In an incredibly competitive job market, employers need to do everything possible to make their recruitment and retention efforts effective. While offering employee benefits is a well-established way of doing this, employee perks are becoming more popular in recent years.

What’s the difference, and how can you begin effectively using employee perks with your deskless workforce?

Perks vs. Benefits

While perks and benefits are similar, they aren’t the same thing. The differences are important for every HR and People Operations leader to understand.

Benefits, which include things like health plans and retirement savings accounts, are typically connected to an employee’s paycheck. The employee and employer often each contribute some amount of money toward them. Benefits help cover expenses an employee would otherwise be left to cover out of pocket.

On the other hand, perks are usually independent of an employee’s pay. Perks act as an added non-cash bonus or “thank you” to that employee. This might be a gift card, extra time off, or a fun experience for the employee and their guest of choice.

Businessolver helpfully distinguishes between the two by calling benefits “non-wage compensation that supplements an employee’s salary” while defining perks as “extra incentives on top of salary and non-wage compensation.” That sums it up pretty well!

Perks in the Deskless Workforce

If perks are “extra incentives” for your employees, how can you go about using them effectively with your deskless workforce?

Do Your Research

It’s easy to assume that perks are perks and you can simply toss them out to your team—how could anyone be less than thrilled with something extra? But this mistake is one you should avoid.

According to Amy Spurling, CEO of Compt, not all perks are created equal. But the differences between them aren’t based on what you might think. In a recent interview with Anthill, Spurling shared that “When it comes to perks, deskless workers want almost exactly what desked workers want. They want to focus on their wellness, their family, and that kind of thing.”

Where you find differences between deskless and desk-based workers, according to Spurling, is in the level of compensation an employee earns.

While the common understanding that deskless workers earn less than their desked counterparts isn’t necessarily true, wide variations in compensation levels exist among deskless workers (just like anywhere else).

“Bungee jumping might be a great perk for an employee making six figures, but it’ll hit differently if you’re someone who needs gas money to get to work,” Spurling said. “Employees in lower pay scales will be much far appreciative of perks that affect their day-to-day lives, like perks related to food and child care.”

Ultimately, employers need to understand that offering perks requires strategic thinking. Employers should consider questions like these:

  • Who are your current employees?
  • What demographics do they come from?
  • What are their biggest challenges—not just on the job, but in their personal lives?
  • What types of future employees do you want to attract?

Your perks will be most well-received—and your employee retention rates are more likely to go up—if you have a pulse on your workforce and offer perks that are actually a good fit for your team.

Don’t Sweat the Amount

Okay, maybe it’s not that simple—of course the amount matters! Every employee would prefer a $100 gift card over a $10 gift card. But what matters most, according to Spurling, is the flexibility you’re offering.

If you’ve got a bigger budget to put toward employee perks, you can consider all kinds of segments for your perks program. You might want to put some money toward professional development, some toward wellness, and the rest toward student loans.

But if your budget is more limited, you’re better off consolidating the options to give employees the most bang for your buck. This also allows you to reach the highest number of team members rather than leaving half your team disappointed with the perk that was offered.

For example, one company Spurling worked with offered a family stipend as a perk to their employees. Right in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, with everyone stuck at home, one employee’s water heater went out. Thanks to the family perk, they were able to offset the cost of replacing their water heater—even though the amount of the stipend wasn’t huge.

“Something like that has a massive impact on that employee, their life, and on their affiliation with their company,” said Spurling. That’s the kind of thing that builds employee loyalty and increases retention!

Make Sure Employees Know

This one really is that simple. What good is it to offer great employee perks if your employees don’t know they’re available?

This point may seem obvious, but it’s especially important to call it out when talking about deskless workers. Many companies rely on online wikis or email to distribute information, but many deskless workers don’t have company emails.

Because deskless workers are on the floor, on the road, or in the front of the house whenever they’re on the clock, employers need to find unique and effective ways to make sure they’re receiving important info, especially around things like benefits and perks.

That’s where Anthill comes in. By making two-way, 24/7 communication between employees and employers available through text messaging, Anthill ensures your deskless employees aren’t left out of the loop.

  • Driving long haul? No problem.
  • Standing on the sales floor so long your feet hurt? No problem.
  • Busy serving during the lunch rush? No problem.

All these deskless employees and more can stay in tune with company happenings and perk offerings through Anthill’s innovative platform. And you—the one managing those workers—can book a free demo today to see if it’s the right fit for you!

Jennifer Harris-Kroll

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