9 Workplace Perks That Motivate Employees

Kayla Naab

Company perks serve a multifaceted purpose. Offering great perks and benefits will entice quality talent to come and work for you. These same excellent perks will become markers of your culture and morale in the office. Perhaps most importantly to you, great perks will help you motivate your employees and keep them productive all day, every day. 

But, what are the right perks? While you might be able to bribe people with snacks and espresso for a while, the effect will begin to wear off. Even worse, your employees will start to resent being treated like misbehaving children instead of feeling valued and respected. 

Here are 9 workplace perks that can help boost employee motivation:

1. Recognition

More than ping pong tables or kegerators, intrinsic motivators are what will move your people to do their best work. In fact, 79% of responders to a recent study said that recognition and praise would motivate them to work harder. There are three main ways to recognize your employees:

Praise Them

Let your people know when they’ve done a great job. Acknowledge their contributions to a big project, thank them for going above and beyond, and show appreciation for their loyalty and effort.

Celebrate Wins

In a more public way, offer credit to the people who are moving the needle for your business. Share a celebration post on Linkedin or Twitter, bring the whole team together and acknowledge key players outright. Do what you can to make sure your employees know they matter.

Listen and Act

Being seen and heard matters to human beings. We want to feel acknowledged in relationships, among friends, and at work. Implement your employees’ suggestions and trust their feedback. It will always pay off.

2. Autonomy & Flexibility

Your employees are adults. They are self-regulating, disciplined, and conscientious. If you do not believe this is true for most of your staff - if not all of them - it is your hiring practices that should be revisited, not the autonomy you give them. 

In lieu of micromanagement, work surveillance, and punitive measures to keep your employees “in line,” consider empowering them instead. You can do this by giving them the flexibility to work when, where, and how they want and being very clear about deadlines. If an employee struggles to manage his time and meet deadlines, his flexibility can be reconsidered - but this is not a reflection of how most employees function. 

Flexibilities like remote workdays (or a full-time telecommute opportunity), flexible working hours, and control over which projects are worked on and when can make a huge difference in your employees’ perception of working for you. Even better, productivity is proven to increase

3. Transparency and Impact

Jim works at a financial data institution. Every day he comes in and “crunches the numbers” to the best of his ability. One day, his boss says “Hey Jim, look at how your data is impacting our effort to solve problem X.” Astonished, Jim goes home to tell his wife that he is helping to solve problem X - which he never knew before. Jim now understands why his company matters which gives him a sense of integrity and as a bonus, sees how his role impacts the larger mission which gives him a sense of pride. 

When you are transparent about your company - the good and the bad - and open about how each employee’s work affects the whole, you recruit them to your purpose. Further, when employees can see into the company’s strategy and vision, they’re more likely to focus their contributions to it and see themselves as equal, important, and valued. 

4. An Adaptable Working Environment 

What benefits do your employees’ current workspaces offer to them and their work? Are their desks ergonomic? Do they have the visibility and accessibility they need through larger monitors? Are there places for employees to stand, walk around, or even recline while working? Can employees control the amount of light, room temperature, or the amount of noise around them while working on various tasks? It’s time to take stock.

Many people have an idea of what their preferred working environment would be - or at least what definitely doesn’t suit them - and yet few have the control and capacity to modify their surroundings. This is a problem because our environment is a key productivity factor. For people who do different types of work throughout the day, this is even more key. The ability to drown out sounds and get in the zone, and then switch gears to collaborate with colleagues, is paramount to your people’s success. Center their needs as you restructure, remodel or relocate. 

5. Stimulating Projects & Clarity

Someone who seems “lazy” at work might be someone who goes above and beyond when cooking recipes, working on house projects, creating new artwork, or building muscle in the gym. When we care about what we’re doing, and we feel equipped to do it, we’re motivated. Find out what types of projects your employees enjoy and feel most stimulated by, and feed them more of what they love. If this means you need to restructure a team or hire freelance help to pull a project together, it will be worth it long-term. 

