More Than Perks, Giving Employees What They Truly Need

Do trivial and unusual perks truly benefit employees? Or do they just ensure they never leave the office?

We’ve all heard that it’s an employee’s market. With unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, it’s harder than ever to attract and retain talent. As a result, companies often tout their perks as a way to keep employees happy. But is that enough?

Once-revered staples, such as ping pong tables, fair-trade coffee and free-flowing kegerators now seem like quaint relics of a bygone era. Today’s workforce is being wooed by increasingly elaborate perks like indoor climbing walls, on-site massages, as well as catered lunches (and dinners!) However, according to a Qualtrics study, 80 percent of millennials regard in-office perks the least important benefit when considering a new job.

Most employees value a workplace that promotes a positive culture, a sense of pride, opportunities to advance, flexible hours, an emphasis on PTO and last but not least, offers competitive compensation. Expanding upon competitive compensation, this can be in the form of regular pay increases, transparent salary ranges by profession, and performance bonuses.

There are a number of companies that excel at creating a good work-life balance and satisfied employees. The job site Indeed recently compiled a list of the highest rated workplaces (with at least 100 reviews) that have the best levels of work-life balance. Surprisingly, the majority of the top 20 are in fields other than tech.

In-N-Out Burger, the famous California-based fast food chain, offers paid vacation for both part- and full-time employees. It also offers high-performing managers perks like all-expense paid (first-class) vacations to Europe. Thus, they have one of the lowest management turnover rates in the industry.

H & R Block provides flexible schedules for both full-time and seasonal staff. Part of the reason they’re able to attract 70,000 seasonal employees each year is the appeal of flexibility in the workplace.

Among the few financial service companies that made the list, Capital One, Network Capital Funding and American Express offer flex time, remote work and compressed schedule options, according to a spokeswoman.

What are the consequences for not allowing flexibility? As you may have guessed, employees will simply quit in order to find companies that offer more flexibility. As millennials transition from young adulthood to parenthood, this becomes even more relevant to their lifestyles.

In fact, there are apps that “allow companies to diagnose the risk that they may lose talent or may already be suffering from reduced productivity due to a lack flexible work policies.

But really the most important thing employers can do is have a fair and transparent compensation structure. Not only that, it’s important that managers develop the confidence to have these conversations. Companies must also make this part of their pay brand.

To see how to promote a culture of transparency and fair compensation in your organization, check out the 2018 Compensation Best Practices Report.

Tell Us What You Think

What are some of the most outlandish perks you’ve heard of? Which perks would you consider most valuable? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments.

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