great return on the investment of time and effort. – Tina R. Walker, California Community Foundation

13. Wellness Reimbursements

While still living and working during the pandemic, there has never been a time where employee wellness has been more important. Reimbursements for massages, acupuncture, meditation classes, yoga and online therapy, etc., support employee health both at work and at home. Employee wellness is essential to focus, presence and performance at work and in life. – Dana Garaventa, Opus One Winery LLC

14. Customized Gifts

The era of one-size-fits-all is over. The most underutilized perk is showing appreciation through a personalized and well-timed gift. Did an employee, who happens to be a wine lover, overdeliver on a key project? Buy them a good bottle. Do they enjoy comics? Buy them a rare edition. A well-timed and personal present builds much more goodwill than an end-of-year bonus. – Erik van Vulpen, AIHR | Academy to Innovate HR

15. Work-Life Balance Perks

True investment in lifelong learning. This can be traditional or non-traditional education. How do we invest in our people’s wellness? It could be a certification they are interested in or yoga classes. More and more, people want work-life fulfillment—not just balance. Get to know your people and know what is important to them. – Katie Ervin, Park University

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