5 Best Company Perks You Can Expect

coworkers perks benefits funBy Heather Huhman, founder/president of Come Recommended

Compensation is important to most job seekers and employees, and employers are stepping up this year in that respect. According to CareerBuilder's 2013 Hiring Forecast, 72 percent of employers plan to increase compensation for existing employees and 47 percent will offer higher starting pay for new employees. Increased pay is a great way to retain workers -- in fact, 70 percent reported that increasing salaries is the best way to boost employee retention -- but 58 percent also pointed to better benefits.

Here, executives and recruitment experts share the best perks for retaining employees and setting a company apart from its competition:

1. Growth opportunities: "A great raise can also raise morale, but in today's economy, you just might not have the funds to bump salaries. Instead, offer employees the opportunity for professional growth. This could be a new project or even a class to help your workers learn new aspects of the job. Continuing industry education is a great way to give employees a perk that also helps them become better workers." -- Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire

More:100 Best Companies To Work For

2. Flexibility: "A recent Mom Corps survey found [that] 61 percent of working adults strongly or somewhat agree that flexibility is one of the most important factors they consider when looking for a new job or deciding what company to work for, and 20 percent strongly agree. Flexibility is without a doubt the most cost-effective employee-retainment tool today. All generations desire some level of flexibility in their day-to-day schedule, and many progressive companies are already offering it." -- Allison O'Kelly, CEO of Mom Corps

3. Competitive benefits: "No matter what innovative new perk you hear about when reading about HR trends, the basic perks are the main ones still. Having competitive amounts of vacation time, affordable health care coverage and incentive bonuses are the major ones for most employees. Bringing your pet to work or a relaxed dress may be appropriate perks for some cultures, but many employees may not respond to those." -- Jim Geisler, director, executive search, The Oliver Group

More:How To Have More Fun At Work

4. Positive culture: "When I'm talking to HR leaders, I encourage them to stop thinking in terms of perks. Employees don't need more coffee options in the cafe or a monthly chair massage. Sure, those are nice, but what employees need and want is [a] strong, positive culture of recognition and appreciation in which employees choose to engage. By showing employees how they're valued with frequent, timely recognition, you can create an environment they wouldn't want to leave." -- Derek Irvine, vice president, client strategy and consulting, Globoforce

5. Fun: "Internally, we try to buy lunch a couple days a week and let different people choose where we are eating. You will find many of us, executives to associates, all eating at the same table and cracking jokes about 'Family Guy.' Try to make the environment fun and family-like, as no one wants to work in a sweatshop." -- Jim Thompson, vice president of business development, JMJ Phillip

Heather R. Huhman is the founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. You can connect with Heather and Come Recommended on Twitter and Facebook.

Top 5 Company Perks

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