How much do benefits mean to you when looking for a new job? From an employer’s perspective, the goal of the job hunt is to attract the best talent for the position—and to hire that talent before he or she is lured away by a competitor. Offering good benefits and perks is one way a company can hook those great candidates and keep them for the long haul.

Most full-time employees expect at least minimal benefits from their employers. Standard offerings usually include a mix of health insurance, retirement plans, and vacation time. But even something as simple as getting to wear jeans to the office or working from home a few days a month can have a significant impact on morale and company loyalty.

Some companies go beyond the norm and get really creative with the benefits and perks they provide. Here are a few examples:

  • Along with other great benefits, toy companies Hasbro and Mattel both give their employees a half day on Friday every week of the year.
  • California-based Schools Financial Credit Union allows any of its employees to bring their newborns to work until the children are six months old. According to the vice president of marketing at the company, the babies cause little distraction, and since the parents can continue performing most of their work duties, the company doesn’t have to hire temps or train new people.
  • Netflix gives all its salaried employees unlimited vacation time: as long as the job gets done, employees can take off whatever time they want, whenever they want. Though unlimited vacation has its pros and cons and isn’t practical in many cases (such as hourly retail jobs), a 2011 survey shows that about 2 percent of employers in the U.S. offer such a work environment, up from 1 percent in 2010.
Want a free car wash? Go work for Google!
Want a free car wash? Go work for Google!

IGN Entertainment distributes bonuses to employees through a system called “viral pay.” Twice a year, employees hand out tokens to coworkers they believe deserve recognition. These tokens then translate into each employee’s bonus. The system allows employees to reward their peers and motivates everyone to work harder for more tokens in the future.

  • Google is famous for offering great benefits. Some of the more unusual ones include access to an on-site doctor, other on-site services such as dry cleaning and car washes, free lunch and dinner, financial planning classes, and roller hockey.

Of course, not all companies have the resources to provide unique employee benefits such as these. Nevertheless, any business can offer little extras to their employees to make them feel valued and part of a community.

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