We’ve worked in offices that offered perks - like access to a stocked frig with milk, soft drinks, and a pantry with cereals - and those where you had to pay for your own coffee. My own experience was that I often worked through lunch on a busy day at the office which offered the food, and that I spent as little time as possible at the office where I had to spend my own money to buy coffee.
Why do employers offer perks? What we’ve seen from our own experiences and from researching this topic, is that employers find that offering unique perks attracts the best talent, keeps that talent around longer, and creates more engaged, productive employees.
An article on Glassdoor, which gets feedback directly from employees, says that “When it comes to recruiting talent today, Glassdoor surveys show that nearly 3 in 5 (57%) people report benefits and perks being among their top considerations before accepting a job, while 4 in 5 people also say they would prefer new perks over a pay raise.”
Some of the biggest, hippest companies that need lots and lots of top performers to keep ahead of competition are the ones with truly enviable perks. Netflix offers a year of paid maternity or paternity leave to new parents. Twitter is known for providing perks such as three catered meals a day, as well as on-site acupuncture and improv classes.
For the small companies we work with, though, these are just plain out of the question. But small businesses still have plenty of options to offer. Our favorites include:
Telecommuting - i.e. letting employees work from home. Most employees are grateful for the ability to do this and productivity can often improve.
Volunteer time - offering employees paid time off or organizing a company volunteer activity where employees can come together to give back.
Discounts for fitness clubs - if you can’t pay for a gym membership, perhaps offering a discount to a nearby gym will encourage physical fitness.
Guilt-free sick or vacation time - simply creating a culture that accepts and understands that employees are human and need occasional time off for illness and vacation will give you workers that take time off when sick (and contagious!) and enjoy their well-earned time off.
What do you think? Do you appreciate employee perks? Do they make a difference in your company? We’d love your feedback!