It's Time to Bring These 5 White-Collar Perks to the Wider Workforce
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Employees today get some pretty sweet perks. Flexible schedules, remote options, free beer in the break room, etc. Smart companies understand that happy employees deliver the best results. And with the spread of the coronavirus, employers are testing the viability of work-from-home benefits on a massive scale. After the scare passes, some companies may discover their teams are more productive when they don’t have to worry about a commute. Though no major companies have committed to a permanent shift, this health crisis presents an interesting opportunity for businesses to learn more about what makes modern workers tick.
Nearly all the companies making headlines for sending employees home employ white-collar workers, but what about all those blue-collar and shift workers who face the same situation? Don’t they deserve to be treated with equal respect? While many jobs require employees to be physically present to perform their duties, businesses shouldn't leave blue-collar workers behind in their race to do right by their employees.
Your blue-collar workers keep your business running. Without them, customers would go unserved, products would go unsold and revenues would tank. You need great people of all collar colors to stay on top, so give your teammates the benefits they deserve (and earn their loyalty in the process) by offering these traditionally white-collar perks to the rest of your workforce.
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1. Flexible scheduling
Life happens to everyone, not just programmers and copywriters. Your team wants the flexibility it needs to respond to emergencies, plan vacations and maximize work-life balance. Sufficient staffing is the first step, but even with a full team, companies with traditional staffing models often struggle to cover shifts and meet the expectations of today’s workforce. Lean on technology, and explore different approaches to solving your problems. For example, MyWorkChoice helps businesses translate existing schedule formats into flexible shift arrangements with smooth transitions, especially in blue-collar industries like manufacturing and warehousing, and empowers employees to design their own schedules using a mobile app.
2. Childcare assistance
Blue-collar workers have kids, too. Help them take care of their families by offering childcare-assistance programs from your office. You don’t have to run a company daycare (though that is an option), but consider subsidizing employee childcare costs to help them afford outside daycare. WeeCare, a childcare startup, helps companies and parents find affordable options. If your company employs enough people, you may be able to negotiate lower rates for your employees.
3. Wellness programs
Healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees are productive employees. Both sides benefit when you invest in the well-being of your workforce, especially when that workforce stays on its feet all day. HR and benefits startup Rise runs wellness challenges for its workers to stay active, lose weight and eat healthier foods. Try a blend of team competition and incentive-based challenges to help workers achieve their personal health goals. Bring in a registered dietician or physical trainer to help workers set goals and offer prizes to people who hit their targets.
4. Tuition reimbursement
Young people have enormous student loan debt, even in blue-collar fields. Whether your employees want to pay off old loans or invest in continuing education, make that process easier by offering tuition reimbursement and educational assistance.
ConnectYourCare, a company that specializes in employer healthcare benefits, argues that tuition-reimbursement programs reduce turnover and expenses in the long run. Invest in your employees. While some will leave, others will help your business grow. When you treat people well, even the people who find new jobs will sing your company’s praises and help you attract better talent.
5. Retirement plans
Not many people want to work forever, yet Bankrate reports that millennials have little trust in the ability of state-sanctioned systems to cover their retirement needs. With sky-high healthcare costs for aging workers and a young workforce with a grim outlook, today’s employers should do everything they can to help workers save for retirement.
Offering 401(k) programs and matching contributions helps, but you can do more for your employees by helping them understand how to put their money to work. Bring in a financial advisor from your retirement-plan provider or another financial company, and invite employees to ask questions about their options. Choose someone with no personal stake in your employees’s choices to ensure your guest doesn’t try to steer them into bad investments.
Why should white-collar workers have all the perks? The blue-collar workforce makes up the backbone of the business world. As companies scramble to attract top talent with world-class perks, remember to offer those same benefits to workers who have been left behind by the craze.