The Company Perks that Work
Employee engagement – it’s the metric of the moment and is helping companies across the globe improve their staffs’ happiness and well-being at work.
The career dynamic has changed from what it once was – no longer do staff remain at the same job for the entirety of their working lives in exchange for security, benefits and a secure pension. Job-hopping has become the norm amongst many, and companies are finding that they have to work harder and go further to convince employees to stay. Massive companies have begun providing incredible employee perks and benefits in order to entice the very best talent to join their staff (and stay there!), and this has turned ‘perks’ into an expected part of the package, rather than an added bonus.
Of course, perks and benefits aren't just about getting people through the door - good employee perks can improve motivation, engagement and loyalty, in one fell swoop.
Here are some of the best perks and benefits we’ve found from companies both large and small…
Google are well known for a plethora of unique employee benefits and a funky office design. Their staff are provided with three free meals per day, as well as full grazing privileges in their numerous ‘snack rooms’.
They also offer on-site haircuts, for those with not a second to spare on travelling between the office and the salon; a fully equipped gym and swim-in-place pool; gamesrooms with video games and ping-pong, billiards and foosball tables; laundry and dry-cleaning facilities and on-site medical staff, according to HowStuffWorks.
|There’s also childcare assistance, up to $12,000 annually in tuition reimbursement, free massages and yoga classes, and car care, and BusinessInsider reports that Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters boast a bowling alley and basketball courts in addition to the gamesrooms found in several of their buildings.
Forbes reports that Google employees are entitled to maternity benefits of 18 weeks paid leave and paternity of six weeks paid leave. The spouses of Google employees, should the staff member suffer an untimely death, are entitled to a cheque for 50% of the deceased’s salary every year for a decade, and their children will receive $1000 per month until they turn 19.
Google's Amsterdam Office
||On top of all of this, Google also operates what's known as the '20% time program'. This scheme allows Google employees to use up to 20% of their working week at Google to pursue special projects: this means that for every workweek, staff can take up to a full day to work on projects which fall outside their normal workload. Google claims that many of their Google Labs products started out as pet projects in the 20% time program.
Oh - and, of course, one mustn't forget the Google slides...
Google say that working for them is about passion, not perks, but with benefits like the above, it’s not difficult to see why everyone wants to work at Google!
||Wisconsin-based healthcare tech company Epic Systems knows how to keep its staff incentivised to stay – once employees have given five years to the business, they get a month-long paid vacation. It gets better: if the employee chooses to spend their month off in a country they’ve never before visited, Epic will pay for most of the travel costs for the employee and a friend.
|The Epic offices are something of a perk in themselves. Based on a disused dairy farm outside of Madison, Wisconsin, the campus features an Indiana Jones-themed tunnel, a tree-house conference room, a moat and plenty of green space for activities outdoors.
“Do good. Have fun. Make money.”
Corporate employees also enjoy an on-site gym, job sharing program and on-site child care.
As well as four weeks of paid holiday allowance, employees get nine holidays a year. The Grasshopper Group know how to make the most of summer, too - every Friday between Memorial Day (US – last Monday in May) and Labor Day (US – first Monday in September) is a paid half day, and when employees are at work, flexible hours are the norm.
There are food benefits, too – a $5 daily lunch allowance and free snacks and coffee – and a Wii Nintendo room to help burn off the calories from all that food.
Chesapeake Energy, one of the US’s largest natural gas producers, are big on fitness. They provide their employees with a 72,000 sq.ft. fitness centre which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a sand volleyball court and an indoor rock-climbing wall.
Chesapeake also support self-improvement through continued education and offer employees a tuition reimbursement program.
Yahoo staff enjoy, as well as their stylish office spaces, on-site gyms equipped with basketball and sand volleyball courts, social events such as live concerts and barbeques, and their ‘Influential Speaker’ series, which has featured such heavy hitters as Tom Cruise and Deepak Chopra.
Yahoo! Offices, Barcelona: source
With headquarters based in Stratham, N.H., and office the world over, Timberland encourage a good work-life balance by giving their staff generous time-off benefits.
Employees can take service sabbaticals equalling up to 40 hours of paid volunteer work per year, and most are eligible for an annual bonus. On top of this, all Timberland staff enjoy a generous discount on all apparel, accessories and footwear from the brand.
