In our last article, we discussed work place flexibility and allowing employees to work when, how and where it made sense for them. That flexibility, along with a comprehensive medical, dental, vision, 401(k), disability package sounds pretty good, right?

But what else do employees want? What else can make your organization stand out from the masses of online job postings? Oh, and what can you offer that doesn’t come with a big price tag to the company?

Let’s get creative and find some real-world solutions to benefits that employees actually enjoy, will utilize and will go a long way to improving moral and creating a good culture.

Because ‘Employee Perks’ aren’t enough anymore.  You need to create a culture people enjoy and where they want to invest their time!

Team Culture Potluck

Company lunches can get expensive, right? But what’s more natural than bonding over a great meal?

Solve this gap by organizing team culture potlucks. Work with different team members to provide special dishes from their background or just something they really like to make and share. The company can provide the basics, and the team can provide the rest. This works to get people involved in the activity and excited about who’s cooking next!

Other ideas?  Have the birthday girl or boy bring something sweet for the team on their special day.  A monthly “cookie hour” in the breakroom.  A first Tuesday of the month meeting for lunch in the nearest deli.  Coffee Fridays.  Taco Tuesdays. (I’m backing away from the keyboard now…)

Organized Group Hike

After all the potlucks, this benefit might become a requirement!

Find a group of people who like to do similar activities, set up an easy way for them to communicate about a schedule, lead a few of the activities, and BAM… you’ve got yourself a hiking/biking/fishing/ultimate frisbee/drone racing group. Maybe even organize an all company outing for an afternoon or Saturday, invite families and make an event out of it with no other agenda than to get your people outside and enjoying themselves and each other. It doesn’t have to be a contest or strenuous activity; make it doable for everyone involved.

If your employees have a competitive nature (and you know that they do!), post stats on how many miles the group has walked or how many steps and track in a common area where more people can see and get involved.

Craft/DIY Activity/Book Club

Let your employees express their creativity by helping to organize interest-based gatherings. Maybe it’s a Sip & Paint session at a local spot, a discussion over the latest best seller, or jousting in the parking lot. Provide some structure for the group to get started, a place to meet, maybe a snack and let the fun begin. Once the creative juices start flowing, you’ll likely find them spilling over into work projects!

Game Night

Have programmers on your team? Yes? Then, you probably have some gamers, too. Set up a space for employees to enjoy a group game night together. This could be as simple as allowing them to use a conference room and setting up their personal computers so they can play and interface in real time.

Another spin on this is to provide a rotation of games in the common areas or break room. Employees, can play a quick game of Uno over lunch or hone their skills with an on-going game of chess or Scrabble.

Group Volunteer Project

Give blood, round up used goods for donation, work with Habitat for Humanity, adopt a local family or school – but the idea is to do work together to benefit a cause.  Consider giving your employees a few hours a month of paid time off to participate. Your employees have amazing talents outside of their professional lives and giving back feels good.

Other ideas? Poll your employees and see what they think and what they would enjoy. The goal of all these activities is to promote employee engagement and a positive company culture. Happy employees are higher performers, and higher performing companies attract top talent. So, take care of the talent you have by recognizing that all work and no play makes Jack…go to work for the competition.

ManUP today for success tomorrow…

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