4 Creative Employee Benefits to Beat Burnout

July 28, 2022

At a glance

  • Employees are overworked: A new report from the American Psychological Association shows that many workers are buckling under the pressure of stressful work environments.
  • Provide better support systems: Employers and HR teams can help ease the burden by getting creative with the benefits and perks they provide, which will ultimately improve retention and mitigate the effects of the Great Resignation.
  • Take the next step: Aprio People Advisory Services can provide valuable third-party support and develop policies that allow employers to better serve their team members during difficult periods.

Schedule a consultation with Aprio today

The full story:

Many workplaces are finally entering a period of normalcy, but the effects of the pandemic and other stressful events of the past two-and-a-half years are taking their toll on employees.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s 2021 Work and Wellbeing Report, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before taking the survey. What’s more, 36% of employees reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion and 44% reported physical fatigue — a startling 38% increase from 2019’s survey results.[1]

These statistics should be a call to action for employers, especially in light of the tightening labor market and the “Great Resignation”, or the mass exodus of employees from their current positions to greener pastures. One strategy employers can use to improve their employees’ physical and mental wellness — and thus increase attraction and retention rates — is to re-evaluate and enrich their benefits and perks packages.

Of course, benefits staples like paid time off (PTO), parental leave, health insurance and retirement planning should be pillars of your package and also warrant regular review and improvement. But there are several other areas in which you can take better care of your employees from a more holistic perspective:

1. Foster employee health and wellness routinely

More than half of American workers believe they have to give their employers 24/7 accessibility, and employees are 70% more likely to experience burnout when they are faced with unreasonable time restraints.[2] Flexible work options, or the ability to allow employees to tailor their work schedules to their lifestyles, can go a long way toward improving your team members’ mental health.

Aside from flex work options, some employers have offered sabbaticals for individuals who may be struggling with burnout and need a break or wish to take prolonged time off for meaningful personal and professional opportunities. These leaves of absence can either be paid or unpaid and give employees time for mental and emotional rejuvenation.

While it is common for many large companies to offer stipends for fitness memberships, other organizations are taking more creative steps toward empowering their employees to prioritize physical fitness — which we know has a direct correlation to mental wellness. Consider giving your employees dedicated time during the workday to exercise or host group yoga, walking and other physical fitness challenges that encourage employees to make time for movement.

From a mental health perspective, many companies are investing in mindfulness or life coaching programs that give employees additional outlets to release, manage and navigate mental and emotional stress. When your employees know they have support at work to deal with major challenges and life events, they are more likely to feel fulfilled by their jobs and continue their careers with your organization.

2. Continue to prioritize perks for families

One of the biggest challenges working parents faced during the pandemic was balancing their jobs with childcare — and that continues to present obstacles and fuel burnout. In today’s competitive labor market, you cannot afford to offer the bare minimum. As an employer, you need to be making a regular, concerted effort to listen to your employees’ struggles with work/life balance and continue to provide support systems that allow them to bridge the gap.

Make it a priority to review your parental leave plan every year, compare it to industry standards and competitors, and make improvements. Go above and beyond your state’s legal requirements for parental leave and get creative with the help you can provide, such as offering meal stipends to new parents navigating the early days of newborn life or coordinating meal trains among team members in your office.

Aside from parental leave, you should also revisit what your support system looks like for employees navigating other aspects of caregiving, such as elder care.

3. Promote continuous education and professional development

Investing in your employees’ skill sets, knowledge and career paths can boost your business’s bottom line; it can also help redirect your staff members’ focus and reignite their passion. Many companies are amping up their education reimbursement options to encourage employees to further their education or providing reimbursement for professional memberships and certifications.

However, if increasing your reimbursement benefit isn’t compatible with your budget, another option for fostering professional development is spearheading an employee mentorship program, which pairs more seasoned team members with junior members to facilitate knowledge sharing and relationship development. At a basic level, you can also host in-person or virtual webinars, roundtables and “lunch-and-learns” that allow employees to share experiences in a more casual, conversational manner. Not only are these ideas easy to execute and employee-sourced, but they’re also incredibly cost-effective and appealing to current and future talent.

4. Provide tools to promote financial wellness

Achieving future financial goals can be exciting but also stressful for employees of all ages. That’s why some employers are providing team members with access to resources, applications and technology tools that can help with everything from budgeting to saving for unexpected expenses and emergencies. Platforms like Minted or Gusto Cashout help employees better manage their paychecks to fund necessities and goals. Similar to education reimbursement, other companies are providing employees with access to student loan repayment plans, helping remove a barrier to access for many employees across industries and experience levels.

5. Workplace upgrades

Companies with hybrid work arrangements should continue to enhance their office environments to keep employees excited about coming to work, while reducing burnout triggers. One way to improve comfort, appeal and camaraderie is to invest in basic office upgrades. This may include more standing and ergonomically friendly workstations that allow employees to work more comfortably, or a casual dress code if you work in a non-client-facing setting. To continue promoting health and wellness, you may also choose to offer more healthy snacks in the office or coordinate catered lunches that replicate the convenience and flexibility many employees enjoyed when solely working from home.

The bottom line

Navigating ever-changing work models means creating new policies, facilitating communication, resolving conflict and even managing tax requirements with no clear roadmap. Aprio People Advisory Services can be the valuable third-party resource your HR team needs to facilitate benefits and create policies that appeal to both current and future employees.

Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more.

Related resources


[1] Ashley Abramson, “Burnout and stress are everywhere,” 2022 Trends Report, American Psychological Association, January 1, 2022, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2022/01/special-burnout-stress, accessed July 2022.

[2] Georgi Todorov, “Important Burnout Stats, Trends and Facts 2022,” Thrive My Way, April 13, 2022, https://thrivemyway.com/burnout-stats/#:~:text=Employees%20who%20feel%20unsupported%20by,likely%20to%20visit%20the%20ER., accessed July 2022.