10 Unique Ways to Reward your Top Talent in 2014.

We all know that appreciation and recognition are among the top methods in gaining employees’ loyalty and increasing their productivity. We also know that we should never underestimate the importance of showing our workers that they’re highly valued.

But the idea of employee benefits goes far beyond motivating – it is what builds workplace culture, what distinguishes the company from a hundred others of its kind, and finally – what gives it character. To build a uniquely profiled workplace (whether health-oriented, fun, or green) and attract, then keep on board  quality people, one needs to spend some time Imageaddressing the ‘employee perks’ topic.

Today, I would like to step away from the most popular ‘how to do it on a budget’ approach and lean toward original solutions.  Some of my suggestions won’t cost you a dime, while others may seem extravagant and pricey. The underlying idea here is to trigger and inspire a thought process that can produce perks more creative than ‘casual Fridays’.

Here we go:

1. Massage in the office. Anyone who spends 8 hours a day in the office, staring at the computer or leaning over a desk, knows the burden of neck/ back pains, tension, and stress. I can’t think of any better way to reduce that discomfort, than to enjoy an hour massage right in the office during work hours. Regular massages improve office morale, decrease the risk of long term back injuries, and increase employee’s productivity (as they permit focus on the job at hand, rather than on the back pain).

2. A nap room. Although the idea of having a ‘nap room’ in the office may sound like a bad joke, it’s actually a great solution to effectively and naturally manage workers’ energy level throughout the day. It’s been proven that a 10-15 minute energy nap in the early afternoon, can take you from Slow to Go! All you need is a Lazy-Boy and some space.

 3. On-site yoga classes. Bringing a yoga instructor into the office once a week is a relatively inexpensive way to combine a stress releasing activity with a team-building exercise. If you aim to give your employees a boost of energy rather than relax them, replace the afternoon yoga with a morning Zumba class!

4. Applaud their effort. Literally Recognition feels good. It boosts confidence and makes people smile. Next time one of your employees does something extraordinary, instead of merely mentioning it during the weekly meeting, have your staff give him/her standing ovations.

5. Scavenger hunt outing. Company outings are a very popular way to reward your employees. Unfortunately, they’re often standardized and, let’s face it, straight up boring.   Replace your traditional ‘bowling night’ or  Friday luncheon with an adventurous Scavenger hunt. Yes, it will take more planning, but it’s also way more fun, and it can be adapted to almost any environment : from the woods of North Carolina, to the Florida beaches, or even a big city hunt for metropolitan areas!

6. On-site farmers-market. Promote a healthy lifestyle among your employees by inviting local vendors to the office twice a month to let your staff stock up on organic produce. Depending on your budget, you can fully sponsor these bi-weekly markets or offer discounted prices (supported by a convenient way to get the grocery shopping out of the way at work).

7. Scrapbook. Make the year 2013 about preserving and sharing memories. Leave the standard Hallmark cards behind and celebrate each employee’s birthday with a scrapbook created by their coworkers. The scrapbook can include coworkers’ memories about the employee, it should highlight his/her achievements, and underline his/her impact on the company.   Make it personal; make it meaningful; make it one of a kind!

8. Alternative transportation. If you want your company to be eco-friendly, encourage your employees to stop driving their car to work every day.  Reward your staff -financially or otherwise – each time they carpool, utilize public transportation, or ride their bike to work.

9. On-site free hair cuts.  A polished look of the employees is often an important element of your company image; and what can immediately improve individual appearance more than a good haircut? Free and onsite haircuts can be little time & money saving wonders.

10.  “Suggest your own perk” benefit. The employee of the month/year gets to implement a new way of making the workplace a nicer place to be.

Remember, what makes a great benefit is not just its generosity, it’s the creative approach that aims at increasing overall contentment and efficiency of employees, and builds a strong, authentic, and consistent workplace culture.

If you’re company wants to learn about the latest technologies, best practices and solutions  in the Employee Benefits world, join us at the Employee Benefit Summit on January 27th in NYC

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