Similarly, employees want to know what they need to do, by when, how best to deliver their work, and how their work will be evaluated. Assess OKRs with your team, set clear boundaries of ownership for every task, and use a conscious project management tool to keep it all organized. You’ll be surprised by what your teams can accomplish when equipped and empowered.

6. A Focus on Wellness 

If sitting all day at a desk is as harmful as research implies, then office jobs are just about the unhealthiest type to have. That is unless that office is focused on wellness and provides resources, programs, and support to empower a healthy working lifestyle. As an office manager, you can and should promote a culture of wellness in your organization. This might include filling the shared break room or kitchen with healthy foods, securing a healthy option for lunch-and-learn days or catered meetings, or sponsoring an onsite yoga class once a week. 

By making sure that your employees feel welcome to accommodate their own wellness and offering opportunities to improve their mental and physical health, your workplace becomes a place that people want to work. Further, a focus on wellness means fewer viruses spread around the office, a reduced loss in productivity due to absences, and fewer distractions from runny noses and aching bodies. 

7. Smarter PTO 

Offer your employees paid time off that doesn’t penalize them in the process. Many forms of PTO are allocated only for sick days or “vacation days” that end up being used for sick days or sick-child days all too often. The world of work is changing. You can demonstrate trust and autonomy in your workplace by offering unlimited PTO with a caveat of work completion and quality. You might also choose to offer a paid sabbatical for veteran employees, longer parental leave (for moms AND dads), or consider offering PTO in exchange for volunteer hours.

8. Lifestyle Support

Your employees are not robots. Outside of work, these real people still need to manage a household, handle maintenance on homes and vehicles, parent children, maintain other relationships, and run a whole host of errands that also need to be completed before 5 PM on a weekday. (Hello, post office and bank!) 

Offer your employees the flexibility to come in early and get out early to be able to run those errands, pick up kids, or take their dog to the sitter. Better yet, bring some of those services in-house like providing one free monthly dry cleaning service, providing childcare support or stipends, and letting Fido come to work sometimes. 

9. Growth & Development

Like it or not, your company will be just another stepping stone on most of your employees’ career paths. Tenure of twenty-plus years at one company is becoming less and less prevalent, necessary, or desired by both employees and companies. Whether your employees will be staying on board for years to come or not, it’s essential to invest in their growth, development, education, and improvement. Here are a few ways you can do that:

Know Their Goals

Rather than develop your employees to what you need from them, develop them into what they want to be. If you have a clear understanding of what your employees hope to do, achieve, and become - you can use your company’s resources, connections and leadership to get them there. If you’re questioning “what happens if I develop an employee into something wonderful and she leaves?” ask this instead: “what will happen if all my employees are under-challenged, underdeveloped, and mad at me about it?” 

Offer Tuition Reimbursement

Many of your employees over the years will leave your company, go get incredible education or training, and take that new knowledge and skill to another company. For employees who wish to further their education, try to work out a plan where you can support their goals while retaining and benefitting from their incredible growth. 

Fund and Foster Professional Development

Your investment in your employees doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective. If tuition reimbursement or forgiveness is too far outside your budget, consider funding - or even just hosting - opportunities for your people to learn new skills, work on themselves, improve productivity, and learn to work together. This effort alone can benefit the company and its leaders, the clients and customers, and each individual employee who attends. 

Open Doors for Them 

Once you know what an employee hopes to accomplish or become, you can leverage so many company resources to make that happen. This might include encouraging intra-company mentorship programs, securing promotions, or affording opportunities for them to build their personal brands through speaking engagements, publications, and press.

Best Workplace Perks: Put Your People First

As an office manager, your role is layered. Your work has ties to HR, finances, operations, and administration - all business components that have the power to issue perks or punishments, depending on your company’s culture. Push for workplace perks like those listed above, vouch for your people, and watch your fellow employees thrive.

Looking for a way to manage your workplace more efficiently? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your office. 

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