Learn More About Perks

Best practices, examples and the best ways to use them to elevate your recognition programs.

In today's workplace, company perks are no longer a "perk." They're expected! So what are perks?

Perks are a variety of reward types to meet the diverse needs of today's workforce, they shouldn't be confused with traditional employee benefits (like health, dental, or vision insurance). They are a different type of reward used to support employees beyond standard pay and benefits. Perks are powerful incentives within an employee recognition program as their variety and scope will tap into internal motivators that will inspire action from their employees.  Perks should be fun, meaningful, and unique to your company culture!

Perks are a great addition to your recognition program outside of traditional rewards. As you begin to think about company perks, it’s important to remember that they are a combination of different reward types to personalize the employee experience and show them that they are appreciated.

Although to understand perks, you need to understand employee rewards .This will provide more context before we dive in to perk best practices and examples.

Different Types of Employee Rewards

As you begin to build out your perk offerings, let's begin with the different reward types and a definition of each. Creating a total rewards strategy is imperative when you aim to meet the needs of your diverse workforce. The most effective recognition programs have a combination of all of them.

Before you decide what's best for your company, read through each category below and jot down what you already have in place now so you can quickly add them to to your Recognition Program in Sparck.

  • Cash reward: This is a financial reward, including cash and other cash equivalents such as stock options.   
  • Tangible noncash reward:  This is a reward that has a tangible or financial value but isn’t a cash reward. Some examples of this include incentive travel, gift cards, and company merchandise.
  • Intangible reward:  The often overlooked yet significant piece of any recognition program. It doesn’t have a financial or tangible value but is the experience of receiving the recognition such as a written note or a public shoutout during a team meeting. Don’t worry about setting this up, the Sparck system will help you personalize the recognition experience for each employee in a way that’s most meaningful to them. (Hint:  The reward experience is just as important as the reward itself, so uncovering those recognition preferences are crucial). 
  • Company Perks:  Any advantage that is provided in addition to salary that may or may not have a cash or tangible benefit. These perks can be a combination of the three types of rewards described above. This can also include unique company incentives such as a front row parking spot or lunch with the CEO.  If you want ideas, there is a dropdown list of ideas to get you started when you Add a Perk in the Sparck system. .

Once you've determined what rewards you want to include, you can allocate them to different perk levels based on your budget and align them with the accomplishments you will recognize  - as we know, not all perks are created equal. Remember, the best perks will be based on your unique company culture because they are rare, so they will look different for each organization. 

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Perk Best Practices

  • First and foremost, include perks based on your company culture. They will help reinforce the value of your organization and the opportunity within them which will and help attract and retain the best talent. As an example, invitation to a board meeting, an exclusive networking event, mentorship time with an executive. 
  • Do not expect perks to define your company culture or completely engage your employees. They are meant to compliment your employee experience strategies to tap into the internal motivators, goals and interests of your valuable people. 
  • If you have the budget, include both cash and non-cash rewards in your different perk levels. For example, an employee could receive perks ranging from casual Wednesday  (no cost) to receiving a tuition reimbursement (e.g. $3,000/year). 
  • Set clear qualification guidelines for the different perk levels or perk offering - You can do that straight from the Sparck platform. It's also important to make sure the reward matches the accomplishment. If it's someone's birthday, that shouldn't qualify to get mentorship time with an executive. If you have 300+ employees, that would be a full-time job for the C-Suite team. 
  • Let your employees choose the types of perks that would mean the most to them. Better yet, have your managers understand what perks mean the most to each person and personalize the "gifting" experience when they are eligible based on their accomplishments (Sparck will help your managers with that, don't worry).
  • Variety in your perks is essential! A one-size-fits-all model won't work, everyone is motivated differently and their experience in the workplace should be the same. 
  • If you have remote employees or multiple office locations, select a variety of perks that can be accessible regardless of where your employees live, work, or play. 

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Examples of Perks

Now that you know what a perk is, how they can elevate your recognition program, and best practices to implement...let's get the wheels turning. Below are some of the top perks being offered today! 

  1. Bring your pet to work day 
  2. A free car wash (from someone in the company so it saves money) =)
  3. Create your own company holiday for that year 
  4. Nap or lounge room 
  5. Designated parking spot 
  6. Flexible schedule 
  7. Peer or expert mentoring 
  8. Lunch with an executive 
  9. Create an employee club or interest-based activities 
  10. Flex work hours (choice in start/end time) for x amount of time 
  11. Volunteer time at favorite charity 
  12. Onsite lactation / mother's room 
  13. Siestas:  brief break for extended lunch, personal errands or rest
  14. An assistant for x amount of time (someone in the company, maybe an executive or manager to make it fun) 
  15. Free lunch of their choice 
  16. Flexible dress code 
  17. Letting employees make an inexpensive executive decision
  18. Time off work for "pet projects" 
  19. On-site charity opportunities (e.g. blood drive, donation collections for a specific cause) 
  20. Attend an event or training that is typically for a position higher than their own 
  21. Generous parental and caregiver leave 
  22. Free desktop music 
  23. Team bonding events (ex. virtual escape room) 
  24. Technology and Community Discounts (a lot of companies offer these that can be passed down to your employees) 
  25. Fitness class 
  26. Dry cleaning service 
  27. Bike to work reimbursement 
  28. Preventive Doctor Visit Incentive 
  29. Change your work location for x amount of time (an office, lounge room, etc.) 
  30. Desk change for the year 
  31. PTO for your Birthday or Workiversary 
  32. Get out of the office free card 
  33. Access to additional training / education (ex. subscription to LinkedIn Learning) 
  34. Lunch and Learn for a topic of their choice 
  35. Mentor program for x amount of time 
  36. Work in another department for the day/week/month
  37. Stipend for professional development 
  38. Free breakfast or their favorite coffee delivered for x amount of time 
  39. Deliver (like DoorDash) a meal 
  40. Fitness stipend
  41. Fun Friday (half day) 
  42. Outdoor meeting location of their choice (or a walking meeting) 
  43. Perks that the corporate credit card earns can be passed on to an employee (not sure what that would be but just as an idea)
  44. Free books / audible membership / podcasts, etc. 
  45. Lifestyle advice (legal, financial, etc.) 
  46. Student loan assistance 
  47. Tuition assistance up to x amount 
  48. Free Day Care Services 
  49. Free snacks of their choice in the breakroom 
  50. Free coffee of their choice in the breakroom 
  51. Swag Contest (design the next T Shirt or mug) 
  52. Invest in Art (employee can help pick the art in the office) 
  53. Mental Health Benefits 
  54. Match Charitable Contributions up to x amount
  55. Indoor plants or flowers 
  56. Employee-Selected Snacks 
  57. Stress Management Course
  58. Bring your child to work day 
  59. Mid-Day Fitness Class 
  60. X amount of time to work on a passion project 
  61. Ride to and from work from someone in the company (executive, management team, etc.)

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Next Steps