Providing competitive, fair compensation is a challenge for every business. It’s important to reward employees for their efforts so they’ll minimize personal financial stress and stay with a company for years to come.

Some companies are able to offer incredibly high salaries. Most, however, need to get creative with benefits and perks in order to add maximum value to employees.

Here’s how one company enhanced their value proposition by giving employees access to deep discounts at local restaurants and retailers.

The Opportunity

The company, a healthcare non-profit specializing in mental health and addiction treatments, employs over 900 behavioral healthcare and addiction counselors, medical staff, CNAs, support specialists, and more at over 75 locations across the US Northwest.

Most of that staff are long-time, engaged employees who believe in the company and love their jobs. They dedicate themselves to the difficult task of helping those suffering from mental health and addiction issues.

The company has a generous PTO policy along with a helpful employee assistance program. It also has small discount arrangements with a group buying company, a cell phone plan provider, and a few car rental companies.

“Being a nonprofit, we can’t always compete with the private sector when it comes to salaries,” says the company’s operations manager. “We’re always looking for valuable benefits and perks that can help our employees.”

Enter Access Perks

The company chose to partner with Access Perks for an employee discount program built around everyday spending.

“We had a few discounts for employees but it’s limited,” the operations manager says. “But Access Perks has thousands of places and a lot of local businesses.”

Access Perks offers a turnkey employee discount program with a network of over 350,000 restaurants and retailers across the U.S. Along with a client-branded web portal, Access Perks also features an additional 200,000 merchants accepting“show your phone” mobile coupons through their mobile app.

“When we saw this program, we thought it would be a great thing for staff,” says the company’s operation director. The program was up and running within a couple weeks. Access Perks and the company developed a plan to promote the program to employees, including regular promotional emails, instructional materials, and content to be posted on the company intranet.

The Results

In the first 12 months, the organization’s employees saved more than $80,000 at over 900 different restaurants and retailers.

“We’re very pleased with Access Perks,” the operations manager says. “I was taken aback by the usage. I had no idea it would be used this much. But our employees love the local deals, and it’s something they can use every day.”

He notes that the most popular offers have been for pizza, movies, and sporting goods. “That comes with the territory here in the Northwest,” he says. Employees redeemed offers at 11 different pizza shops, which served as popular companions to a “Rent 1, Get 1 Free” offer from Redbox.

The organization’s employees also put Access Perks’ travel booking engine to use, saving an average of $30 per night on hotel stays compared with popular sites such as Expedia. Destination theme parks Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags were especially popular with the employees.

The operation director points out the program’s educational materials make employee registration and usage easy. “The whole program is easy to access, and Access Perks is easy to work with,” he says.

Moving forward, Access and the organization plan to continue driving employee usage through emails and other content. Access is also contacting new merchants suggested by employees. “Our employees love that,” the operation director says.

The deals and savings make a big difference for a company full of employees who take less money to commit to serving a needy population.

“We have a lot of people that have been here for years, and they know they could make more money elsewhere,” the operations manager says. “But they tell me all the time that they still feel like they get enough benefits here, and they can go to bed at night knowing they helped someone.”