5 Outside-the-Box Holiday Perk Ideas For Employees

Whether you’re an employer, or a vendor supporting many employers, chances are that you will be working a lot harder to keep your workforce engaged this holiday season. It’s the biggest spending period of the year, filled with celebrations and gift-giving occasions. And this year, rising prices across the board have shrunk discretionary spending budgets, leaving employees feeling a little tight in the wallet.

There is an outside of the box way to boost morale that’s different from doling out holiday bonuses or end-of-year pay raises. It’s providing unique holiday perks that can improve your employees’ life in a small way, without breaking the bank.

So what are some unique holiday perk ideas you can employ this season? Start with these five outside-of-the-box ideas to incentivize employee retention and loyalty using unique perks.

1. Holiday Shopping Stipends

Between Black Friday, the iconic retail industry gift-buying kickoff sale, and Cyber Monday, the digital adaptation of Black Friday, employees spend billions during this single weekend. In 2020 alone, consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday.

Many Americans are already saying that inflation will curb their spending this year. About 84% of your employees will be looking for ways to save, with 40% scaling back on purchases and 41% indicating that they’re interested in coupons and other discounts.

This provides a big opportunity for employers to entice employee loyalty and engagement with a holiday shopping stipend perk. Essentially, this holiday perk is designed to engage workers by easing the burden of holiday shopping.

With an app-based fintech solution and reloadable pay cards, it’s relatively easy to administer a stipend program designed for any employee’s needs.

2. Travel Stipends

A common expense that puts financial strain on families during the holidays is travel. A travel stipend can be used to cover expenses upfront, eliminating the financial stress of holiday travel and encouraging employees to take advantage of the time away from work. When they return, they feel committed, energized, and more productive.

Many workers take advantage of time off to travel and see family near and far during the holidays. Unfortunately, inflation has driven up gas prices – impacting all forms of travel.

Did you know that 91% of holiday travel is via personal vehicles? That means that while airports are full, the highways are still handling the brunt of holiday season traffic. It also means that many employees will spend more on gas to fill their tanks between November and January. Meanwhile, airfare has risen by 42% over the last 12 months.

Some companies like TourRadar dole out up to $1,800 a year in travel stipends. But the great thing about these flexible benefits is that the dollar amount is completely up to your company. Even offering your employees a $100 Thanksgiving travel stipend can help cover gas to and from family gatherings.

Help spread the cheer this holiday season by facilitating easy-to-use benefit programs that really make a difference for employees.

3. Flexible Scheduling

If the idea of monetary benefits feels overdone, or you’re already offering a few different options, consider what employees need more than money. Flexible scheduling is something that more than three-quarters of workers consistently name as a desirable benefit.

And, it’s a benefit that helps your employers achieve greater efficiency. According to Gartner, 43% of employees reported increased productivity attributed to flexible scheduling. If you’re looking for ways to provide unique holiday perks to your workers, we recommend looking for ways to add flexibility to the employee-employer relationship.

And even if you can’t always offer flexible scheduling, offering it around the holidays can still be a great way to foster loyalty and engagement.

4. Professional Development Stipends

Offering stipends for professional development is a unique holiday perk that is not just a normal holiday cash bonus. Professional development stipends is a clever way to help employees advance their own skills, which benefits both the employer in the long-run and the employee’s personal development.

These stipends can be used for attending conferences, workshops, online training programs, or other professional learning opportunities. For millennial employees, 87% rate professional or development opportunities as important to them in a job.

Offering this type of stipend is also a great way to build employee morale with the New Year, as people set professional New Year’s resolutions, not just personal ones.

5. Flexible Pay

There is an assortment of holiday-related benefits that can help employers, staffing agencies, and payroll companies spread the cheer. And the biggest spending time of year is one more reason that workers are choosing employment positions with flexible pay.

Currently, just 11% of private industry employers offer flexible benefits. However, flexible pay is a trend that is gaining popularity among a whole variety of options that add flexibility.

Flexible pay gives individual employees more freedom to receive their pay, along with the ability to access earned wages outside of a traditional payroll cycle, such as through direct deposit or pay cards. In the past, employees have been burdened by biweekly payroll cycles, stuck waiting in an endless loop for payday. Or they had to navigate depositing checks, which can take even more time to get paid.

This cycle, while predictable, adds to the financial stress that many employees struggle with day-to-day. It’s estimated that three out of four employees are facing major financial stress. That’s 75% of the workforce for any given organization. And even though the holidays are meant to be relaxing, for many, they actually amplify financial stress.

Flexible pay benefits can help reduce the stress that the majority of the workforce experiences by providing more options to access wages as soon as the next business day. There are plenty of new fintech companies offering up same-day pay cards which could be the must-have employee benefit this holiday season.

Don’t Wait to Get the Best Benefits for Employees This Holiday Season

Employers and staffing agencies across nearly every industry have dealt with sparse candidates, hard-to-fill vacancies, and other aspects of a candidate-driven job market. As we enter into the 2022 holiday shopping season, we expect to see businesses stuck between a rock and hard spot when it comes to staffing events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Help nail your (or your clients’) recruiting strategies by providing access to a variety of unique employee benefits programs like holiday shopping reimbursements, travel stipends, and flexible pay, and more.

Unsure where to start? Juice Financial is a fintech company specializing in payroll and flexible pay perks solutions using reloadable pay cards. Learn more about how Juice’s pay cards, including our Earned Wage Advance solution, can change the game for talent acquisition and retention during a tight holiday season.

Free eBook: 14 Unique Perks to Engage Employees During High Inflation