Wondering what perks at work are? In this article, we will cover everything like perks at work vs benefits, reasons to offer them and case studies.
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Gone are the days when productivity and hard work was considered synonymous to a militarian style of remaining unmoved from in front of a screen. Today, as we transgress to a society that aims to preserve mental and physical energy even while at work, we have moved way past depressive office spaces.
We live in a day where a cumulative realization and agreement exists to establish a workspace that is conducive to work yet still encourages movement, joy and chatter.
This is where the concept of Perks at Work comes to play. We are looking at offices with foosball tables, sofas and resting stations, booths meant for chatter and break rooms, and just a lot more!
In this article, we will cover the A to Z’s of Perks at Work, giving you an opportunity to realize that the incorporation of these perks in your office space will not only enhance the employee experience but also protect your manpower from leaving. A need of the time, without providing perks at work to their employee pool, your organization might get left behind in the race of acquiring and gatekeeping the best talent.
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To put it straight, ‘perks at work’ are any add-on arrangements made by the company to enhance the comfort and satisfaction of their employees at work and otherwise.
Considering how candidate-centric the recruitment market has become, a suitable perks and benefits package in addition to base salary can be the best retention strategy.
This is especially applicable for organizations struggling to keep their top talents from walking out the door and to their competitors’ buildings.
Perks at work can include a spectrum of different things, from those that may be visible on a day-to-day basis within the office space to those efforts that may make the employees’ personal life easier.
As conversations around mental health concerns come to the forefront, people become inclined to quit a job that becomes an impediment to their work-life integration and makes it difficult to manage personal obligations. In such a situation, perks like coffee vouchers, break sofas, gaming stations, grocery store discounts, paid parental lives and flexible work arrangements can make a world of difference in keeping employees happy and turnover rates low.
For more on how to keep your staff happy, Read: 20 Ideas for Office Gifts that your Staff will Love
Employee benefits refer to all the non-monetary compensations that enhance the fulfillment of basic needs of the employees. They supplement the salary and are considered pertinent add-ons to remuneration packages offered in the corporate world.
Generally speaking, employees enjoy benefits like Health insurance, PTO, Retirement savings plans, Dental insurance and the like. Out of these, Health insurance and Retirement savings plans are indispensable benefits that most job candidates expect to be offered during the time of hiring.
PTO or Paid time off is another staple in today’s corporate world - whether it may be for vacation, emergencies or bereavement, employees expect an average of two weeks of PTO annually when they first join.
Another benefit worth discussing here is paternity or maternity leaves. While most women are provided maternity leaves during their pregnancy and in the postnatal period for recuperation, it has been seen in recent years that many companies have incorporated the concept of paid leaves for new fathers as well. This development comes from the disruption of traditional ideas of gender roles and is a new norm that is not only beneficial for the personal well-being of employees but also necessary moving forward.
Some may argue that employee benefits are more significant at keeping turnover rates at the minimum as they cannot be compromised upon.
Read more: What is Employee Attrition? Types, Strategies & Case Studies
While on one hand, employee benefits aim to cover all the expenses an employee would have to cover with their salary; on the other, perks are simply additional incentives that add to the value and comfort of their experience at the organization.
As we know, benefits have more weight in a candidate’s decision on joining an organization. However, recent trends have implied that almost all companies across the board offer established benefit packages making add-on perks the only distinguishing elements based on which employees might choose one company over the other.
A prominent difference between the two lies in the fact that organizations tend to lay down loose definitions of perks while benefits are a clearly obligated compensation that employees are entitled to when they join a company. Perks could range from anything between a company car or housing to free food. It could even be something like a company-sponsored skill-enhancement course that would ultimately broaden horizons for the employee.
To put into perspective, benefits can be viewed as frosting on a salary-flavoured cake while perks are the cherry on top - an extra something that is not needed for the cake to be scrumptious but gives a nice after-taste in the mouth.
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Hiring top talent in your company and retaining their faculties can be two separate problems. No organization today is free of the plague of post-pandemic resignations from employees expecting flexible work hours or a comfortable office environment. This is where we bring in the concept of perks at work.
Imagine an office which translates the picture of ‘glued-to-their-screens’ into real life — a gloomy and depressing atmosphere with every individual aching for the clock to strike five. Who would want to be a part of such a picture? Philosophically, nobody and Statistically also, nobody.
Offering simple comforts in the office space like a room that is meant for chit-chat breaks in between monotonous work hours or a nap area or an even more radical gaming station for the employees, can make everything seem a lot more vibrant and lively.
What is even better is that these small incentives relays to the employees a positive message about the company’s concern and care towards them. It paints a progressive picture of the organization’s inclusive attitude towards their employee pool, and not only helps keep the top talent content but also encourages others to join the company.
A common misconception in the corporate world is that a strict and restrictive environment where everyone is engaged only in their work is a productive workspace. This notion is changing eventually as organizations are struggling to realize that they cannot keep their employees happy only with a hefty paycheck, especially as the demand for a comfortable lifestyle becomes visible.
