Sure, money makes the world go ‘round, but when it comes to motivating employees to be awesome, it might not be your best bet. In a Glassdoor survey, 79 percent of employees said they’d rather have increased or better benefits rather than a pay raise. And that doesn’t mean just better health insurance or paid vacations, either. Employee perks have a way of engendering loyalty to your company while increasing satisfaction, and these are the surprising extras your workers want the most.

More Flexibility

Thirty percent of respondents said they’d rather have more schedule flexibility than a pay raise. And why not? Having more flexibility, like better hours, the ability to telecommute, or even unlimited PTO, proves that you trust and value your employees. But the company is the real beneficiary, with 87 percent of employees responding that flex time would make them less stressed, 82 percent of employees noting that it would make them more loyal to their company, and half admitting that it would eliminate distractions and improve productivity.

You don’t need to make every day a flex day, but adding some schedule flexibility can offer huge returns in the long run.

Well-being Benefits

Health benefits are one thing, but benefits that tie into employees’ well-being can act as a supplement to existing health benefits. Wellbeing benefits are those that address mind and body wellness for employees, like free gym memberships, onsite massages, areas for meditation, and even healthier snacks in vending machines or the break room. Utilizing these benefits can help cut down on workplace stress and improve quality of life, which can mean fewer unplanned sick days and employees that are happier and healthier overall.

Better Culture

Perhaps employees don’t want to know what you can do for them, but what you can do for each other. A positive workplace culture can make all the difference when attracting better talent and keeping your top tier employees. In fact, 19 percent of employees said workplace culture was a better perk than a raise, so think more along the lines of parties, retreats, and activities that you can do as a company. Even something as simple as improving the break room or having a free lunch once a month can help employees feel appreciated and more likely to stay loyal.

Training and Development

Are you offering employees a way to be better every day? Nineteen percent of Glassdoor respondents rated training and development more important than a raise when it comes to workplace motivation. Solid talent management offers a bevy of benefits because it shows employees that you’re willing to invest in their futures. Maybe it’s a leadership succession program or allowing employees access to training materials for aspirational positions. However it’s structured, employee development can go a long way in helping employees see (and like) their future with your business.

If you feel like employee motivation is lagging, reaching for your checkbook to remedy the situation might feel like the best course of action. But remember that, while important, pay is only a small part of what keeps an employee coming into work and putting in the effort every day. Think outside the green to come up with non-monetary perks that offer a great ROI on the cheap.  

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