In today’s competitive labor market with a low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, employers are doing all they can to engage their employees, particularly during the summer, says a new XpertHR report on summer perks.
XpertHR’s report discusses five summer perks to boost employee engagement in a hot labor market:
- Summer Fridays
- Workplace flexibility
- Summer dress codes
- Employer-sponsored summer events
- Novel summer perks (e.g., unlimited time off, vacation reimbursements, paid sabbaticals, bonuses, etc.)
“Besides cash, paid time off is always one of the most coveted perks an employer can offer,” says Jessica Webb-Ayer, JD, Legal Editor, XpertHR. “Paid vacation, especially over the summer, can help employees prevent burnout and recharge their batteries. Since many workers aren’t taking enough vacation, employers need to encourage employees to plan and take annual leave.”
“Summer Fridays” – half-day Fridays or Fridays off — has been a long-time staple for companies to show how much they value their employees. Nowadays, employers aren’t just limited to Fridays. Some companies allow employees to take days off at various times throughout the summer or may give spontaneous days off.
In the last several years, workplace flexibility has emerged as another employee benefit of choice. Interest in workplace flexibility can increase during the summer when employees want to spend more time with their families, participate in summer activities and achieve work-life balance. Summer is a good time for companies to offer flexible schedules, reduced schedules, telecommuting and compressed workweeks.
A special summer dress code policy is another inexpensive way to improve employee morale and make employees feel more comfortable when the warmer weather hits. While the attire for “dress down days” is left to the employee’s personal discretion, they should avoid casual clothing not suitable for the workplace, such as flip-flops, beachwear, and excessively revealing attire.
Summer events are another way employers can improve employee engagement, show appreciation and bring teams closer together.
“Traditionally, employer-sponsored summer events tend to be picnics, barbeques and sporting events,” says Webb-Ayer. “It’s okay to think outside the box and offer more creative social events, such as employee getaways, ice cream socials or a trip to a ropes course.”
Companies that wish to offer more creative summer perks can also consider unlimited time off, reimbursement for vacations or vacation bonuses, travel stipends, paid sabbaticals, and bonuses/gifts, such as Visa gift cards.