Letting people be themselves at work, have fun discussions, engage in games or offer a free gym membership can allow employees to come closer and work better together. Moreover, having a healthy and happy mindset at work can promote activity and productivity.
A successful example of this being the work culture in Europe where people are encouraged to go out of their offices to have lunch - a practice that can allow movement and rejuvenation for the mind. So, perks at work are a great way to increase the productivity of employees and keep them loyal to the company in the long run!
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There is no better learning than learning from example. So, this section is going to detail upon the existing variety of perks at work that are being offered by a successfully established lot of companies.
What one needs to remember while skimming through this compilation is that innovation is your best friend while incorporating perks into your office blueprint as what might be good for one organization might become another’s doom.
Let us start with the one company on this list that nobody is surprised to see - Microsoft, having made it to the top of Comparably’s list of large companies with the best perks and benefits in the year 2022.
The company leads the way when it comes to creating a productivity-inducive workspace for its employees with various perks like daycare services, participation in an exclusive network or social clubs. Several on-site entertainment options including retail shops and restaurants. However, arguably, the best of them all is the freedom to have a flexible work schedule that makes employees comfortable and happy.
Known for its innovation, Google stands out with its efforts to play around with out-of-the-box incentives and perks to offer its employees. It seems as if Google as a company has knacked the formula to keep employees happy and content, with their aim to create a college environment in the office.
They are known to arrange free workshops and courses in a range of fields from cooking to dancing, free food and gym memberships for their employees. While you would expect a huge tech giant like Google to provide paid paternity and maternity leaves, what you wouldn’t expect to be offered are oil changes, car maintenance services, childcare facilities, massage therapists and on-site shuttle services.
Most surprising and interesting perk you are likely to witness on an odd day at the Google office is an interactive session with a famous celebrity. Who wouldn’t love to work at Google if they get to interact with their pop icons!
Indeed, Google knows what it is doing to keep its work family elated.
Starbucks is no doubt another company that has made its mark with the extraordinary treatment it bestows on its employees - from free dry cleaning to programs like ‘Starbucks College Achievement Plan’ that allows eligible employees to take up education free of cost at the Arizona State University.
It really does the most, even offering free spotify subscriptions, in-store discounts and off days. All these small things make a huge difference, and the most apt of all - a pound of free coffee or tea every single week - who’s going to pass on that one!
What perk would anyone expect from the top music-dissemination company in the world? We bet you wouldn’t think of absolute ‘free-of-cost concerts’! Isn’t that crazy? Well, that’s just the beginning.
Apart from this mind-blowing perk that all of us are envious of, Spotify is also a leader in providing fertility assistance to its employees including paying for freezing eggs. They also provide six months of fully-paid parental leave in addition to a month of flexible work arrangements for returning parents.
Time and again, Airbnb has proved to be the best place to work with their rankings in the corporate world. This company is no short of a pioneer in establishing innovative perks at work, one that stands out is a pet-friendly workspace.
They are also known to be extra generous with free week-long gourmet lunches and dinners, and even snacks and drinks for employees at all odd times! Apart from its amazing office space, Airbnb also offers plenty of paid time off to employees, whether it be 20 days of paid vacation or additional bereavement leaves.
They truly care for their workforce and show it. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that they make a special effort for training and empowering their employees with fantastic learning opportunities. A great place to spend one’s energy, indeed!
Above any other perk is respect and inclusivity irrespective of what you look like or where you come from, AT & T has finessed just that it their approach to retain the best tech talent around the world.
They have strived to make their organization a promotive place for diversity where everyone feels welcome. Their women’s support group is a commendable step in the right direction, and they ensure consistent wage increments as a reward system for hard work and offer other perks like employee discounts.
One of the best things that AT & T does is have developmental programs for new talented minority hires to welcome them into the company.
A well-known company with a strong belief in ethical commitments and contributions is the Body Shop. This applaudable ethos of the company is visible in their provision to offer five paid days for voluntary work at different organizations or VTO (Voluntary Time Off).
In addition to this, The Body Shop also extends generous perks to its employees like hefty discounts on their products and programs like “Learn it to Earn it” wherein they can receive lovely products by simply gaining knowledge about them.
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Amazon values its employees personal well-being and the perks at work it offers echo the same. All of its employees who are parents have access to over 2 million caregivers fully paid, unlimited parental leave, babysitters and special needs caretakers. This ensures that they never have to worry about the needs of their children while at work which can be a major stress and financial burden.
They even help employees become parents by providing assistance in adoption costs and opportunities to earn extra time off. Moreover, their ‘Career Choice’ program is an effort to support hourly paid employees in developing their future career with fully sponsored educational opportunities.
Netflix is no amateur when it comes to offering the most amazing perks to their employees and what less would we expect from a company that endorses comfort and relaxation to the world.
