The Difference between Employee Perks and Benefits and How They Affect Happiness

Ping pong paddle with ball and whiteboard in the background with list of things written on it and title - Employee Perks vs. Benefits

There is a difference between employee perks and benefits. They are two different categories of non-wage compensation items. Employers can use them to help recruit and retain talent as well as boost happiness and productivity in their workforce.

It hurts to see top talent walk out your door. You might not always know why they left. But you can take action to prevent it from happening again. You want to stay competitive and desirable in the eye of the employee. Perks on top of a few necessary benefits will help you do just that.

Today, we’re going to explain the difference between an employee perk and a benefit.

What Drives Talent Away?

Communication is key to creating a team that is engaged; it’s important to practice quality communication before, not after, problems come up. But, retention goes far beyond communicating.

More than likely, your employees spend most of their weeks working within your business. So, they’re looking for the best possible environment to spend that time in. You can be the employer who provides that desireable environment with a few small changes.

Millennials are often said to lack loyalty at their jobs and expect to change jobs within the year. Being the largest population in the workforce, this might mean higher turnover for your business. We don’t want that, of course, but there’s hope.

A research study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation states that 56% of millennials agreed that a quality benefits package influences their choice of employers, and 63% say benefits are an important reason in staying with an employer.

Benefits like health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance are important to employees, especially millennials. They can be used to recruit the top talent in your industry. But, perks like vacation time, flexible work schedules, free food, merchandise discounts, a company car, and even a standing work desk are all considered to be added reasons for sticking with a company.

Want to Promote Happiness at Your Business?

Employee perks and benefits are key tools to keeping your team happy and dedicated. Heading into 2016, I urge you to follow business trends this year and focus on reducing employee burnout and dissatisfaction. You can do that simply by focusing on the things you probably already have and making just a few small changes. Let’s take a look at which employee benefits and perks offer the most bang for the buck.

Employee Benefits

Benefits are defined as a form of non-wage compensation that supplements salary. This includes health insurance, retirement plans, dental and vision insurance, savings plans like Flex Spending Accounts, etc. You’re probably all too familiar with employee benefits and might be wary of the cost of offering those. But, they might be more accessible for your business than you think.

Many businesses are forming strategic partnerships with a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) for the added bonus of certain benefits at a significantly lower cost. Since PEO companies work in a co-employment model they are able to purchase large benefits packages at a reduced cost and offer those savings to your business and your employees.

Article: How Can a PEO Help My Business Win the Battle for Talent?

Employee Perks

Perks are non-wage items that could potentially boost employee happiness and daily performance because they are added bonuses. They can spark an emotional response as perks care for the employee’s wants. If essential needs are met through benefits, meeting your employee’s wants could be the extra mile it takes to bring in the top talent that YOU want.

Perks could be nearly anything and sometimes won’t cost you much:

  • Free food
  • Vacations gifted for reaching goals
  • Merchandise discounts
  • Use of a company car
  • Expanded or unlimited paid time off
  • Paid time off for volunteering
  • Education assistance
  • Standing work desks
  • Flexible schedules
  • Gym memberships
  • Unique break room areas and features
  • Laundry service
  • Childcare
  • Pet friendliness
  • Work from home opportunities

Benefits Matter, and Perks Promote!

When it comes down to sustainable happiness, employees need to feel that their work has a purpose. But perks like these can help motivate and energize them in their daily routine.

The difference between employee perks and benefits doesn’t mean one is more effective than the other. They tend to be most effective when working in tandem with each other and along side other factors like a positive environment, work with a purpose, meaningful communication, and transparency. Granted, the outcome often depends on your employee’s priorities and attitude. But providing these items will set the stage for a strong, happy, and successful team.

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