Want top of the line extravagances like pork belly burgers from Big Chef Tom of Food Network Star? It’s no big deal - your company will pay for you! Want to take two weeks off and head to India to discover spirituality in you? No problem, your company will pay for you. We’re totally serious; employee perks like this may appear as a joke, however, today’s workplace managers have realized a better way to take advantage of it. Companies nowadays are the embodiment of easy, adaptable and fun to work at. Why is that so? You would ask the same question if you want to hire top talent from the industry, break down barriers between yourself and your employees, and make the most out of innovation and creativity that your talent pool offers.
Gone are the days when employees would drool on the web over Googleplex’s gourmet food, concierge services and Razr scooters available for Googlers. Nowadays, you don’t need to look for an employer that goes an extra mile to keep his employees happy. That dream workplace could right next to your favorite coffee shop. While we’re not naming large corporations with praiseworthy perks that will leave a hole in your pocket, we’re simply covering tidbits that you could learn from these startups about keeping your employees efficient and happy.
Here’s an interesting twist to a game room decked with pool, darts and foosball – add some Minecraft and Halo to the list and take it to the next level. We dare you. To work at an organization with a game room is every nerd’s dream come true.
Go ahead, crack that hard candy shell and let your employee’s ooze creativity and commitment from all the fun that they had playing Mass Effect. Jay Graves, CTO of Double Encore, a mobile design and development company explains, such perks, bring people together who might normally shy away from interacting with each other. Video games as well as foosball, darts can be played by people in pairs or groups. This enables spending quality time together and getting to know each other betters. Such perks help a lot during collaborative projects. Last time we heard, Double Encore added Marvel v. Capcom to their game room!
Admit it, we’ve all wanted to spend some time off the work, while being at work from all the stress that takes a toll on our mental, physical and emotional health. Then there’s the emotional roller coaster that leaves you feeling feeble, making you want to bawl your eyes out.
How about a little Zen Room with a soothing ambience graced with interesting titles from Deepak Chopra and a little hot chocolate bar in the corner. Why not let your employees move out of their desk for an hour for some yoga therapy, on-site massage sessions for some deep relaxation that gives the perfect mini-getaway from work?
Ryan Holmes, CEO of popular Canadian social media management company HootSuite recently gave a facelift to its premises by including a private yoga studio and a gym and of course the obligatory startup office nap room.
"For everybody in their busy lives, you need to invest in sharpening your tools and you need to invest in longevity," he says. "If I'm building a legacy company here, I need to help people be healthy throughout their lives." Creating an ecosystem that welcomes wellness and balance creates happy, healthy and productive employees. After all, a work culture that recognizes health and wellness of the body and mind as a top priority stays healthy.
The one perk at rises above all is indulgent food. With perks like free food and drinks, receiving a thousand resumes a week would surely sound like a normal thing. We’ve all heard about StumbleUpon and its 5 days of breakfast and lunch perk. Did you know that Stumblers gorge on a kitchen loaded with organic fruit, snacks and beverages? Say bye-bye to PB&J sandwich. Stumblers don’t need to stress over putting on a couple of pounds, for StumbleUpon offers a gym/wellness reimbursement.
Let’s talk real now. While you may not offer an extensible range of food items to offer on a daily basis, there’s always an option. Asana, a software startup founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, explains one of its perks – organic home-cooked meals prepared twice a day. The project management software maker has a full-time chef on staffs, who prepares delicious organic lunch and dinner every single day, which is customized to meet every employee’s dietary preference.
At Overit, on Friday employees gorge on various kinds of pizza. Although a very simple idea compared to heavy sounding perks and retreats of other startup, this one is quite effective. Good food cab brings us all together. People can socialize, celebrate the week’s end and go back home, emptying the stress tank.
Want a paid vacation day on your birthday? Thrillist does it for its employees!
Time off has become something of a legend. A growing number of companies are offering unlimited vacation days (Netflix, Burton, Hubspot and many more!), while some choose to offer additional incentives to the days when they are qualified for unlimited vacation days. Seattle-based Moz, for example, has a paid vacation policy. To motivate its staff, the company offers a standard 21 days vacation time, along with a $3000 bonus in vacation reimbursements for transportation, lodging, food and beverage, entertainment, and gifts. The team has been to places, from Santorini to Toulouse!
Another gimmick that employers are finding appealing these days is paid sabbaticals. Capterra, a company, offers a five-week, fully-paid sabbatical every five years for each of its employees. According to its CEO, it costs the company five weeks of productivity “10% of their work in the year that they take their sabbatical, but only 2% over the course of their five-year employment.” He strongly believes that the policy benefits largely to the company and its employee’s health and personal growth, which is well worth the cost.
A huge number of companies today offer their employees free or at-expense versions of whatever is a part of their product portfolio (e.g., memberships, furniture, courses, cars, etc.). Such companies offer other one off perks or freebies as well, including:
Tickets to games and movies,
Customized Nikes or Converse,
Free Spa, and
Technology (who doesn’t love Free Macs or iPhones!).
Why Perks Matter?
To foster a compassionate and cheerful company culture, you can apply similar loaded benefits such as,
a dog-friendly place,
Employee stock ownership plan,
Life coaching & leadership initiative, and
Awards aka desktop bragging rights.
Small perks and measures are the pillars for having a team that really works. You cannot provide any meaningful recognition without gift certificates, cash or similar items. The passionate association for your company simply won’t exist. You need to fabricate emotional connections with such little measures in everyday life.
Perks work as valuable retention tools and can help bosses maintain a positive working environment, which is much vital for any organization to thrive.
A growing number of employees esteem intangible benefits that dovetail an organization's culture. Perks offer both expediency and esprit de corps (team spirit) at a moderate cost includes online orders set at nearby restaurants for group lunched. The social segment unites employees and helps build morale.