Unique Employee Benefits: The New Norm for Attracting Top Talent?

By Jeanette Coleman, SPHR & SHRM-SCP on Sep 14, 2023
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In the evolving landscape of 2023's business world, the age-old adage of 'people are a company's greatest asset' has never rung truer. Companies are fiercely competing to win the hearts and minds of top-tier talent, and the battlefield has shifted from just salary wars to the realm of unique employee benefits. 

No longer limited to conventional health insurance or 401(k) matching, today's benefits package is a colorful tapestry of perks—ranging from pet health insurance and gym memberships to financial wellness programs.

Furthermore, with a greater emphasis on work-life balance, benefits such as paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as unlimited PTO, are not just seen as luxuries but are fast becoming the norm. Let's explore the unique employee benefits trends shaping the workplace in 2023.

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5 Unique Employee Benefits Trends for 2023

One way to help bridge the gap is to find balance when it comes to employee benefits. This way, your business can stay competitive, communicate a commitment to employee well-being and perhaps even retain top employees when competitors attempt to poach them. And for the most part, without it even costing your organization money.

So, what progressive employee benefits are gaining popularity? Here's a quick summary:

  • Paid maternity leave

As many as 35% of organizations are now offering paid maternity leave (and another 29% offer paid paternity leave). This gives working mothers more time to recover after childbirth and bond with their newborn baby without foregoing their salary.

Offering paid maternity leave benefits the organization, too, as it makes it easier to recruit and retain top talent and helps ensure new moms are well-rested, healthy and energized when they return to work.

  • Financial wellness programs

Personal financial stress can wreak havoc on the workplace. Employees who are struggling financially are less likely to receive the preventive services they need (physicals, immunizations, dental and vision exams and more), which means they may be at increased risk of chronic health conditions, emergency room visits, absenteeism and high healthcare costs.

Additionally, financial stress can lead to changes in behavior and attitude, which can have a dramatic effect on the overall culture in the workplace. Employees who are struggling to make ends meet may be more enticed by other job offers and are at a heightened risk of leaving your organization for more money, even if it’s not substantial.

Overall, financial wellness programs are a great unique employee benefit option and can be an inexpensive way to invest in employee wellness, as well as save money in the long run.

  • Gym memberships

Gym memberships are an easy way to enter the progressive benefits arena without a lot of commitment or investment. Corporate discounts are a win-win. As noted, the employer can often offer them at no cost to the organization and the fitness center benefits, too, because employees are incentivized to join their gym over the competition. 

  • Unlimited PTO

Prism HR found that 19% of organizations are offering a progressive PTO policy, which allows employees to take as much time off as they need or want in a year.

While small and medium-sized businesses often shudder at the concept—specifically wondering how abuse is prevented—a professional employer organization (PEO) can help set up a plan that works (and hold those who don't meet the expectations of their job accountable).

Unlimited PTO doesn't cost a thing for most employers, as employees are expected to deliver results just as they would if they had a limited bank to draw from.

  • Pet insurance

Much like corporate discounts, organizations can offer supplemental pet insurance at no cost to the organization. Doing so communicates you recognize diversity among employees, care about employee financial well-being and want to help. It's likely you have some pet parents and they want to feel the benefits package takes them into consideration, too.

volunteer time off

Other Progressive Employee Benefits

Other unique progressive employee benefits include:

While these are just some of the progressive employee benefits trends we're seeing, creativity can help maintain your competitive edge. For example, Starbucks is now offering Spotify Premium memberships for staff, and Google encourages employees to bring their pets to work.

RELATED: Why Employers May Want More "Take Your Dog to Work" Days >>

How a Professional Employer Organization Can Help

Bringing on new, unique employee benefits can feel overwhelming, but evolution is necessary to stay relevant as an employer. Not only do you need to find the budget for it and convince the executive team, but long-term plan administration can take a lot of time and effort that could be going toward more important things, like culture and strategy, which isn't always feasible for smaller businesses.

That's where a professional employer organization (PEO) comes into play. A PEO gives small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to offer Fortune 500-level benefits at a rate they can afford. What's more, PEOs provide expertise and administration at a portion of what it would cost to do it yourself. What would you offer if the sky was the limit?

If you have questions about offering unique employee benefits and how a PEO can help, reach out to us today.

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