How creative job perks like live event tickets, Summer Fridays, fertility benefits and more are attracting and retaining talent at top companies.

The job benefits employees value in 2024

How creative job perks like live event tickets, Summer Fridays, fertility benefits and more are attracting and retaining talent at top companies.
Photo by Shridhar Gupta on Unsplash

As younger generations take on leadership positions, core business values are redefined—and creative job benefits are on the rise. Here’s a closer look at the unique perks Utah-based companies are using to hire and retain their best people.

Free tickets or passes

A report by The Harris Poll on behalf of TFL found that though 72 percent of Americans want their company to offer discounted or free event tickets, only about 24 percent of businesses do so. 

Lisa Oyler, director of human resources at Access Development, says her company encourages and celebrates work-life balance, wellness, time outdoors and time with family through these programs.

“A workplace is about so much more than the tasks we complete during business hours,” Oyler says. “It’s about a community of people coming together in pursuit of a bigger goal. Special benefits—like our national parks pass and our private discount program Access Perks—are just an extension of that shared mission to increase the purchasing power of employees’ paychecks and improve the overall quality of their lives as they align with the values of our company.”

Some Utah-based companies investing in free tickets or passes for their employees include:

  • National Parks pass: Access Development
  • Real Salt Lake games: America First Credit Union
  • Baseball tickets: Stratus HR
  • Utah Jazz tickets: PDQ, America First Credit Union
  • Concert tickets: USANA Health Sciences, Stratus HR
  • Employee movie nights: Stratus HR, iDrive Logistics

Personal leave and recognition

When employees feel valued, they become more loyal to a company. A good way to make employees feel valued is by recognizing them for milestones, a job well done or personal life events.

Mike Sorensen, chief collaborator experience officer at Nightingale Education Group, says the company’s pet bereavement policy supports its employees by reflecting a caring work culture.

This perk also aligns with the organization’s commitment to holistic growth and well-being.

“It is the compassionate thing to do when one of our collaborators is mourning the loss of a beloved member of their family,” Sorensen says.

Some of the Utah-based businesses offering personal recognitions include:

  • Pet bereavement: Nightingale Education Group
  • Birthday lunches: Carpet Diem, IMA, iDrive Logistics, Campbell Companies
  • Paid ‘Employee of the Year’ trip: Stratus HR

Personal health services

This company perk includes things such as an onsite gym, vaccination clinics or walking treadmill desks. The best part about these services is that many of them are already located at work. These behaviors also encourage your employees to stay healthy.

Kaylee Holmes, benefits administrator at Becklar, says taking care of mental health is a critical way to help employees succeed in all areas of life, and her company offers free therapy to its employees to help accomplish this. This could look like an employee calling a provided crisis line after a particularly difficult call during their work shift.

“At Becklar, we are saving lives and property, which can result in stressful days,” Holmes says. “For example, when one of our locations experienced an unexpected loss together, we were able to schedule group and individual therapy onsite for free. We truly care about our employees and want them to have the resources needed to get through the challenges of life.”

Some of the Utah-based businesses offering personal health services include:

  • In-office haircuts: PACS
  • Onsite gym or fitness facilities: 1-800-Contacts, Campbell Companies, Foley & Lardner LLP, Pura, iDrive Logistics, Motivosity, Groove Technology Solutions
  • Walking treadmill desks: Cicero
  • Flu shot clinics: PACS
  • Weekly massages: PACS
  • Free therapy: Becklar
  • Fertility benefits: Instructure

“A workplace is about so much more than the tasks we complete during business hours.”

Flexible time away from work

Employees who feel they have more control over their time tend to be more productive while at work. Time off initiatives differ from company to company but can include unlimited paid time off (PTO), work sabbaticals or Summer Fridays, which typically refers to when employees are allowed to leave early on Fridays during the months of June, July and August.

JobNimbus VP of People Experience Jared Olsen says his company was able to accomplish its standard metrics and goals in a four-day week when they implemented Summer Fridays.

“Our employees mentioned how much they loved having long weekends to spend with family, go on trips and disconnect a bit more,” Olsen says. “At the end of summer, people were refreshed and ready for a busy fall.”

Some Utah-based companies that have taken a creative look at flexible time off include:

    • Summer Fridays: Mixhers, JobNimbus, Whistic
    • Paid volunteer time: G&A Partners
    • Unlimited PTO: PCF Insurance Services, Health Catalyst, Instructure, Dentist Advisors, VidAngel, LUX Catering & Events, Motivosity, Joyce University of Nursing and Health Sciences, NetDocuments, PDQ, Pura, Tanner LLC, Tech9, VLCM, 1-800-Contacts, Henry Schein One
  • Sabbaticals: Observe Point, IMA, Backcountry

Personal and professional development

Whether it’s through a tuition benefit, free training or keeping career coaches on staff, employees feel valued when you value their growth. A little less than half of employers in the United States offer their workers college tuition assistance, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey—even though employers can get a tax break for doing so.

Betsy Campbell, a dream coach at IMA Financial Group, says her role is similar to a career coach but slightly different. Whether it’s helping an employee realize their dream of running a marathon or earning an associate degree, she believes employees typically do better at their jobs when they feel more personally fulfilled. 

“IMA’s personal and professional growth coaches, known as dream coaches, are available to empower IMA associates to create the life they want both personally and professionally,” Campbell says. “The agenda is the employee’s. We connect with them wherever they are in their experience and support them to grow in the ways that are most meaningful to them. Coaching is especially effective in helping individuals shift their mindsets, find creative solutions and take action to get results.”

Some Utah-based companies investing in personal and professional development include:

  • Nutrition, fitness or wellness coaches: Mixhers, ARUP Laboratories
  • Education reimbursement, continuation or programs: Edwards Lifesciences, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Cicero, Hamlet Homes, Mixhers, Blomquist Hale Solutions, FinWise Bank
  • Life or career coaches: IMA, Groove Technology Solutions
  • Scholarship funds: Becklar

Nonwork community experiences

A 2022 Harvard Business Review study reported that employees report less job satisfaction and are more likely to switch jobs in the next six months when they feel lonely. Creating community at work is one way to decrease loneliness and increase the social glue that strengthens groups—and the magic often comes from sharing an event or doing something together that isn’t actually work-related.

Gabby Wahlin, PR and brand manager at Pura, says she loves that Pura offers its employees a reading benefit in the form of a book club. As a whole, Pura employees read more than 2,000 books last year.

“It has given employees another great thing to have in common and talk about,” Wahlin says. “We have book groups and exchanges and have been able to bond over reading. It has also helped to incentivize deeper learning and build more value for employees outside of our time at work.”

Some Utah-based companies that understand the importance of shared experiences include:

  • Pickleball courts or clubs: Wilson Electronics, Next Meters, Observe Point, ASEA LLC
  • Food trucks: Access Development
  • Book club: Pura, Joyce University of Nursing and Health Sciences, MTN OPS

By prioritizing unique and employee-centric perks, companies can attract and retain top talent. The underlying message is this: When business leaders value their employees, employees value their workplaces.