Their employees are truly spoiled with an on-site movie theatre which they use to stream all the company-made movies and TV shows (so much envy!) But what really is commendable is their support for new parents - they provide for as long as the employee needs and the leave duration is agreed upon as it progresses.
They are also extremely generous with their time off to relax, and in fact, encourage their employees to take sufficient time off for themselves and their family.
We have all been reading and hearing about the importance of nap time in the middle of the day to optimize work potential and productivity. Nobody is free of afternoon grogginess and a need to clock out, but most companies frown upon the practice.
But not Hootsuite, their philosophy on mental and physical well-being is centred around a short and crisp rest time that will re-energize their employees. And so, their office comes with a rejuvenating nap room for all the mid-day drowsiness. (what a boon after those late movie nights!)
But if you’re the type to combat grogginess with activity, Hootsuite has even got your back with their amazing yoga studio.
Google is not the only company with celebrities making the rounds. Apple gives good competition in this field by hosting social events and musical sessions which usually feature the likes of Demi Lovato and Carrie Underwood. Amazing events also imply free food and drinks!
But it’s not only fun and games here, Apple also offers paternity and maternity leaves as well as egg preservation aid to its employees.
Which company would understand perks at work better than the one offering a ‘Perk up’ bonus of $2000? Thoughtful and considerate in its approach, Linkedin knows that a hefty salary demands management and most people are unaware of such practices. So, the company organizes financial classes to educate their employees on salary management, budgeting and other necessary practices.
More so, Linkedin employees enjoy time off on 17 national holidays. As if we weren’t swearing in jealousy already!
Nvidia is another organization doing really well for their employees with their thoughtful perks at work. The perks are usually meant to provide comfort and are simple, small things like on-site health care, car maintenance and free laundry services.
They also pay attention to the bigger needs of their employees and provide parental leaves, fertilization plans and aids, and a considerable amount of paid leaves; all for the health and well-being of their workforce.
When it comes to perks in office, any food company including the Campbell soup company knows well to subsidise its cafeteria meals. But taking it even further, this organization provides cooking lessons to their employees.
The company’s attention to their employees’ health is even seen in its efforts in providing free flu-shots and fitness centre memberships. Campbell is considerate to parents working in their company by including lactation rooms in their office space, daycare centre facilities and after-school programs for the kids.
Salesforce is another company offering some really cool and fun perks to their employees like out-of-the-box massage therapies and yoga classes, and some mainstream incentives like free tickets to music events and cleaning services.
But the most appreciable effort that they make for employees is in advancing their careers by helping out with tuition fees.
When it comes to offered perks, companies like Home Depot, TCS and State Farm are nowhere behind. Talking of the Home Depot perks at work, employees enjoy a pet-friendly workspace; free gym memberships and lunches; and are provided with legal assistance in matters as well. Additionally, they even have an Employee Assistance Plan for help in any work, home or lifestyle related challenges.
TCS perks at work include amazing employee discounts on commodities like coffee to even air tickets. TCS also provides its employees with an extraordinary number of leaves with 3 months of maternity leave twice, among other perks. Considering State Farm perks at work, what really stands out among other ordinary perks is the company car and travel concierge facilities that are provided to employees.
Chalking out the introduction of perks at your organization is subjective to the work environment that you aim to create. However, we hope that this blog has made you realize how important it is to extend small incentives like perks to your employees in keeping them satisfied with your company.
We also hope to have inspired some ideas of perks that you can incorporate in your office to increase productivity and happiness among your staff (who doesn’t like the idea of a pool table in the midst of glass offices!).
Perks will let your employees and competitors know that your company strives to give the best to its people, and paint the most generous picture of your organization in the public eye.
Read more: What is Kanban? Why use it? And Implementing Agile Kanban.
Perks at work refer to all the non-essential incentives provided to employees in addition to the salary and benefits package that they are entitled to. Perks are usually intended to enhance the employee’s overall experience at the company, making them feel safe, content and in true millennial sense ‘truly themselves’ at their place of work.
Usually, perks at work are used by employees of organizations freely and of their own will. For example: If an organization offers its employee some shopping vouchers as a perk, then the employee can freely and comfortably enjoy the voucher as they please to do. Perks are usually complimentary add-ons, so employees can use them as they wish.
While most people use the two terms synonymously, they do refer to two separate kinds of incentives offered in the corporate world. Benefits are usually non-monetary compensations that help employees utilize things that they might otherwise need to pay for from their salary (so, essentially benefits supplement the salary). Perks, on the other hand, are just additional incentives that organizations provide to make employees feel comfortable and make their experience in the company more enjoyable. So, perks would include nap rooms or free food while benefits would include health insurance, dental insurance etc.
Some good examples of perks at work include free housing, complimentary food arrangements, concert and movie tickets, car maintenance services, educational aid, adoption assistance and egg fertilization facilities. More of these can be read about in the section of our blog that deals with ‘Companies that offer perks at work’.
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