Unique Employee Perks to Attract & Retain Talent Post-COVID

By Samantha Rupp, Guest Author | September 28, 2020

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As an HR manager or business owner, you know that your company is only as strong as your employees. Happy, productive workers can help increase overall morale, make problem-solving easier, and create a collaborative company culture. Who wouldn’t want those things?

To attract top talent, however, employers need to offer the right kinds of perks. PTO and medical benefits are standard these days—most candidates expect a little more from companies. So, how do you lure new employees so you can positively grow your company and business?

Well, the pandemic has made the hiring process a little more complex than it used to be. In-person interviews have been replaced by Zoom calls, and happy hours have been replaced with chatter on internal communication channels like Slack. 

Businesses with beautiful office spaces and tons of amenities are an easy selling point for job candidates. But many offices are still closed across the country. If you want to attract new employees, you need to make sure you stand out with excellent benefits. Below, we’ve assembled some unique employee perks you might want to consider offering as part of your benefits package. 


Student Loan Repayment

One of the biggest financial burdens that American workers carry is student debt. In many cases, student loan debt keeps young adults from hitting major life milestones like getting married, having children, and buying a home. But companies can help offset this financial stressor by offering to pay down student debt. Over half of Americans who go to college end up graduating with a debt that averages out to $20,000 to $25,000, so even a small paydown benefit amount to chip away at the loan balance can help.

You can decide how much your company distributes for student loan payments. Common contributions range from $1,000 to $5,000 annually. If you want to attract employees who might be joining your company with this very common form of debt, this is a great perk to offer.


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Wellness Benefits

Most employees expect standard medical benefits at the bare minimum these days. But, if you want to stand out from the crowd, it’s a good idea to think outside the box when it comes to your workers’ health. There is plenty of evidence that shows that employees who prioritize their health end up being less expensive over the long term. When your employees are out sick, you lose out on valuable productivity and results. So, it’s in your best interest to keep your workers healthy and happy. 

Possible wellness perks you might want to offer include:

  • Gym stipend
  • Yoga classes 
  • Massages 
  • Outdoor group exercise
  • Standing desk or treadmill desk stipend


Flexible Work Schedules

Many companies have been forced unexpectedly into a remote work situation due to the country-wide COVID lockdowns. As a result, businesses have been thrown into a large experiment testing out remote work and flexible work schedules. 

With that said, this is a great perk that you can use to your advantage. Many employees expect more flexible work setups because of the changes spurred by the coronavirus.

Consider allowing employees to work whenever they want, as long as they’re completing eight hours of work a day. Or, allow them to stack their hours in a 4/10 schedule. A 4/10 schedule means employees work 10-hour days in exchange for three-day weekends. 

If your company operates during a set period of time, you can offer “early” and “late” shifts to better suit employee preferences.


hand holding a note that says "day off"


Unlimited Time Off

One of the best ways to ensure that your employees stay healthy and happy is encouraging them to take adequate time off. Offering employees unlimited time off might seem like a big risk, but it’s not when put into practice.

Giving your employees unlimited PTO shows that you trust your workers to take only the time off within reason. For example, if a big project needs to be finished before a deadline, an employee would be trusted not to take two weeks off right before. This kind of trust and flexibility can make employees happy and reduces the risk of work burnout.


Parental Leave

Parents have a big job on their hands—especially new parents who are still getting accustomed to life as guardians. If you don’t want to turn away parents or soon-to-be parents, consider offering generous paternal and maternal leave benefits. 

Although there are a few states that mandate paid parental leave, you can go above and beyond by offering paid leave for a longer time period. You can also offer a re-entry program to help new parents get re-accustomed to their work schedules. 


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Mental Health Support

There’s a lot to be stressed out about these days, but you can help support your employees’ mental health by giving them access to virtual counseling sessions and encouraging breaks throughout their workdays. Many offices are remote right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get everyone together on Zoom for a rejuvenating virtual yoga class to break up the day and incorporate some deep breathing.

Make sure your workers have access to mental health support and promote these perks so both candidates and current employees know about it.


Life Insurance and Other End-of-Life Benefits

Another large worry that employees might have is taking care of their family in the event of an untimely passing. If you want to give your workers peace-of-mind, consider offering life insurance or access to will or trust planning as a perk.


Takeaways: Attracting Candidates with the Right Benefits Package

In these uncertain times, employees appreciate a varied benefits package that goes above and beyond typical medical and dental benefits. Consider offering your employees comprehensive perks that promote wellness, both physical and mental. The perks you offer can determine whether or not candidates apply for advertised positions.

In this incredibly competitive job market, it’s critical for companies to step up and stand out from the crowd. Use this list as a starting point to find perks that make the most sense for your business structure and setup.


About the Guest Author

Samantha Rupp holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the managing editor for 365businesstips.com. She lives in San Diego, California, and enjoys spending time on the beach, reading up on current industry trends, and traveling.