Looking For Job in 2017? Find Companies With These Hot Employee Perks
The following is a guest post by NerdWallet writer Anna Helhoski. Her bio follows.
Employers have found that making workers happy can be as simple as sweetening the deal. Whether you’re in a rut with your current job or just starting out, look for companies that offer a few perks in addition to a great salary and traditional benefits such as health insurance, dental care and a 401(k) match.
If the 9-to-5 grind has you down, look for companies that value employee output rather than what the time clock says. Find jobs that offer flexible work hours, opportunities to work from home or full-time telecommuting positions. But tread lightly — if you’re not someone who can self-discipline your workload, flexibility may not benefit your productivity.
Personal commuting costs aren’t tax-deductible, but some employers may offer commuter benefits in the form of a tax-free subsidy or pretax payroll deduction to offset the costs of getting to and from work by mass transit or for parking.
Unlimited or generous paid time off
At companies that offer unlimited time off for employees, you don’t have to track your sick days or save up time for vacation. An unlimited policy encourages employees to rest and recharge so they can come back to work refreshed and ready to work. Other companies may place a cap on vacation days, but will still offer generous time off around the holidays. New moms and dads may also benefit from extended leave opportunities — companies like Netflix, Chobani and Etsy all offer generous time off for new parents.
Say goodbye to the brown bag. At many startups and new economy companies, must-haves include a well-stocked kitchen and free meals — breakfast, lunch and even dinner — along with happy hours. At companies that offer free food, 66% of full-time employees are “extremely” or “very” happy, according to a 2015 survey by Peapod, a grocery-delivery service.
Can’t bear to leave your pooch at home while you’re at work? Some companies offer dog-friendly offices in an effort to brighten the work environment. Nearly nine in 10 employees said allowing pets in the workplace improved employee morale and 86% said it reduced stress for employees, according to a 2016 survey by Banfield Pet Hospital.
If you want to add some altruism to your workday, research your prospective employer’s philanthropic practices. Employee volunteering programs take you out of the workplace and into engaging experiences with the community — whether it’s working at soup kitchens, helping out at animal shelters, building homes or providing pro bono professional services. Volunteering can pay off for your career, too — 80% of respondents say active volunteers move into leadership roles more easily, according to the results of a 2016 Deloitte Impact Survey.
Student loan repayment options
A newer company perk aimed at millennials is assistance in paying down student loans through regular contributions toward monthly repayments or discounts for student loan refinancing. By refinancing, you replace multiple loans with one new loan, which typically comes with a different term length and lower interest rate. But, if you refinance your federal loans, you’ll lose out on certain protections, including deferment, income-based repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness for those with qualifying full-time jobs who make 10 years of payments.
Companies that invest in employee wellness programs may benefit from happier and potentially healthier employees. Eighty-three percent of large firms and 46% of small firms with less than 200 employees offer some type of wellness program, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey. Look for employers that offer subsidies on gym memberships, on-site exercise classes, mindfulness training, flu shots and health screenings.
It may not be easy to find a company that offers all of these perks, so decide first which benefits you value most as you weigh your job prospects. The entire offer package will determine where your career will take you next.
“I’m a staff writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website.
I’ve written on a range of consumer finance-related topics including education, post-grad life, small business, health, insurance, investment and banking. Currently, my primary role is writing studies based on NerdWallet’s original data analysis.
Previously I was a reporter in the New York Metro area. I’ve additionally written for a variety of sources in past positions as media editor for a B2B conference company, digital editor for an audio production company, New York State government reporter and contributor for both public and commercial radio stations.
I’m currently based in New York City. I studied journalism with a concentration in political science at SUNY Purchase College.”