It’s tough to stand out as an employer in today’s crowded talent market. Everyone is competing for the best talent available, but separating yourself from other employers has never been more difficult. It’s no longer enough for employers to offer just a competitive salary — You need innovative employee benefits to complement your full compensation package. Today’s workforce is looking for more than just a great atmosphere and fun team activities. So what does an employer need to offer to attract and retain the talent they need?

Every workplace is different, and likely, so are the employees you need to hire. Secondary benefits are a great way to round out your overall compensation package, without going over-budget. If your HR team is stuck on how to make your offers more competitive – it is worthwhile to take a look at your secondary benefits.

Offering interesting and fun secondary benefits is a great way to distinguish yourself as an employer in today’s crowded talent market. Secondary benefits are especially important to attract and retain Gen Z — who often consider secondary benefits just as important (or even more valuable) than a wage increase.

Here are nine innovative secondary employment benefit ideas your team could consider adding to your employee compensation package.

Introduce the ‘Mental Health Day’

Every employee can take a “Mental Health Day” once or twice per year to just relax at home. No explanation needed, and it does not count against their official ‘vacation’ or sick days. It helps to keep track of those ‘off’ days and makes employees feel understood (who doesn’t have a bad day sometimes?).

Paid Sabbatical

Hit your five (or three, or ten) year mark, and you get a paid month-long sabbatical. Your employees can use this long time-off of work to travel, pursue a passion, or go for additional education to develop their career further. Paid sabbaticals are a great way to show appreciation to loyal employees and it gives them time to reflect on their work and career.

Extra Vacation Days for Non-Smokers

Non-smokers get extra vacation days because, let’s face it, they take way fewer breaks than smokers. It’s a win-win: a perk for non-smokers and an incentive for smokers to kick the habit. This Japanese company introduced the extra vacation days for non-smokers perk, and helped some of their employees quit smoking altogether. Just make sure you offer a fair ‘quit smoking’ policy for the smokers who are interested in earning this benefit too.

On-Site Childcare

Balancing kids and work can be tough. Not only is it difficult to be away from your children, but childcare can sometimes be prohibitively expensive. On-site childcare is the ideal solution—no more stressing about being late because you had to drop the kids off. Plus, you can give your kids a hug during your break.

Unlimited Vacation Days

Unlimited vacation days are a popular employee benefit trend – for obvious reasons. With unlimited vacation days, your employees when and how much leave they take. Unlimited vacation days demonstrate trust in your employees and show that you value their work/life balance. We see this benefit being offered a lot in young startups with highly motivated, educated staff. Ironically, early experiences show that most employees tend to take fewer days off than expected.

Earn a Week of Vacation Through Sports

A Swedish organization went above and beyond by offering a sports challenge in addition to gym memberships or team sports. They aimed to reduce their high sick leave rate, and it worked. This is a great way to reward your employee’s fitness and incentivize them to take care of themselves!

Chair Massages

Simple, practical, most importantly, enjoyable! You can now hire masseuses to come to your office for a few hours and offer massages to your employees – especially appreciated by those with a desk job. Provide a weekly or monthly chair massage so employees can step away from work, relax, and tackle the stress and knots in their shoulders and neck.

Volunteer Work on Workdays

Many organizations want to give back to society, and many employees want to work for a socially conscious company. One of the best ways your organization can give back to the community is by allowing your employees to do volunteer work on the clock. It’s also a great way to strengthen the bond among colleagues—it’s basically a fun day out.

Fashion Budget

Who doesn’t love shopping every once in a while? Give your employees an excuse to treat themselves with a special budget so they can buy clothes that will certainly help them to “dress to impress”. This is an especially great idea if you have enough employees who are regularly dealing with clients. High quality clothes will help your employees feel good and give your business a better reputation.

Is your business looking to access talent ready to hire in the Netherlands? Octagon Professionals has over 35 years of experience supporting international companies and expats in the Netherlands and our recruitment team is well-equipped to help you find the talent you need to run your business. Get in touch with us today to learn more.