The Perks of Having Perks

Attraction and retention are two of the most key elements to the hiring process. You want candidates to want to work at your organization, and on top of that, to want to stay with your organization. With all of the fierce competition out there in the job market, it’s important to have something that sets your company aside from the rest—you need to stand out. The question is, how?

Sometimes employees (and potential new hires) need that extra push to get and keep them motivated because let’s face it—we all get tired and a little sluggish at some point during the workday. Perhaps a friendly game of ping pong with a coworker will energize employees and get those creative juices flowing! Or free catered breakfast or lunch will bring employees together and eliminate traveling outside the workplace to grab a bite to eat?

Let’s take a look at some of the top-rated office perks offered around the country:

• Unlimited PTO
• Gym membership/onsite gym
• Extra time off during the holidays
• Casual dress code
• Flex time/remote work
• Maternity/Paternity leave beyond that required by law
• Daily free catered meals
• Onsite childcare
• Recreational games (e.g. ping pong)
• Mentoring/development programs

There are a myriad of perks offered out there today, but the ones listed above seem to be the most common throughout my research.

I took a poll among my fellow colleagues to gain an understanding of what’s important to our specific group, and this is what I found:

• First place-Unlimited PTO
• Second place- Tie between gym membership/onsite gym and flex time/remote work
• Third Place-Tie between extra time off during the holidays and daily free catered meals

Forbes also found unlimited PTO as number one in their search, and the reason why is that when people are trusted with the decision of how much time to take off, they make sure their work gets done. When employees feel that you trust them, they are more likely to stick around.

During an 8 hour, oftentimes longer, workday, we all can agree that we’d enjoy just having a quick break, whether it’s alone or together joking around with their colleagues.

One statistic that I found quite interesting is that among the different generations, the want/need for perks differs significantly. 52.8% of employees ages 45-54 would prefer a salary increase over perks, 42.6% for those ages 35-44, and a much lower percentage for those 25-34 at 36.1%. As the generations change, so do the interests and motivators of each. Remote/offsite work, flextime, and more vacation are often used as perks that can sway a candidate towards a lower salary.

For employers, it’s important to keep your employees and your company culture in mind when deciding what perks could work for your organization. For example, if your workforce is mainly made up of Gen-Xers, chances are maternity/paternity leave is not too high on their agenda anymore. If your workforce is made up of energetic, creative-minded millennials, perhaps recreational games or a casual dress code would be much appreciated.

So what do you think? As an employee, what perk would you enjoy most? As an employer, what perk do you think your employees would use and value most?