In the past, employers and employees viewed perks as special favors allotted to a chosen few. The old view of perks included such things as corner or window offices, cars, personal secretaries or assistants, executive dining rooms, etc., etc., etc. As organizations restructured and began flattening their hierarchy in search of faster and more cost-effective ways of running a business, many of these perks were reduced, if not eliminated. Today, perks are making a comeback in the form of varied benefits designed to charm and pamper virtually every employee or recruit.
Among Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For, 83 percent provide some form of child-care services, 73 percent offer eldercare resources, and 60 percent include adoption assistance. But that's just the beginning. Many companies, large and small, have embraced the idea of endorsing alternative work arrangements, telecommuting, casual dress, personal development training, complimentary food and beverages, and health/fitness facilities or resources. The new perks don't stop there. Here's a short list of some other perks companies are sponsoring and promoting:
- Concierge services for almost any personal assistance required (e.g., order and/or pick up photos, groceries, dry cleaning, flowers, etc.).
- Bringing children and/or pets to work.
- Ready-to-serve take-home meals.
- Recreational facilities (on-site or discounted memberships).
- Free housecleaning services.
- Vacation travel services.
- Legal, financing, and investment counseling.
The new rage for providing employee perks is just beginning. Some companies provide on-site services; others contract with outside providers or use a combination of the two. The question is how can you provide perks that meet and/or beat the deep-pocket competition?
How to Meet and Beat the New Perks Competition
Regardless of your size or budget, if you want to stay in the talent game, you need to look for new ways to continually reward employees for their dedication and hard work. You also need to help them balance their work and personal life needs and expectations.
Tips for Success
Enlist the support of senior management. This is critical to the success of any perquisite program, which requires substantial up-front investment and a comprehensive in-house communications program. Involve a wide range of employees on the initial planning committee. Include parents, single parents, singles, empty nesters, people from all age groups, and those with varied needs and interests so that you get a view from all perspectives on what perks should be made available.
Work Perks Survey Results
A recent online survey addressing the issue of perks as a means of attracting and retaining employees found that 65 percent of respondents believed that work perks helped, while 35 percent said they did not. The survey ranked perks by popularity:
82% Casual dress
60% Flexible hours
49% Personal development training
40% Employee entertainment/company product discounts
36% Free food/beverages
16% Fitness center
9% Recreation facilities
7% Bringing children to work
5% Bringing pets to work
5% Lactation room
2% Concierge services
2% Take-home meals
1% On-site childcare
The average number of work perks offered according to company size is:
0-199 employees 3.38 perks
200-999 employees 3.36 perks
1,000-4,999 employees 3.14 perks
5,000+ employees 5.20 perks
- Read Four Simple Strategies for Retaining Your Best Employees for more information on keeping your employees.