Innovative perks can pay dividends but don’t have to cost much.
Albert Enstein observed that “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” So, many businesses would be advised to ensure that it gets passed on all the way to those responsible for dreaming up employee perks.
Showing a little imagination in this area can make all the difference when it comes to attracting and retaining employees and boosting morale. It can also make employees care more about their company, meaning that they become more loyal and harder working.
A recent report by Gumtree Jobs in fact found that perks were considered just as important as pay for those earning under £30,000.
Yes, there will be costs involved, but these are likely to be outweighed by the longer-term advantages that are realised by having a more stable and productive workforce. Furthermore, some of the most imaginative perks I’ve come across involve some of the smallest outlays.
One Chase de Vere consultant, for example, recalls how a previous tech company client had an office dog called Elvis which employees could book to take for a walk. This was very popular with those wishing to have a break from their desks and escape their computer screens.
As well as providing a valuable stress-buster option and source of exercise, it also instigated a considerable amount of humour. The online system used by employees to book a slot to walk the dog often showed that “Elvis has left the building”!
We are coming across clients offering employees free haircuts, massages at work, lunches and dinners.
The key message is that there is no such thing as a good or bad employee perk per se, so don’t start off by ruling anything out. What really matters is what could work for your company, and Chase de Vere is well placed to discuss this with you.
Indeed, we can advise on what tends to work best in your sector and can even take into account issues like what could prove problematical in the event of a merger or acquisition – if the practice has to be dispelled because benefits must be aligned.
If anyone is currently drawing a blank conjuring up ideas for perks beyond the stereotypical coffee machines or ‘relax rooms’ containing ping-pong tables and bean bags then they might be interested in some of the practices highlighted in recent research results released by Glassdoor on the 10 most extreme work perks.
Tech company Improbable offers employees a life concierge to plan and assist with the small social life admin tasks – which can include anything from organising an outing with friends or ordering food to helping employees move house.
Travelzoo gives employees £1,000 travel perks each, which can be used to travel the world and spend on Travelzoo deals, whilst online health technology company Babylon Health offers employees and their loved ones free private GP consultations through its app.
First Direct bank provides an onsite crèche service for its working parents, allowing them to get on with work without the stress of having to arrange costly last-minute babysitting, and software design company Arm gives employees a generous annual allowance that they can spend on personal development and pursuing their passions – which can range from flying lessons to puppy training classes.
Telecommunications services provider O2 is giving new fathers up to 14 weeks paid paternity leave, Sky offers paid leave when employees move house, and tech firm Skyscanner grants employees 15 days per year to work from their home country if they are based elsewhere in the world.
Some of these more unusual perks clearly have a close affinity with the underlying business area of the company providing them, so a good place to start for any firm is to ask whether its line of business is conducive to any particular offering. If not, there are plenty of more general ideas to be considered.