5 different ways to offer employee benefits:

Employee benefits are not limited to a bump in pay or extra time off. Here are five creative ways to show your employees you care about their happiness and well-being:

1) Feed them. Google offers its employees free, on-site catering. You probably can’t do that, but you can stock the office refrigerator with sandwich supplies, snacks and cold beverages a few times a month. An investment on $100 of groceries may result in thousands of dollars of additional productivity.

2) Add a game room. The occasional midday game of ping pong, foosball or darts in an unused room or common area gets your employees circulating, talking and thinking. The physical activity and interpersonal engagement facilitates collaboration and fuels creativity.

3) Sponsor a sports team. Nothing inspires loyalty, dedication and connections like team sports. Gauge your employees’ interest in bowling, softball or even trivia teams, then spring for t-shirts and a round or two of post-game drinks. An added bonus? Team sports offer great networking opportunities.

4) Help your employees grow professionally. A visit from a motivational speaker, covering the cost of memberships in professional organizations, annual trips to key conferences and flexing work time to allow employees to attend educational activities show your team that their growth is important to you. This also makes them more valuable to your operation.

5) Make them use their vacation time. CNBC recently reported that American workers use only 77% of their available vacation time. Enforce a company policy that requires employees to take time off to recharge their batteries. Work with your Human Resources specialist, however, to make sure everyone does not take off at once.