HR Tip of the Week

Posted on  |  Employee benefits

6 Unique Benefits that Employees Love

Workplace benefits and perks can help you demonstrate your commitment to employees and attract and retain top talent. To remain competitive in the market, employers have come up with innovative ways to compete for talent. Here are six benefits to consider:

#1: Unlimited Vacation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers provide employees with an average of 10 vacation days after one year of service and 15 days after five years of service. A few employers offer unlimited vacation time, trusting that employees will use their professional judgment when deciding when and how much time off to take.

Unlimited vacation policies can decrease the administrative burden of tracking vacation accruals and increase employee flexibility and autonomy. If you are considering an unlimited vacation policy, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Require approval. Even though employees can take time off when needed, establish a process for employees to request time off in advance and ensure you have proper coverage while the employee is out.
  • Performance issues. Remind employees that they are still expected to meet deadlines and performance expectations. If an employee is not meeting required targets, address the issue by focusing on their performance instead of reprimanding the employee for how many vacation days he or she has taken.
  • State considerations. If you are transitioning from an accrual structure to an unlimited vacation program, the transition may be more complicated in states that require payout for unused time. These states may require the employer to pay out any accrued, unused vacation prior to switching to an unlimited policy. Check your state law to ensure compliance.

#2: Summer Fridays

During the summer months, some companies allow employees to work an abbreviated day on Fridays or give employees the day off entirely, often referred to as "Summer Fridays." Employees may still be expected to work 40 hours, but they do so Monday through Thursday so they can take a half or full day off on Fridays. This is a type of compressed workweek and has grown in popularity as employers try to offer flexible schedules.

If you offer this type of schedule remember that some states (and certain industries), including Alaska, California, Colorado, and Nevada, require overtime pay when non-exempt employees work more than a certain number of hours in a workday. Although, some states may allow employers to adopt alternative schedules (eliminating the daily overtime requirement) if certain conditions are met. Check your specific law to ensure compliance.

#3: Bring in the Expert

Consider bringing in experts to teach your employees about issues that are important to them. If possible, look to your local community to facilitate these discussions. For example:

  • Coaches: If you have avid runners or bikers, bring in a coach to offer tips to improve performance.
  • Chefs: Chefs can show employees how to make quick, delicious, and healthy meals.
  • Wellness professionals: Some employers bring in yoga or fitness instructors to help promote physical activity, relieve stress and improve employee morale.
  • Financial professionals: Financial experts can help your employees better manage their money and plan for retirement.

#4: Wild Card

The element of surprise can be an effective way to promote engagement. Once a month, consider surprising one or more employees with a unique experience, such as:

  • A day off to attend a sporting event or go to the spa;
  • A team outing at the movies or bowling alley; or
  • An ice cream or food truck outside the building.

Consider your employees' interests and tailor the surprises accordingly.

#5: Snack Cart/Snack Stations

A number of employers provide their employees with mobile snack carts or fixed snack stations. Consider having healthy snacks on hand in your breakroom as well as snacks and treats tied to certain holidays or other events, such as a holiday cookie station.

#6: Bring Your Dog to Work

If your workplace is conducive to welcoming dogs, they can have a positive impact on the work environment. Before considering whether to allow dogs into your workplace, check with your landlord (or review your leasing agreement). Some employees may have allergies or a fear of dogs, so survey your employees anonymously and ask whether they would feel comfortable working with dogs.

If a policy makes sense for your business, here are some factors to consider:

  • Eligibility. Explain what requirements employees must meet in order to bring their dogs, such as proof of up to date vaccinations and no known health issues. Also, explain what types of dogs shouldn't be brought to the workplace, such as dogs that have shown any aggression, sick dogs, puppies, dogs that chew furniture and equipment, or dogs that would suffer anxiety.
  • Frequency. Define limits on the number of dogs each employee can bring to the workplace and how often (every day, once a week, once per year).
  • Conduct. Outline proper etiquette on approaching co-workers' dogs and establish rules for dog owners (such as requiring dogs to be on a leash while on company property, exercising the dog throughout the day to relieve stress and help prevent behavior issues, and requiring employees to clean up after their dogs).
  • Maintain flexibility. Reserve the right to ask an employee to remove their dog at any time, whether it's due to multiple accidents, frequent barking, signs of aggression, or any other reason you deem necessary to maintain a safe and productive workplace.
  • Disclaimer. Include language that indicates the dog's owner is solely responsible and liable should their dog cause an injury or damage to company property.


You don't have to operate in the tech industry to offer creative perks and benefits. Evaluate what makes sense for your business, fits into your budget, and keeps your employees motivated and engaged.

    Most popular