Lifestyle benefits have emerged as one of the biggest focus areas for people operations leaders today. We'll dive into all of their advantages later in this guide, but to put it simply - it's because...
What used to be unique lifestyle benefits (also sometimes called perks) - things like unlimited coffee, free food, and the ability to work remotely - are now so standard that current and prospective employees of your organization aren't going to be very impressed if that's all you've got.
When you offer the best employee benefits, your company can unlock a truly personalized experience for your employees' diverse needs so that they can actually feel supported and happy to be working at your company, whether your team is fully remote, in a hybrid model, or going back to the office.
Here's what is covered in this guide:
First, a definition:
Lifestyle benefits, sometimes referred to as employee perks or employee lifestyle perks, are non-salary benefits given to employees to improve their overall lifestyle and which go above and beyond standard medical, dental, and vision benefits.
Modern companies turn to lifestyle benefits to broaden employee access to goods and services that improve all areas of their lives, including mental, physical, psychological, and financial.
The categories employee lifestyle benefits can cover include:
Lifestyle benefits are rapidly becoming the future of employee benefits. Here are several strong reasons to support that fact, which represent the advantages of offering a lifestyle benefits program:
Most companies already offer competitive compensation ranges and standard benefits like PTO and medical, dental, and vision benefits. At the same time, the competition to attract, hire, AND retain quality talent has increased significantly.
Offering lifestyle spending accounts has emerged as a powerful way for employers to differentiate themselves in a crowded hiring market while allowing them to stay true to themselves.
Even companies with very generous overall benefits packages can suffer from low employee engagement and productivity.
Offering employee lifestyle benefits that are customized to your people’s unique needs is hugely beneficial for companies wanting to increase employee engagement and retention in this current climate and in the long term as workplace conditions evolve.
Now more than ever companies have the responsibility to not only prioritize creating diverse and inclusive workplaces but also put action behind those intentions.
Lifestyle benefits can be designed in a way that addresses all of the needs of your diverse workforce, whether that means supporting an employee who’s a 22-year-old recent graduate who lives in the city with a cat or a 55-year-old executive with three kids and a home in the suburbs. Lifestyle benefits, particularly in the form of flexible perk stipends, are ideal for that type of personalization and inclusivity.
There are many reasons you might not want to or be able to offer a pay increase to employees. When increasing their compensation isn’t an option, offering meaningful lifestyle benefits can be powerfully effective in making them feel supported - sometimes even more than a simple pay bump - while also being very cost-effective for you, especially if you use a lifestyle benefits platform like Compt to reduce the administrative burden.
This trend towards expanded and unique employee lifestyle perks and benefits - and away from the cookie-cutter basic benefits packages - has been a long time in coming. Employees have been wanting more personalization and flexibility in their total compensation for years.
In previous years, studies revealed about 60% of people considered benefits and perks to be a major factor when deciding to accept a job offer and 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise.
When was the last time you conducted an employee benefits survey to see what your people want? Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate and revamp your outdated perks programs to better suit your employees' lifestyle needs. And speaking of the now... here's a helpful resource detailing employee engagement ideas for remote workers.
The list of companies offering flexible and inclusive lifestyle benefits is ever-growing, but here are a handful that stand out as great examples:
Google introduced a $1,000 work-from-home stipend to help support their employees’ remote work lifestyle during the pandemic (and so have other tech leaders like Facebook. Twitter, and Shopify). This came in addition to the many other lifestyle benefits Google already offered to all of its employees across its many locations, from $500 in “baby bonding bucks” for new parents to massage credits and free fitness classes.
Starbucks has long been known to offer great benefits for its employees. One example of a lifestyle benefit offered is a $500-$1,000 tuition reimbursement benefit for its employees.
Employees of Deloitte have the benefit of personalizing what health and wellness mean to them through an annual well-being stipend of $500.
Eventbrite supports employee health and lifestyle choices by offering a monthly $60 wellness stipend as a lifestyle benefit, which employees can use on anything from gym dues to juice cleanses. They also introduced a home office stipend as part of their remote work perks to offset the work from home cost.
Takes lifestyle benefits to a new level by leveraging the power of stipends: they have a $1,200 annual wellness benefit (to use on massages or other physical therapy), a $300 annual wellness benefit on top of that, and $100 monthly wellness benefit to put towards gym memberships, classes, etc.
LinkedIn - which knows a thing or two about the workplace - offers some great lifestyle benefits to its U.S. and Canadian employees, which include an annual $5,000 stipend for professional development related to their job and a $1,800 wellness allowance. They also offer additional stipends to support working from home.
Great Place to Work, a true leader and authority in workplace culture, rolls up all of the possible categories of lifestyle benefits and makes them eligible for employees in one flexible stipend called CARE4U. With this lifestyle benefit, which works as a flexible perk stipend, GPTW employees have a $5,000 annual stipend to spend on whatever they need across categories.
There are many more examples of companies doing this successfully. If you want to hear what our customers are doing, click here to talk with a Compt lifestyle benefits specialist.
Download the free eBook to find out why lifestyle spending accounts have become the most common new benefit for companies competing for top talent.
There are a number of ways you can offer lifestyle benefits. You actually might already be offering some sort of lifestyle benefit that can easily be turned into a more thought-out lifestyle benefits program. Some things that fall into this category are a professional development stipend, a gym membership reimbursement, or free meals and snacks.
Like the examples listed above like Starbucks and their Tuition Reimbursement program or Eventbrite’s Wellness Stipend, you can identify specific categories you'd like to build benefits around in your company and focus your efforts on those one at a time.
This is something that many companies who have shifted to remote work indefinitely have already done using stipends: they've set up their lifestyle benefits through category-specific stipends such as a health and wellness stipend, a learning and development stipend, and meal plan and grocery stipends.
This is a snapshot of what Webflow's health & wellness lifestyle stipend benefits look like with Compt. Click here to talk with a Compt lifestyle benefits specialist to learn more.
If you have several areas of employee needs that you'd like to cover with lifestyle benefits but don't want the complication of managing multiple benefits vendors, your best bet is to set up all-encompassing lifestyle stipends that apply to the spending categories that matter to you. That could include anything from the ones mentioned above as well as family, pets, charitable giving, travel, internet/cell phone, work-from-home equipment, and more.
Doing your lifestyle benefits this way allows you to cover the gamut of needs, situations, and preferences of your people. As a people operations professional, you know firsthand that what someone needs today might be different next month, and will likely be different next year. This flexible approach allows your lifestyle benefits to evolve with your people.
Here at Compt, most of our customers who set up lifestyle benefits with our stipend software select one or more items from the following broad-based categories for their employees to spend in.
And this isn't representative of all of our 22 categories! For example, it doesn't include stipends like a birthday or anniversary bonus. But taking a broad-based helps avoid the headache of keeping track of thousands of vendors and initiatives and instead gives your employees autonomy of choice.
If you're more familiar with a vendor-based approach and need some convincing, here is a helpful Perks Vendor Cost Calculator to see what a difference going vendorless makes.