In their book "The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company," Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel argue that leadership development should happen at every level of an organization. The very best organizations develop leaders internally for every position. Not only is this attitude great for the company, it's great for team members as well.

"Development is the ultimate perk. It can't be taken back once given, and it leads to other benefits."

Perks like bonuses, vacations, stock options, and merchandise discounts can all be taken away. Give someone a skill or an opportunity that can truly help them develop as an individual, and you can't ever take that back.

Obviously, financial (and other) incentives aren't bad. In fact, if you only offer development as a perk, you will develop your team members right into a great role at a different company who will give them development and financial compensation. But, it shouldn't be overlooked as a really important part of what you offer employees. And I'm not talking about company-wide in-services that aren't truly helpful. Offer your employees an opportunity to get better at the things they love doing, and you'll give them something that will help them (and your organization) long into the future.