March 25, 2016
Perks are the new norm for workplaces and are critical for building an attractive company culture. Some perks are great for attracting top talent. Some fancy perks benefit the employer more than employee. What perks are great for keeping talent happy and engaged?
Experts from high-retention companies weigh in on the best perks for retention.
Extra Time Off
Matt Paddock of Grow, a digital agency in Norfolk specializing in the creative tech space, is seeing a big connection between retention and work-life balance. Along with closing shop for the holidays (Christmas through New Years), they also have a 1 week summer break for their employees.
“We're definitely seeing a connection between [work-life balance] and lower turnover!,” he says. “Most of our early employees are still here (after 10 years in business), over 60% have been with the company more than 2 years, and 40 percent are at or above the 4-year mark.”
Getting Paid to Take a Vacation
Eden Elder, Chief People Officer at FullContact, also believes in perks that focus on work-life balance, which is why FullContact offers perks like unlimited flex-days, $7500 in cash to use on vacation each year (employees who check into work lose the stipend!) and days off to enjoy the nearby ski slopes.
FullContact isn’t the only company spearheading the paid, PAID vacation concept. ConsumerAffairs (whose employees are having all the fun in the main picture) boasts a 92 percent retention rate, which they attribute to perks like paying its employees to take a vacation.
Not long ago I was writing about the downsides of so called ‘unlimited vacation’ policies and how they actually save company thousands of dollars because employee take less time off. It’s nice to see companies actually trying to reward their employees with vacation policies that actually benefit the employee.
Rewarding Hard Work
Trish Turrin, Talent and Culture Specialist at Influenster, strong believes that recognizing hard work with perks helps with retention. “When the perks are given as a reward in recognition of outstanding work, employees will feel valued and their efforts recognized. We treat them to spa outings and even all-expenses-paid vacations. That's been proven to be an effective strategy to show our genuine appreciation to employees, and one of many factors that keep the retention rate high at Influenster.”
Michael Morell of Riviera Partners suggests offering unexpected, customized retention bonuses. He suggests that “for every milestone an employee reaches, reward them, whether with a financial sum, a generous period of time off or another reward that is appealing to that particular employee. You can even customize the bonus to be something that employee specifically wants. Not only will the employee feel valued that you want to give them something that really matters to them, if they help set the goal they may just work that much harder to get it.”
Rewarding employees with things they really want (instead of a bunch of fluffy perks they may not even use), shows that management is really paying attention to an employee’s individual contribution. Even simple recognition for a job well done, even if it doesn’t come paired with a costly perk, keeps employees happy and engaged for long term.
Strong Work Connections
Would you rather work all day with people you barely know, or around friends? For many employees, perks that encourage connections in the workplace can be critical to their retention. Brandon of Seattle Organic SEO, says, that beside the free food and drinks, “the network I built at Amazon.com, Expedia.com and DoubleClick.net (now Google) was possibly the best perk of them all.”
Trish Turrin couldn’t agree more, adding:
“One-off perks like having a ping-pong table and a fully-stocked bar are not going to work on their own. It's all about focusing on people and building real experiences and interactions amongst your employees. Have a ping-pong table? Host tournaments. Have free lunches? Create the space and opportunity for them to eat and mingle with other teams.”
Flex-Time has become a more and more desired perk according to the PROTECH annual tech surveys. FameBit’s GM, Adam Hendle shares that a key to retention is flex-time. “FameBit employees get to set their own hours at the office based on when they feel most productive. We give everyone an opportunity to establish a daily schedule that works with their productivity, family and personal life. Not everyone is a morning person so whereas some of our team members start their day super early others start at noon and work well into the evening.”
Perks for De-Stressing
Gene Caballero of GreenPal, the ‘Uber for Lawn Care’, says offering ways for employees to break routine has been critical for retention:
“What we offer is a music room that allows all of our employees the ability to take a break from their day-to-day habits,” he says, adding, “Learning to play an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices. The brain is a muscle and learning and playing music is like a full body workout strengthens those brain functions, allowing us to apply that strength to other activities and reducing stress levels.”
Trish Turrin also thinks that a healthy body and mind are key for happy employees, which is why Influencer offers in-house yoga classes and volleyball matches for employees.
Share your thoughts on your favorite workplace perks in the comments below.
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