Workplace Innovation

5 Simple & Inexpensive Ways Companies We Admire are Innovating Employee Engagement

Companies like PwC, Salesforce and Tesla share tactics to retain top talent.

In the age of online employer reviews, it’s no secret how your company treats its employees. If you can delight people with exciting, helpful perks, word will spread and it’ll be easier to attract and retain great people.

Not long ago, allowing casual dress was a big deal. But not anymore. Companies are continually raising the bar with employee perks. If La Croix and an XBox top your list of perks, it’s time to step your game up.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to become a huge, time-consuming project. While some perks may require a lot of research and logistical planning (not to mention legal and financial consideration), others are quite easy to implement.

We’ve studied the trends to see what the most popular companies are offering and identified five perks that are both exciting and easy to roll out.

  1. Nap Rooms: A Gallup Poll found 40 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. If you’re one of them, you know how your productivity suffers. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can significantly help improve mood, alertness and performance.Fooda’s client partners Capital One and PwC are a few of the companies already offering employees the use of nap rooms.Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington recently started campaigning to promote better sleep after injuring herself when she collapsed from exhaustion. The nap rooms at The Huffington Post and Google use nap pods—lounge chairs that are partially enclosed at the top—with built-in Bose music systems and timers that gently wake people with light and vibration.
  2. Bicycle DeskHealthy Workspaces: The traditional workspace that consists of a standard desk and chair isn’t just boring, it’s leading to health problems and decreased productivity. As Lucas Carr, assistant professor of health and human physiology at the University of Iowa told The Atlantic last year, “Research has found excessive sedentary time to be a risk factor for many physical and psychosocial health outcomes including mortality, obesity, cardiometabolic-disease, cancer, stress, depressive symptoms and poorer cognitive function.”Organizations including the PwC, Hulu and Salesforce have started offering employees different types of workstations, and employees are responding well. In a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, workers in sedentary jobs used the standing option on an adjustable sit-to-stand desk for an average of an hour a day and reported a 54 percent reduction in upper back and neck pain.There are plenty of other unique workstations to consider, including stability balls, treadmill desks and bicycle desks.

    A more practical workspace option is to set up an area with a variety of seating, where people can work from their laptops. It can include both fresh, ergonomic options and a few unique, comfy options. For example, Whole Foods corporate provides employees fabric swings to sit in while working.

  3. Popup Restaurants: It’s time for lunch. Chances are you and your employees have access to the same old lunch options as last week, and you’re wondering which one to settle on for today. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get fired up about lunch when you cycle through the same old options week after week, month after month, year after year.A great way to give your employees a wider variety of tasty lunch options is to have a local restaurant popup at your workplace. Popup restaurants keep lunch options fresh with a new restaurant setting up shop each day and offering an authentic and convenient meal option. Boring lunches are just a memory.“When I ask people to rank the things they like here, popup restaurants are at the top. When I have candidates in I bring them to the popup for lunch.” — Brian Evans, VP of HR, Tractor Supply.

    An added bonus is employees don’t have to race around on their lunch breaks, trying to make it back to the office before the hour is up. They can spend time with each other. Eating with coworkers provides opportunities to share ideas and form friendships, which lead to more positive working relationships. Popup restaurants are a win-win for employees and employers.

    The program is easy and inexpensive, too. The restaurants handles all setup, cleanup and employee payment transactions. The employees pay for their own meals. There’s no headache of planning or logistics, just great meals.

  4. Cut the Stress from the Workplace: A Monster survey found 42 percent of U.S. workers have purposely changed jobs due to a stressful work environment. The fact of the matter is, if you’re not doing enough to help employees manage stress, they may leave.One of the best ways you can help employees relieve stress is by providing simple pampering services at your office, like massages, facials and haircuts. Employees can book appointments for free, or at reduced rates, and enjoy relaxing downtime at the office. Obviously, relaxed people are easier to work with than people who are anxious and headed for burnout. Studies by the Touch Research Institute show immediate changes after chair massage, including elevated moods, reduced job stress and revitalized energy.At Genentech, there’s an on-site fitness facility that offers massage services. Another company, Scripps Health, finds it more cost effective to use mobile pampering services, arranging for providers to stop by offices on a regularly scheduled basis. While most pampering service providers are local, some providers, like Mobile Spa and Infinite Massage, operate nationwide.
  5. Concierge Services: An Ernst & Young survey found that one in three full-time workers believe work/life balance has become more difficult in the past five years.Offering concierge services to your employees helps them get personal tasks off their to-do lists. When employees need a task done, they simply contact their employer’s concierge service to handle it. The employer typically covers the concierge fees, while employees pay for the cost of what they need done.Picking up items at the store, mailing packages and making travel arrangements may not take a lot of time individually, but these things can weigh heavily on someone who has a full schedule. Instead of leaving employees to race around during breaks, or after work, help them get things done. The added bonus is it will free up their time and energy to devote to work.

    Capitol One is a good example of a company that offers concierge services. Employees are encouraged to hand over tasks like taking their cars in for service or returning library books.

These 5 ideas are relatively easy to implement and are sure to make waves through your organization. At this point, you’re just a few short weeks away from adding that next great perk that gets everyone talking.

Are you interested in bringing Popup restaurants to your workplace? That just happens to be our specialty – let’s connect.