Office life has its challenges, but it has always had its perks too: camaraderie, office celebrations, and social activities that everyone can enjoy, or other benefits. Each company has its own brand of “perks” and culture-building activities that make it appealing to new recruits. But now that so many organizations are moving to a work-from-home model, having the kinds of perks that bring in the best talent and build employee morale can be a very real challenge. Here are a few that your company can offer employees, no matter where they log in every day.
This one can be easier said than done for companies, which may be dealing with industry-wide problems or serious financial difficulties during and after the pandemic. Offering a significant signing bonus may not be feasible, but if your organization can do it, it’s an obvious way to keep employees engaged, especially as they get started.
More paid vacation
Fewer people are able to take a traditional “vacation” right now, with so many travel restrictions and public health concerns. But paid time off never goes out of style. Giving employees more time to take off to spend with their families, or do whatever they need to do to decompress during a challenging time, is a relatively simple way to make your jobs appealing to new hires.
The 9-to-5(ish) workday is a seriously endangered creature right now. Some workers are caring for family members, while others may have kids in the house who require help with virtual learning. Still, others may be struggling with health issues. There’s a whole host of challenges facing workers and their companies in a remote work world, and offering flexible schedules can help maximize employee productivity and engagement.
Flexibility and understanding are also huge employer branding factors right now. People want empathy and flexibility in a world that changes by the day, and if you make it clear that you can offer that, it gives you an extra branding edge.
The idea of starting somewhere new right now can be stressful and might make top talent rethink the idea of leaving their current work situation. When onboarding new hires, letting them know that there are opportunities for employee retreats—virtual (or otherwise safe) get-togethers—can help initiate a sense of community for someone who might not meet her coworkers in person for a while. Maybe there’s a monthly “new faces” Zoom meeting where new hires can mix with existing employees for a getting-to-know-you chat. Maybe you can encourage teams within your organization to hold semi-regular social video chats, or virtual activities together (like fun classes that can be done in a group) to foster a team atmosphere. Or, you can give everyone a credit at for a local restaurant/meal delivery app, to be shared during a virtual pizza party. (Side benefit: everyone manages their own dietary restrictions!)
There are so many virtual ways to stay connected. Plan a few, and make sure your new hires know that you encourage that kind of bonding—even if your team members can’t be together in the same rooms.
Professional development opportunities
In the early stages of pandemic life, everyone seemed to be operating in a “let’s just get things done” mode. Now, as we move into a more long-term planning stage, people are looking to get back to professional progress. New and existing employees should know that there are professional development opportunities open to them through you, whether through online courses, training, or other types of growth activities.
Remote work can feel lonely and (at times) stagnant, so it’s important to let your people know that you’re invested in their growth and development.
We’re in a new world of hiring, one where you have to tailor your offerings in a way that will appeal both inside and outside of the normal office setting. Being the company that goes out of its way to show employees that they’re valued and have shared goals will give you some major appeal when it comes to finding (and keeping) the best people.
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