When it comes to employee perks, the game has changed. Providing employees with benefits is no longer just a way to reward employees for good work. Today, employee perks are part and parcel of a company’s identity.

So, when deciding what kind of company you want to be, you’re really deciding what kind of experience you want to give your employees. These 5 perks may or may not be the right choice for you, but implementing policies that improve employees’ lives is the way to keep them engaged for the long term.

Debt repayment. You may have heard about this before, but many younger employees in the workforce are saddled with loads of debt from student loans. While paying them a salary will help them pay it down, many would be thrilled with assistance in a debt repayment plan where you as their employer pay back the debt (outside of their salary) at a quicker rate than they could.

Google’s “20% time. One of Google’s now-famous HR policies is known as the “20% time policy.” It means that Google allows, actually encourages, their employees to use 20% of their time (or one day a week) for their personal passion projects. Though they know it detracts a bit from productivity, quantitatively, it does increase it by virtue of having engaged, excited employees.

Remote working. We’ve come to realize fairly recently that our working environment has a lot to do with how productive we are and how high of a quality that output is. Sometimes, a change of scenery or the ability to work from home or another remote location is all the mind needs to kick itself into that higher gear needed to do truly great work.

Unlimited vacation time. Netflix made big waves by announcing its “unlimited vacation time” policy. Whether or not you want to interpret that “unlimited” literally or not is up to you, but this perk does acknowledge an important fact: changing our scenery changes our minds, and changing our minds helps us create new and innovative solutions to familiar problems.

Exercise and/or nap areas. Great employee perks make it easier for them to live their everyday lives. If you can make it easier for them to get in a workout during their workday or recharge when they hit a mid-afternoon wall, why wouldn’t you?

What do you think of the 5 employee perks? Have you experienced increased (or decreased) employee engagement as a result of one or more of them? I’m always looking to find out what’s working for organizations and what isn’t. Let me know in the comments below.

photo credit: Holberton School in San Francisco via photopin (license)