Thinking Outside The Benefits Box

Oh to be a high tech firm in Silicon Valley — where over-the-top perks are as common as cash! While very few schools have the kinds of budgets that can offer foosball tables or free on-site pet sitting for Mrs. Boswell’s Boston terrier — you can still learn a little something by peeking into the lap of luxury. Everyone needs a little TLC, and perhaps no one more than teachers.

Like it or not, we all spend the majority of our waking workweeks  — well, working. Whether you are in the classroom or in swanky office with lava lamps, fireman’s poles, spas and nap rooms (ooooh…nap rooms!), the smartest organizations make their employees’ time at work as comfortable as possible. After all, a happy staff means higher productivity, greater creativity and less turnover.  One way to perk up your team? Invest in their overall contentment with appealing little perks.

Defining perks and benefits 

These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but here’s how we’ll define the two types of company extras:

 Benefits – as in employee benefits – are a form of non-wage compensation. If not offered by the employer, employees would likely have to fund them themselves. These include things like healthcare, (medical, dental, vision), 401K, etc.

 Perks – as in perquisites or company perks – are nice-to-have additions to an employee’s salary and benefits package. We define perks as above-and-beyond offerings that may improve recruitment, and make the difference to staff when choosing your school over another.  Think “icing on the cake”, “culture builders”, and “ways to set your school apart and keep your teachers sane.”

5 persuasive perks to enhance recruitment and retention

  1.  Workplace wellness programs. Your employees are the most valuable resource you have, so be sure to invest in their health and wellness. Whether it’s through a paid gym membership program, on-site yoga classes or health screenings (or all of the above), this is the perk that keeps on giving considering how wellness affects productivity and creativity. You don’t need to have an in-house bicycle track, basketball court and skateboard park (seriously, Google?) to keep people healthy – little things go a long way.
  2. Free food (and good coffee). Some companies, like Google and Pixar, go all out,
    offering every meal, snack and treat for free. No kidding! Every. Single. Meal! This appetizing perk can save employees a lot of time and money. (Plus, it’s great for spontaneous eaters/poor meal planners.) But for a more realistic budget, you can provide healthy snacks that are delivered right to your teachers’ lounge, or even offer home meal deliveries. And EVERY school can afford good coffee every single day.snacks
  3. Mental Health. Health perks are not just limited to the physical realm. In one large high-tech firm, employees are given stipends to “seek out and overcome their fears, whether business-related or personal.” Some have taken professional boxing courses, others singing or dancing lessons. Can’t afford that?  Employee assistant programs are an inexpensive way to get employees help with personal or family problems, including mental health, marital problems, or various addictions.  Equally important, make sure your staff are aware of free mental health services provided under the Affordable Care Act.  Be creative and find ways to keep your teachers happy in mind and spirit.
  4. Concierge services. Employees value work-life balance. Top firms win over employees (and recruits) by providing access to a concierge service that assists with daily tasks like dry cleaning pickup or basic auto servicing. Think about small ways you can save your staff time and money and add real value, like mobile scheduling of doctor and dental appointments or personal financial planning advice.
  5. Transportation & Lifestyle DiscountsIf employees have to travel long distances, pay tolls and parking, cross bridges, traverse tunnels or brave public transportation, offering to foot part or all of the bill (via pre-tax dollars) can be a big plus. Or you might consider offering an employee purchasing program that allows your staff members to purchase brand name electronics, furniture and other daily items, interest-free.  Your teachers will appreciate the fact that their school is looking out for them and their hard-earned dollars.

While great perks will no doubt help your efforts to recruit and retain good people, remember that top talent wants to work with schools whose values align with their own. Build and promote your own brand of compelling culture, and establish a reputation for fostering a supportive, creative working environment that puts employees first.  Couple this with a relentless focus on academic rigor and student achievement, and you’ll undoubtedly see a rise in academic outcomes for children.

Looking for creative ways to perk up your staff? Just ask! Contact us at hello@littbirdhr today.

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