With the demand for talent higher than ever, attracting – and retaining – tech talent is a concern for many. We asked tech companies with high retention to weigh in on workplace perks – what works and what doesn’t – and here’s some of their best advice.
Flex Spending Cash:
The Zebra, a startup in the car insurance space, is taking a new approach to benefits with its ‘treat yo’self’ allowance. It’s kind of like being a kid again and getting some fun money to play with each month.
“The Zebra employees get a monthly at-home maid service and a “Treat Yo’Self” allowance, which employees can use for a massage, an improv class, a Netflix subscription — anything. We also have an unlimited PTO policy, flexible work schedule, and plenty of other great perks all aimed at showing appreciation for our hardworking team,” says Carla Ramirez, Talent Acquisition Specialist for The Zebra. “As a tech startup, we’re constantly moving and growing, and our team is so dedicated and driven that they really earn these perks. Culture is incredibly important to The Zebra, and we have the high retention to prove that what we’re doing is keeping our team happy!”
Getting Paid to Vacation
ConsumerAffairs is setting a high bar in Tusla, OK (they’re the ones having all the fun in the main pic). Not only do they have a slew of amazing perks (many of which you typically won’t see outside of big players like Facebook or Google), one of the best ones is they actually pay you to take a vacation.
“Our concept of corporate culture works,” says Danica Jones, Marketing Manager for ConsumerAffairs. “Our 2015 retention rate was 92%, which is unheard of in the corporate and sales sectors.”
Giving Employees What They Want
If you offer a ‘great perk’ that employees don’t use, is it really that great of a perk? Ryan Amaya, HR Manager of WebLinc, thinks that the best perks are the ones that employees actually want. “We also tend to react fairly quickly to suggestions of perks that come from our employees to show that their voices are being heard. We like to keep our employees involved as decision-makers in company-wide efforts,” he says. “We have all the usuals of a competitive benefits package including a 401k, Health/Vision/Dental, and multiple employer-sponsored benefits to offset things like deductibles. That aside, our more unique perks include regularly held yoga sessions (major hit), meditation training and sessions that center on alleviating stress, an extremely flexible “work from home” policy, multiple company-supplemented rec. league sports teams, 100% compensation for books/online courses/meetups/seminars, and last but not least, discounts and freebies to our 2 Philly restaurants owned separately by our co-founders.”
Robert Rodrigues, Founder of Power Digital Marketing, agrees that company culture and allowing employees to help decide their perks are some of their keys to retention, which is why their monthly events are run and organized by employees. Other perks like unlimited time off, catered lunches, and office dogs help account for their 90%+ retention rate.
Perks to attract, not to keep
Kathy Enros, vice president of talent for ACL, doesn’t believe having awesome perks helps keep talent around, instead, “in such a competitive talent field, these are pretty mandatory, and I don’t think any of these will really keep someone or attract someone just for these perks alone.”
Instead, she attributes their high retention to “Company culture, strong leadership and career growth are still the keys to maintaining awesome staff.”
Still, ACL enjoys having a long list of perks for their employees like use of their “company car”, free beer, nap chairs, patio with bbq, game room, and much more.
Meaningful Connections > Awesome Perks
At LivePerson, they offer fun perks like free snacks, massages, and hammocks, however, they have found that these perks like these aren’t as important as a company culture based on “creating meaningful connections.”
“What our tech employees value is a flat organization that allows everyone to have a voice and where anyone can present a new technology or learn about new technologies from their peers,” Kristy Sundjaja, Head of People Group at LivePerson, says. “Another huge perk for our tech teams is the availability for multiple career paths: our tech employees can advance to be technical team leads or can take a more management-based career path.”
kCura, a fast-growing software company from Chicago, agrees that meaningful connections are critical to high retention. With an 86.3% retention rate (and 42% of new hires coming as internal referrals), Matt Garvey, Manager of Talent Acquisition, attributes it to the fact that people love those they work with.
“As far as the perk that correlates best to retention, the reason we hear most often from kCurians about why they love their job, is the people. For that reason, we are committed to promoting unique experiences to share with coworkers, and the flexibility to find a good work/life balance,” he says. “kCurians are able to join or start their own employee groups, which typically include 10-15 members who share a common interest or passion. Besides annual intramural sports teams and weekly health and wellness classes such as yoga, there are more than 10 current employee groups including a board game and Magic the Gathering club (kNerds), a women in the workplace group (kWOW), rock-climbing group (Vertikal), and more.”
Matt Garvey also mentions that professional development is important for retention. “Our Training Investment Policy encourages personal and professional development through learning and educational opportunities. Each department receives a yearly budget for training that is well above the industry average for career development opportunities.”
What’s been the best perk you’ve had in a past job? Share with us in the comments.