By Michelle Clark

What does “wellness” look like at your organization? For some employers, it’s increasingly reflecting a movement toward holistic well-being, supported by a diverse range of workplace perks that go beyond fresh fruit Fridays and onsite gyms.  

Consider some of these unusual workplace perks.

…the onsite concierge service for employees of S.C. Johnson & Son, doing everything from sending flowers to shopping for the best deal in auto insurance to even standing in line for concert tickets.

…”Yay Days” at REI – two paid days off each year for employees to enjoy their favorite outdoor activity.

…the four months of paid leave for new mothers and fathers who work at Facebook, along with reimbursement for daycare and adoption fees and as much as $4,000 in “baby cash” once the baby arrives.

What characterizes this emerging new breed of workplace perks is how they respond to the particular needs of different workplace generations and also engage employees more deeply in the business culture. Any way you cut it, perks that go above and beyond in responding to such nuances are going to strengthen your culture and enhance employee engagement, creating a positive work environment.

The fact is that happy workers will have a more positive impact on your organization’s performance.  A report by the University of Warwick in the U.K. made this point. In one experiment, a group that was asked to solve math problems after watching a comedy video exhibited 10 percent greater productivity than the control group that didn’t watch the video. Researchers also looked at how unhappy events (like a family death or illness) affected participants’ productivity. Those with a negative event were 10 percent less productive than their peers.

Of course, culturally relevant workplace perks alone won’t create a healthy and positive work environment and culture. Meaningful work makes a difference, coupled with the right “fit” between people and the organization as well as strong leadership. But everything combined makes for an organization that outperforms its competitors and has a distinct competitive advantage in the talent wars. 
Creating the kind of culturally relevant workplace perks that resonate with your employees and foster greater engagement starts with identifying the needs and values that are relevant to them as well as your company. Your employee demographics are a good starting place, as they’ll signal whether concierge services to help employees navigate eldercare or childcare – or both – are the most beneficial options.

And don’t forget that such benefits don’t have to require a huge investment on your part. You can get a lot of bang for very little buck with discount programs and onsite services. Concierge-type services, for example, make life easier and boost on-the-job productivity. (Just check first with your corporate tax professional to make sure what you put in place won’t count as taxable income for your employees.)

For more guidance on well being programs and culturally relevant perks that apply, contact your HUB International consultant .