Can't find time to have your car washed? Or to get your prescription drugs filled?
Employees at a growing number of companies are relying on their employers to handle those errands. San Francisco-based Genentech's standard suite of benefits, for example, includes a concierge service that offers on-site haircuts and car washes. St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M's employees have access to an on-site pharmacy.
Perks like these are part of a growing list of incentives companies are providing to supplement standard benefits like health insurance in an effort to help attract and retain employees. They've got plenty of financial incentive to do so: The cost of replacing an employee can be as high as 90 to 200 percent of that employee's annual salary, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
And there is evidence that perks can boost loyalty. In a recent survey by MetLife, half of employees said benefits are an "important reason" they remain with their employer.
From mobile manicures to unlimited time off, here are some of the more unusual work perks companies have added:
Don't be surprised if a mobile farmers market truck pulls up outside your office at lunchtime. It's just one of many emerging "lifestyle" perks cropping up across the country. For example, companies with time-strapped workers can tap Manicube to provide $15, 15-minute conference-room manicures. SC Johnson's Concierge Service returns employees' library books and picks up their dry cleaning. In place at only 3 percent of U.S. workplaces, these types of "concierge" perks are most attractive to executive-level employees who have high demands on their time, said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at the Society for Human Resource Management.
By now, on-site fitness centers are de rigueur, with 20 percent of employers offering them to employees and one-third subsidizing or reimbursing off-site fitness memberships, according to the society's 2014 employee benefits report. A new perk in the category? On-site medical clinics. About 7 percent of employers now offer them, according to the society.
Some companies are taking wellness a step further by offering on-site pharmacies, weight management consulting and smoking cessation programs. Others are extending reduced-rate gym membership programs to family members.
"Wellness is a benefit that all employees can benefit from," Esen said. And it's linked with decreased health care costs. "If your employees are healthier, they're not going to be utilizing as many health-care dollars," she said. The catch: Employees have to be engaged enough to stay with the company for awhile since it often takes three to five years before changes in health-care costs become apparent, she added.
All work and no play make employees less inclined to stay. So firms are piling on perks aimed at getting employees, and their families, out the door with discounted tickets to theme parks, museums, even ski resorts. The society reports that 30 percent offer discounted ticket services, and 22 percent give employees company-bought tickets.
Google puts such a premium on seeing the world that it offers its employees travel insurance on personal vacations. Kohl'spartners with employee discount program Working Advantage to offer such off-site perks as discounts at theme parks like Busch Gardens, Sea World and Six Flags, lower-priced sporting event and movie tickets, and discounts at restaurants.
Some employees in urban areas are now getting mass transit discounts, while those in suburban and rural areas may benefit from parking and gas benefits. One in 10 workplaces now offer transit subsidies and 3 percent offer carpooling subsidies, according to the society. San Jose, California-based Adobe Systems, for example, offers such commuter-related benefits as a $100 monthly van pool subsidy, shuttle services to and from select train stations, an emergency ride home program and secure bike parking and a $20-a-month transit subsidy.
Got a charity you work tirelessly for? Check with your HR department to see if your employer will donate to your cause. A third of companies have matching gift programs through which they give a certain amount for every dollar an employee raises or every hour she (or he) volunteers, according to the society. Some also offer their employees paid time off for their volunteering efforts.
Unlimited Time Off
Virgin's Richard Branson recently tweeted that his company was toying with offering employees unlimited time off. If he did, the company would join Netflix, Gilt Groupe, Motley Fool and others in allowing employees unrestricted vacation days. "It's not that employees would take as much time off as they wanted," said Esen. "It's more about giving them the flexibility that if they need to take more than that two weeks or three weeks, they have the opportunity to do so."
Only 1 to 2 percent of organizations now offer this, added Esen, and for good reason. "This is a very difficult one to navigate," she said. "Even if companies offer it, they realize that they do need to have some sort of guidance or parameters around it. It needs to be unlimited vacation if you have achieved your work goals. There needs to be some link to performance if it is to be successful."
This article originally appeared in CNBC.