Think tech employees want fancy coffee machines, nap pods, ping pong tables and beer on tap? Your employees are smart enough to see through the charade – perks like these are designed to keep employees at work. Even though these perks cost a lot of money, they do nothing to keep your best employees engaged. If anything, the money spent on these perks creates resentment on your tech teams. It’s like getting a really expensive gift you can’t return or exchange – you feel pressured to take advantage of the perk even if you really don’t want to. And, for those tech employees that don’t want a fancy espresso or a local craft brew, they’d much rather see that money in their pockets. Instead of shoveling funds into perks that don’t retain employees, here’s a few perks that your employees actually want.
Sign-On and Regular Bonuses
With the tech market more competitive than ever, and some tech career disciplines having virtually a 0% unemployment rate, your most in demand and talented tech employees are being recruited and many times will have multiple employment offers. When you’re competing for a new hire, a sign-on bonus can be a way to set your company apart from the rest – especially if your online reputation isn’t the best. Don’t try to tie your sign-on bonus to anything extravagant (i.e. yearlong commitment) or it will have the opposite effect of detracting interested candidates.
On that same note, keep your current employees engaged with regular bonuses. Although some companies give yearly bonuses, you might want to consider semi-annual or quarterly bonuses instead. The benefit of this is preventing massive turnover at the beginning of the year after your team has collected their bonuses.
Student Loan Repayment
YES. Student loan debt is an enormous burden on our current workforce. In the tech space, a degree is extremely important and although there are famous tech leaders without an education, it’s very challenging to get a good tech position without a degree. Offering a stipend for student loan repayment is a huge bonus to candidates with large amounts of debt. This is one of the most desired tech perks this year and no doubt will only get more popular.
Domestic Services Reimbursement
Coming home after a long day of work to a clean house and laundry is a huge relief. Some companies have found that even a small allowance toward domestic services, ie home cleaning, yard service, laundry service, or child-care, can make employees more relaxed and engaged at work.
This benefit is extremely popular in high cost of living tech hubs. With rent sky-rocketing, some tech employees have found interesting ways to live without having to rent an apartment – like converting a box truck to a make-shift apartment. The reasons for this is it’s often hard to afford to rent an apartment close to work and between long work hours and commuting, an apartment ends up being just a place to sleep. By giving your employees a housing allowance or housing reimbursements, it ensures your employees aren’t struggling with excessive rent or housing costs.
Training and Further Education
Our yearly surveys show additional training and furthering education is a tested and true desired perk. Your most talented employees are always looking for ways to improve, and if you aren’t willing to help them pursue industry related certifications or educational advancements that will help them better in their role, likely they’ll leave to an employer that will. Remember, an employee with the latest and best certifications and education makes your organization look better and allows your employee to do their best work – which benefits both your company and employees. Allowing your employees to stagnate in hopes they won’t be able to leave is short-sighted – and hurts your environment in the long-run. Good employees are extremely loyal – giving them benefits without demands will foster retention and loyalty.
(Actually) Generous Vacation Policies
Unlimited vacation policies may seem generous, but in reality, these types of policies actually discourage employees from taking time off. Studies show that unlimited policies result in employees taking less time off, and no doubt are more stressed when they are out. The reason? Unlimited vacation policies put the responsibility on the employee to ensure their work is covered when they are out. Having the employee take direct responsibility for their work being covered puts unneeded pressure on your staff, and builds resentment among the team if one person is out too much. Some companies, wanting to seem like a great work environment, offer “unlimited vacation policies” paired with guidelines on what they consider an appropriate amount out based on tenure and the written expectation that your work can’t suffer when you are out. Nothing shows you trust your employees less tracking their days out when you supposedly have an unlimited vacation policy. If you really want your employees to refresh and recharge, consider instead a minimum time out policy, paid/paid time off policy or a paid-commission policy. A minimum time out requires all employees to take a minimum amount of time away from work – it forces your employees to use up that vacation time, making them much less stressed to take time off. A paid/paid time off policy actually pays employees a stipend to take time off – allowing your team to actually afford a nice trip or vacation that they might not otherwise have been able to afford (bye, bye staycation). A paid-commission policy is for sales types or anyone whose salary is made up of a large percentage of commissions. It bases the PTO salary on the last few months of sales instead of just base pay. Many sales environments that have implemented a policy like this say it actually pushes their sales teams to be even more productive leading up to their vacation, when previously this was a more stagnant time, which not only offsets the cost but benefits both employer and employee.
Although this should be an obvious one, most companies don’t give yearly raises that keep up with the rising market. If you don’t want to lose your most talented employees, make sure your yearly raises allow your employees to keep their salary in line with inflation. Considering it can cost 1.5-2x their annual salary to replace an employee, being generous with your yearly raises will actually cost you less in the long-run.
Employers – what has been your most successful work-place perk? Employees – what has been your favorite work-place perk?