New chairs, dental coverage, bring your pet to work. How one company prioritized workplace wellness and increased employee retentionBy Brett FarmiloeOrganizations that provide competitive benefits and unique perks have an easier time retaining employees. That may sound obvious, but it is far from common practice. And it is far from easy to do.Our SEO company has achieved close to a 100% retention rate this year. And we believe that level of employee satisfaction is thanks to the fact that we have really stepped up our game in terms of providing benefits and perks. In this post, I’d like to pose a few questions any business leader can ask about his or her company’s benefits. And I’ll share a little about how we made some improvements to our benefits package. I hope some of these ideas will inspire you to think about what you can begin offering in the next 12 months to prioritize workplace wellness. Audit: What benefits and perks do you provide now?Before diving into specific benefit and perk tactics, evaluate what your organization currently provides. Which of the following benefits and perks does your organization provide? How many items are you able to check off? Think about the impact of adding a few more.Insurance BenefitsHealth insuranceDental insuranceVision insuranceLife insurancePet insuranceFinancial BenefitsFinancial planning servicesProfit sharingQualified retirement programs (ex: SIMPLE IRA)Matching employee retirement contributionsPaid LeavePaid paternity leavePaid maternity leave longer than 8 weeksUnlimited paid time offPaid time off for community serviceWorkplace ExperienceFlexible hoursWork from home / remote workBeer fridge or KegeratorOffsite happy hoursOffsite social events or outingsBring your pets to workCasual dress codeGame rooms or recreational areas (basketball hoops)Company tripsWellness BenefitsTime for healthy activities at workHealthy cafeteria or healthy vending optionsWhat new benefits & perks have you begun offering?Now that you have completed a benefits and perks audit, let’s see whether your organization has innovated in this area over the last year. What specifically have you done over the past 12 months to improve your benefit and perk offerings?At our company, we have made several workplace wellness investments through our benefits and perks programs. Comfort: We kicked off the year by buying Herman Miller Aeron chairs for every employee. At close to $1,500 per chair, this was one of the largest expenses we had ever incurred as a small business. We also purchased standing desks to encourage mobility for our team members.Healthy: I’ve learned that nothing makes employees more mobile than providing healthy snacks - available to all employees at no charge - in the break room. By fueling our team with organic snacks, we’re helping them bust through afternoon slumps to stay productive. Babies & Family: We introduced a “1, 2, 3 parental leave policy” to make sure our team understands that you can start a family while working here. Our policy provides 1 month paid time off, 2 months of remote work, and 3 months of being able to bring a baby into work. Field Trips:As a team of between 10-15 employees, we have taken team outings every month this year. We attended events like Spring Training and Waste Management Open, as well as devoting our time to Feed My Starving Children among many other things. Smile: We began offering dental coverage in summer after a prospective job candidate inquired about our offering. We narrowed our medical plan coverage from 12 packages to our strongest 4 packages in order to simplify the selection process for employees. Pet Duty:We've always been pet friendly, but we've welcomed more pets to our office and have created a pet schedule of sorts. Barbara comes in Tuesday and Thursday. Mimi's on Wednesday and Friday. Taco, Pickles, Tina, and Moose have a rotational Monday. Just Ask :We have also introduced anonymous surveys to identify where we are falling short (or excelling) as a company. Giving everyone a voice like this is not really a perk, but perks and benefits have resulted from these surveys. Including Customers: Every month we send our customers something of value that aligns with our core values. Sometimes it is a book we read internally as a company that would benefit our customers. Other times, it's a comfy T-shirt with one of our values screen printed in a cool graphic. Or, our ultimate favorite, we will make a bulk purchase from one of our existing customers and share their product or service with all of our customers. Giving to our customers is a great way to give back, and make sure our employees aren't the only ones who benefit from working with Markitors. What Benefits & Perks are Unique? Benefits and perks become boring if they are the same as every other organization. Figure out what makes you different. What is a truly unique benefit or perk that your company offers?This is a hard question to answer. For us, we give every employee a company Culture Card on their first day of work. These Culture Cards are credit cards with $50 monthly limits. They can be used for any purchase that might strengthen our culture and help make our company a better place to work. New employees buy their own lunch with their Culture Card on their first day of work. This gets them in the habit of using the card. Throughout the month, employees bring in cards (birthday, anniversary), food (cupcakes, cookies, macaroons, donuts, something more healthy), or simple office items from IKEA to help fill in the gaps.Why are you a Best Place To Work? Last but not least, holding up a mirror and taking a little time to reflect helps you see whether your organization is meeting its goals and whether there is something more you can do in relation to workplace wellness and to encourage retention.Why do you believe your organization is a Best Place to Work? For us, being a best place to work is part of our mission statement. Our mission is to connect small businesses with clients ... and have a good time doing it. The "have a good time doing it" is inspired by a Gallup statistic that more than half of the American workforce dislikes their job. Half of the reason our company exists is to reverse that statistic. By prioritizing the workplace, we are able to build a great place to work. What now? Now that I’ve posed some questions and provided insights as to how our company approaches benefits and perks, I’ll leave you with one more question: What specific programs or actions will your organization implement to make it a Best Place to Work for employees?