I’ve been recruiting for the high-tech industry for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve seen dozens of innovative incentives for attracting and retaining top talent. Let’s cut to the chase. Here are my ‘top 10’ incentives:
1. Cash (of course). Competitive salaries, generous annual merit increases, attainablebonuses (paid out annually, semi-annually, or quarterly), Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), employee stock discount programs, 401k’s. These cash awards are all great options for attracting and retaining great employees.
2. Hiring bonuses. Or “Good Faith” money as I like to call it. What better message to a new employee that you have ‘faith’ in what they’ll bring to the company? The amount doesn’t have to be significant (unless it needs to be for key hires or executives). Pulling someone from another company to yours should award the new employee a hiring bonus of some denomination as a good faith measure for what they will add to your team.
3. Extended vacation time. It used to be that most companies would offer two weeks paid vacation to new full-time employees. Over the last 8-10 years, I’ve seen more and more companies start the ‘new hire’ vacation policy with three weeks paid vacation, and then go to four weeks after the employee is working for the company 5 years.
4. Floating holidays. We’re seeing an increase in companies shutting down for the winter holidays between Christmas and New Year. Many of these companies are offering floating holidays to the employees so they don’t have to take this time off unpaid.
5. The 9 hour work day. Some companies are giving employees “every other Friday” off work for bi-monthly 3 day weekends, by having them work 9 hours a day for 8 days, 8 hours one day (over a 2 week period) and then the employee has every alternating Friday as a 3 day weekend.
6. Telecommuting or remote work schedules 1-2 days per week. Another huge incentive for employee retention: allowing employees to work remotely at least one day a week (preferably two).
7. Discount tickets. For amusement parks, gym memberships, sporting events, ski-lift tickets, movies, restaurants, etc. Besides the money savings, it reminds people to take time to have fun!
8. Education reimbursement. With the cost of education these days, what better way to retain employees than to reimburse them for tuition and books. You can add a clause to the employee’s contract that clarifies the education reimbursement is valid as long as the employee stays with your company for a defined period of time post graduation. That way they won’t run off to your competitor for higher pay as soon as they graduate.
9. Permanent resident ‘green cards’. If you hire a top level candidate who is currently working on a U.S. Visa, but would like to start the Green Card application process, this is a great retention offering. Candidates who qualify for the ‘green card’ application process, should remain employed by their current company until the process is complete. This process can take up to 2 or 3 years for completion. If the candidate leaves the company during this process, they must restart the entire application process from the beginning with a new employer.
10. Transportation benefits. There are several transportation benefits that companies can offer employees. Expenses such as mileage, bus / train fare, and parking can help employees with work transportation costs.