ATD Blog

5 Employee Perks to Consider in 2019

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A smart business owner knows that a paycheck is not the single most important factor in employee retention and satisfaction. There are many other perks and benefits that make your team members feel valued, which in turn solidifies their commitment to the organization.

For this reason, 71.6 percent of companies have enhanced their benefits packages to include more than just medical and financial compensation, according to research from Jobvite. As your business looks ahead to 2019, consider rethinking your employee perks to provide these hard workers with the benefits that will keep them excited in the New Year.

Work-Life Balance

This buzzword is anything but a passing fad. J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It Daily, forecasts that an increased work-life balance will be the most in-demand benefit among employees in 2019.

O’Donnell explains, “Companies with a leadership team and staff who are well rested, happy, and believe their goals can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time are more trusted and respected,” adding that it’s more effective to “work smarter, not harder.”

A business that promotes a sustainable work-life balance tends to attract more productive, energized, and reliable employees, too. “I know firsthand the powerful ROI of making sure your staff knows you respect and support their life outside of work,” O’Donnell says, referring to an experience when her employees encouraged her to go see her sick father, rather than staying to make sure the business was running smoothly.

She explained in a LinkedIn article, “I immediately pushed back and said I wasn't sure how long I’d be gone. To which they simply said: ‘J.T. . . . We got this.’ They went on to explain they felt confident in their abilities, had been trained well, and knew the mission of the company. It was clear they felt 100 percent capable of running things. More importantly, I could see they really wanted to. The relief they gave me that day will never, ever be forgotten.”

Health Insurance

If your business employs at least one full-time equivalent staff member, you’re eligible for Small Business Health Options (SHOP), a type of group health insurance that makes it easier and less expensive to offer medical coverage in your benefits package.


A survey conducted by Glassdoor found most workers prefer to receive health insurance than vacation time and retirement plans, making this an important perk to offer if you can.
Before you assume that providing this benefit isn’t affordable, consider the different group insurance policies accessible in the marketplace and remember that average premium contributions depend on the types of plans offered and number of employees.

For example, Health Markets, an insurance marketplace, explains that the employer contribution for a small firm (three to 199 employees), for single-person health coverage, is $5,681. If you’re also feeling stressed about how many options to offer, remember that 81 percent of small companies offer just one type of plan. As such, having extension options to choose from may not be necessary for employees to find this perk valuable.

Paid Time Off (But Not Unlimited PTO)

The practice of offering employees an unlimited amount of vacation time is not as desirable a perk as it seems, with a smattering of pros and cons, according to Inc. While benefits include greater employee happiness and cutting costs (no more accruing time off for employees to cash-in on), the cons include anxiety among employees who don’t truly understand how much time they can take off, or worse, those who abuse the privilege.

Instead of unlimited PTO, more businesses are simply increasing the allocated time off for paid parental leave, as reported by Bloomberg. You can also consider other creative options like offering sabbaticals, forced time off, and combined PTO banks.


Blind Hiring

Recent data from PwC found that 54 percent of women and 45 percent of men said they researched a company’s diversity and inclusion policies before accepting an offer. Consequently, a concept known as blind hiring may be a valuable employee perk that you would have never thought to offer. This process uses software to measure employee candidates’ qualifications without releasing their identities until they pass the initial screening and make it to an interview phase.

This “new process seems to have reduced unconscious bias,” points out Cindy Augustine, the chief talent officer FBC Worldwide, a firm that recently started blind hiring. As a result, this company recruited 19 percent more women and 38 percent more racially diverse candidates than before.

Diversified talent increases performance and profit margin, based on research from McKinsey & Company, and allows you to grow as a business that is truly open to the best talent available. Make this policy known among potential candidates, and it just might be the first employee perk that gets them on board.

Wellness Initiatives

As society broadens its concept of well-being to include more than just physical health, more businesses are offering perks to reinforce the new holistic view of health and wellness. The good news is these initiatives can take many different forms, depending on your budget and company size. You may want to offer stress management workshops or yoga or meditation classes, creating an environment that fosters mindfulness, creative freedom, and periodic breaks to unplug.

When employees are grounded rather than stressed and burned out, companies see increased rates of engagement, which reduces staff turnover by 25 percent, according to a Gallup report. Make this a priority in 2019 to show your employees you want them to stay healthy and happy.

Employee Perks in 2019: What Will You Consider?

With the New Year starting, it's a good time to consider which benefits to implement or optimize in 2019. Remember that these details will communicate that your team members are appreciated and respected for their contributions, in turn allowing you to earn their dedication and investment in the long-term success of your business.

About the Author

Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. She recently stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She's written for sites such as Lifehack, Manta, StartupNation, and Glassdoor. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.

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