April 21, 2015
A January survey conducted by TechnologyAdvice revealed the top employee perks that workers want:
- Flexible schedules or remote work (31.8%)
- Free gym membership (24.1%)
- Free food or catered lunches (19.4%)
- Casual dress code (11.8%)
- Mentoring or development programs (8.6%)
- Recreational games like ping-pong (4.4%)
(Startups, take note: perhaps ping-pong has become a cliche?)
And this isn’t just an idle desire for some cool benefits. Over 56% of the workers surveyed by TechnologyAdvice see employee perks as moderately or very important when choosing a job. And over 56% of workers would rather get employee perks than a raise! They were willing to forgo a salary increase in order to get:
- Flexible schedules or remote work (30.2%)
- Free food or catered lunches (20.4%)
- Free gym membership (16.8%)
The preference for employee perks over a raise was even stronger among young people, with 64% ages 25-34 choosing perks. The survey sampled almost 500 workers ages 25-54.
If we were all robots, it would be easy to make us more productive and engaged at work. Just insert some more money and watch the wheels start cranking. But managers have long known that we aren’t robots (much as they wish we were).
The go-to strategy to increase motivation – pay people more – doesn’t always have the desired effect. And startups in particular shouldn’t fall into this trap. After all, if startup employees were simply after money, surely they’d go work for a rich corporation?
Motivation is a delicate thing. We want to find happiness and meaning at work, not just the funds to pay our rent or get a new car. (Heck, 2/3 of people would prefer a better boss to a higher salary.) Most of all, the TechnologyAdvice study urges managers and CEOs not to make assumptions and to even take studies like this with a grain of salt. In the end, you have to find out what your employees really want and give it to them.
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