Keeping employees engaged is getting more and more difficult today. Everyone is struggling to find harmony between their work lives and personal lives, while at the same time maintaining their mental and physical health. When just one thing goes out of balance, it can so easily impact an employee’s performance.
And it’s no surprise that employee engagement impacts a company’s bottom line, and so of course human resources departments are still looking for ways to keep their employees happy. But it’s not enough to solely offer benefits anymore, now that they’re considered basic requirements in the job market. That’s why employers are turning to their perks programs to offer their employees a range of perk stipends that are specific to their own needs, interests, and lifestyles.
What Are Employee Perk Stipends?
Most are pretty familiar with standard benefits like health care and 401K, but when we talk about perks, the waters begin to muddy a bit.
Perks are things that some companies may offer such as catered lunch twice a week, a meditation room, or a day off to use on your birthday.
These are general perks open to everyone.
Perk stipends are open to everyone, too, but instead of being more general, employees get to choose how they use their perk. For example, instead of getting lunch catered twice a week, employees are given $250/month for lunches, to spend on the food they’d like.
What Are Different Kinds of Perk Stipends?
There are several kinds of perk stipends that employers offer their employees, ranging from meal allowances to learning & development stipends to cell phone and health & wellness stipends. Different companies offer different perk stipends for a variety of reasons.
Some perk stipends may be inspired by the founders and what they personally prioritize and want to pass along to their employees; other perk stipends may be budgeted and evaluated based on employee preferences and reevaluated each year or quarter.
Here is list of perk stipend examples we’ve seen at Compt:
- Health & Wellness stipends
- Remote work stipends
- Meal plan stipends
- Cell phone stipends
- Learning & development stipends
- Equipment stipends
- Family-oriented stipends
- Travel & experience stipends
So why are employers going to lengths to offer perk stipends when they were already offering their employees different perks in similar categories previously?
The benefits are many to both the employers and the employees alike. On the employer side, offering stipends can lighten the load for HR and People Ops teams, while giving employees more autonomy to control their own experiences. They’re also easier to manage on both ends; the flexibility encourages employees to increase their engagement with the offerings.
12 Examples of Perk Stipends in 2020
Seeing how perk stipends can be applied at different companies can be hard to imagine conceptually. We’re sharing perk stipend examples by showing how a variety of companies offer their employees perk stipends, whether it’s solely one stipend or a few.
Webflow, a software company in California, offers its employees perks for health & wellness, perks towards continuous learning, and perks that compliment the lifestyles of employees who work remotely. It’s obvious that this company cares about contributing to the overall wellbeing of its people. Here’s their perk breakdown:
- Health & wellness: $200/month
- Continued learning: $1,000/year
- Remote work: $250/month
Buffer is a software company that offers its employees perks for continuous learning, remote lifestyle support, and help towards dependant-oriented costs. Similar to Webflow, you can see based on the stipends offered that Buffer has similar values. They aim to create authentic engagement with their product and based on what they offer, they’re promoting authenticity for their employees, too. Here’s their perk breakdown:
- Remote work: $200/month
- Continued learning: $20/month
- Dependents grant: $3,000/year
Quantopian is a data science platform that offers their employees one stipend, but they have the option to use it on either their cell phone or health & wellness. Even though the company only offers one monetary stipend, they give their people a choice on how to spend it, leaving room for autonomy based on an individual’s needs. Here is their breakdown:
- Cell phone or Health & wellness: $600/quarter
Hinge, a popular dating app software, offers its employees a dating stipend, to use whether or not they’re single. In addition to benefiting the social lives of their employees, they’re also helping to improve their understanding of the user’s typical experience. This is a perk stipend that exists as a two-way street, making things more fun for the employees, while giving the employer helpful intel on their product.Here is their breakdown:
- Dating stipend: $200/month
Retail superstore Walmart, offers employees and their families a medical stipend. It only makes sense that a store with so much to offer its customers, would offer its employees something of value. While a medical stipend may not seem as fun and exciting as say, a dating app stipend, it says a lot about a company when they’re willing to offer a perk stipend to both individual employees and their families. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Medical stipend (personal): $250/year
- Medical stipend (family): $500/year
This company is all about enjoying the great outdoors, but you don’t need to do it alone. REI’s benefits and perks support a life-work harmony in a way that really proves their acknowledgement of the importance of family. If an employee chooses, they can take advantage of a perk that goes towards adoption costs. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Adoption cost reimbursement: $3,000/one-time payment
The design application software company Adobe offers its employees a wealth of options when it comes to perks. Some that come to mind are a professional development and education stipend, as well as a stipend for fertility treatments. Especially for a company with applications that help so many in their career, it’s notable that Adobe supports continued professional development and education for their employees. Finally, they offer a very generous surrogacy and adoption stipend. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Adoption and surrogacy assistance: $25,000
The professional social network LinkedIn may exist to help people improve their careers, but they’re all about helping their employees live a holistic life, both in and out of the office. They offer an education stipend that employees can use on education related to their jobs. Imagine being able to be endorsed for a new work-related skill because your company helped fund you to learn it! They also offer a generous wellness stipend. Here is their breakdown:
- Education stipend: $5,000/year
- Wellness stipend: $1,800/year
Lambda School, a tech education company, offers its employees a range of stipends that, whether you work in-person or from home, can be appreciated by all employees who choose to take advantage. These stipends may seem smaller in comparison to others in this list, but notice how they are all offered on a monthly basis; Lambda is offering its employees perk stipends that keep their lives comfortable and healthy on a continual basis. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Fitness stipend: $100/month
- Home cleaning stipend: $100/month
- Education stipend: $500
Basecamp, a remote-first technology company, has done a great job of offering its employees a variety of perks that can be enjoyed regardless of where an employee lives. They even include a coworking space stipend, so their employees have the option of working amongst others. In a world where remote working is seen as a huge benefit in hiring, Basecamp acknowledges that depending on your situation at home, you could become lonely or have too many distractions. The coworking space stipend helps set them apart to their remote-only employees. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Coworking space stipend: $100/month
- Fitness stipend: $100/month
- Education stipend: $1,000
- Charitable gifts stipend: $1,000
The hardware and software giant IBM would be remiss not to offer their employees stipends to support a comfortable lifestyle. They offer stipends to assist folks with commuting and parking, as well as a stipend to assist with adoption fees. Not only do their stipends help with getting to and from work, but they also support family and home life. Their adoption perk stipends are especially notable. Instead of giving their employees a flat rate on adoption assistance in the overall process, they offer a perk stipend annually. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Commuting & transit stipend: $270/month
- Parking stipend: $270/month
- Adoption stipend: $20,000/annually
Similar to HInge’s dating stipend, AirBnb offers its employees a travel perk stipend. While traveling around the world, the company offers its workers a generous amount of money to be spent at AirBnB stays around the world. It’s of course a great perk to offer at any organization, but especially for this company, which gets to hear firsthand accounts of how enjoyable their overall platform experience really is. Here is their perk breakdown:
- Travel stipend (in AirBnB locations): $2,000/year
Employee Perk Stipends Benefit the Entire Company
Now that we’ve shown you several perk stipend examples, do you see how many options you have?
Offering employees perk stipends to spend on various activities that improve their quality of life can help to increase overall employee engagement and even profit (sometimes by $2.4k per employee) and even retention. As you can see from the perk stipend examples we chose to show, there are so many ways that companies can show their employees gratitude and appreciation via perks. The top perk stipends and vendors fluctuate over time. Learn more about 2021’s popular perk stipends here.
If you’re curious to start offering your employees perk stipends or to see perk stipend examples of how you may be able to make what you offer more competitive, let us know how we can help!