Lisa (Dean) Mamula

Interesting Perks Candidates Want

Every hiring manager and candidate’s preference is to work for an employer offering premier benefits, has a solid company brand that reflects a culture of social responsibility and provides ongoing employee development opportunities.  The reality for hiring managers and candidates alike is that not all companies have unlimited budgets or ideal working conditions due to circumstances that are often out of their control to compete with Fortune 500 or entrepreneurial organizations with forward-thinking leadership.

If you’re at the stage in the hiring process of drafting an offer and have “restrictions” around salary due to internal equity or established bonus structures, get creative with low-cost (often no-cost) perks that will appeal to candidates and make you an employer that entices candidates to sign on the dotted line – and stay!

Sign-On Bonuses

This one-time cost payout that “sweetens the deal” helps defray an inability to offer a long-term higher salary. New hires can certainly use upfront payments to ease the transition to a new pay schedule, help with new clothing expenses, or just feel valued and wanted by the new organization.  Establish a budget in advance to ensure a pool is available when you want to differentiate yourself and attract quality candidates.  The sign-on budgets are fixed and controllable compared to year-over-year salary increases and word travels fast if your company offers this unique perk.

Fitness and Wellness Programs

Offer fitness programs and related wellness initiatives; benefits you can promote on your company website.  You will attract like-minded candidates that value overall health.  Healthy employees are more productive, have less illness and sick days and are generally happier individuals.  Create a culture that attracts these candidates and you can actually save money with reduced health insurance costs and lost production time.

Meal Options

Free or reduced meal options is another way to incorporate healthy options, support initiatives, and make employees happier If budgets are tight, give free lunch vouchers as spot safety awards, employee suggestions, or in connection with milestone celebrations.  And if you offer lunch in-house, lunch hours are reduced and comradery and teamwork is fostered.

Expanded Bereavement Policy

Can you really put a timeframe or limitations on the appropriate time any individual needs to grieve?  Let’s say this, no employee wants to have to use this benefit but knowing it is available at the time it is needed can lessen an already stressful time and provide some peace of mind.

Updated PTO Schedules

Retool PTO schedules to include a bonus birthday holiday or competitive PTO that aligns with a candidate’s years of experience prior to joining your company.  One of my forward-thinking clients created a policy that offers new hires a vacation schedule aligned with their years of experience in a similar position at the time of hire.  You’re more likely to be able to convince a passive candidate to make a job change if they don’t lose vacation time. Warning –  it can be difficult (and often prohibitive with payroll systems) to offer additional vacation to new hires outside of the standard policy because systems tie vacation to their hire date and require unwanted manual calculations to accommodate additional vacation negotiated at the offer stage. If you’re offering this perk, build that policy into your system so you don’t risk losing a great professional over an offer of 1 week vacation the first year when they currently have 3 weeks.

Be Creative

It’s your company and you can create the culture that you want.  There are many things unique to your organization that you can use to differentiate yourself in a competitive market to hire the candidates that you want.  Raffle premier parking spots or free parking for a day/week/month, host an employee appreciation ice cream social or let employees cut out early before a holiday.

You’ve already invested in costs and valuable time associated with the interview process., now it’s time to capitalize on that investment by enticing your lead candidates to commit to working for you!



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