Microsoft's Building 44, Washington: source
Microsoft offer a host of perks
for employees to benefit from, including, but not limited to:
- Industry-leading health and wellness benefits (including dental and vision and full coverage for preventative services, screenings etc) and even physician house calls (in the Seattle area)
- Microsoft product discounts
- Generous paid time off
- Tuition reimbursement
- Generous maternity and paternity leave and childcare subsidy
- Adoption, surrogacy, infertility and family planning support
- Free shuttle service and CalTrain Go Pass
- Discounted onsite café
- Well-designed and aesthetically pleasing work environments
- Asthma, Cardiac, Diabetes, Weight Management and Tobacco Cessation programs
- Dry cleaning services
- Volunteer and charitable gift matching
- Recreational league fee reimbursement
- Fitness subsidy
- Autism/ABA therapy benefit
- Same- and opposite-sex domestic partner benefits
Microsoft's Building 44, Washington: source
SC Johnson & Son
SC Johnson & Son offer their staff a concierge service: they’ll send flowers and packages for you, pick up groceries, shop around for the best car insurance deals, take your car for its service or oil change, and even stand in line for your concert tickets!
It’s common for a jobseeker to move location for a job, but it’s pretty much unheard of for a company to move for one of their employees! Scottrade, however, will consider opening a new branch in an area an employee is moving to – apparently they’ve opened no fewer than 20 offices for employees. In one instance, a single employee moved first to Georgia and then to Florida, and Scottrade opened new offices in both locations!
In addition, salary.com reports that Scottrade employees have never experienced a layoff – ever.
GoDaddy focus on health, fun, and building relationships outside of the office in a number of ways including the following:
- Healthy living coaching programs.
- Healthy lunch & vending machine options.
- A variety of services including flu shots, health fairs, and biometric screening.
- Tuition reimbursement.
- Adoption assistance.
- Godaddy cares community service.
- Holiday parties, picnics, and team building retreats.
World Wildlife Fund
WWF HQ, The Netherlands: source
The World Wildlife Fund Washington office offers its employees something it calls Panda Fridays, reports the Washington Post – staff work a few extra hours during the week and get every other Friday off.
This perk has multiple benefits: not only do employees get a day off per fortnight to recharge, but shutting down the non-profit’s Washington-based office for a whole day every two weeks saves energy and reduces their carbon footprint.
WWF's Living Planet Centre, Surrey, UK: source
WWF's Living Planet Centre, Surrey, UK: source
Oshkosh, the truck and military vehicle manufacturer based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, offers extensive training and advancement opportunities to their employees. Training includes instructor-led, web-based or video-based courses, and the company also offers tuition reimbursement for advanced degrees.
Zappos, a Las Vegas company which joined the Amazon.com family in 2009, offers its staff some incredible perks:
- Above-average medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage.
- On-site wellness service.
- Pet insurance.
- Pre-paid legal.
- 40% employee discount for those who love shoes and accessories.
- Free food for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and breaks.
- Monthly team outings.
- Nap rooms so you can rest and rejuvenate for the remainder of the workday.
Huge companies like Google, Apple, Zappos, and ETC are able to lavish their employees with expensive perks and benefits, but it’s not all about throwing money at it. There are lots of ways to improve employee engagement that won’t break the bank.
Improved office/work spaces are one easy way to improve employee engagement and happiness, and getting yours up to par doesn't have to cost the world - check out our tips to optimise your office space here
The perks that work - and those that don't!
produced a fantastic infographic
which examines which employee perks and benefits work, and which fall on skeptical ears. For example, 44% of staff in the UK would appreciate flexible working programs and the option to work from home, while only 2% are interested in money-off vouchers. 20% consider pension contributions to be a great work benefit, 19% would be incentivised by a salary increase, while only 5% care about options to buy and sell holiday.
Also listed are perks enjoyed in the EU from which UK staff would like to benefit. Luxembourg, for example, offers 'contributory pension pay out of up to 103%, making it possible to earn more in retirement than in work'. France offers 35 hour work-weeks and a minimum of 5-weeks annual paid leave, which 24% of UK workers say they would appreciate.
The infographic also delves into the perks that don't work - childcare services make those not using them feel that they are 'subsidising employees who have young children', only 28% of those with access to an on-site gym actually use it and apparently free snacks and foosball tables are all well and good, but they don't help people engage with the company mission.
Overall, 46% of workers surveyed stated that a visually pleasing environment was important at work, 42% cited the need for their organisation's purpose or mission to be aligned with their own values, 30% espoused the need for available food throughout the day and 29% claimed that lounges which allow them to get away and have a moment to themselves were also important.
Are you looking for a fantastic new company to join? Hoping for an excellent role into the package? Get in touch via email@example.com or +441737822000 for a confidential chat about your career's next step!