In this new, technology-driven market, companies have to be competitive in what they offer new hires and existing staff. The formula is simple: if you want that top tier talent, you need to make your business a place folks want to work.
While swag and the ultra-premium perks are cool, sometimes companies go overboard and offer perks that don’t really make an impact for employees. A “Welcome to the Team” spa day does sound fantastic, but it’s a tad excessive.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH PERKS? THE REAL POST-MILLENNIAL BUDGET
What companies ought to be doing is focusing on perks employees want. If there was one universal truth amongst all people, it’s that we all wish we had more money. Despite what our paychecks say, many times that amount is a fraction of that final number after the bills get paid. Employers assume the check covers everything, but it doesn’t. At this point, the average Millennial has three tiers of monthly expenses going out:
- Keeping the lights on: House note, car bill, credit cards, electric, water
- Life bills: student loans, medical bills, taxes
- Exterior bills: Netflix, Hulu, Spotify
That Spotify, Netflix and Sirius XM combo adds up. Call it a lifestyle problem, or a first world problem, but I think most folks would agree, that getting those small, but incremental bills taken care of would be way more useful than a day at the spa.
WHAT’S THE ANSWER FOR COMPANIES?
Benefits need to be turned on their heads. What many companies are offering isn’t exactly what people want. 401(k) matching is a cornerstone, but a free massage allowance is not. Google offers free haircuts, and you can take an improv class at Twitter. While nice, there are plenty of folks who’d rather get cash toward transportation costs.
REAL HEALTH INSURANCE
We’ll take better health insurance options, cheaper eyeglasses, and more affordable medical needs. Health insurance is the most costly piece of the “money out of the check” pie. Companies like Slack and Atlassian offer 100% free healthcare for workers and their families.
REAL KID HELP
One of the better perks is in-house or compensated childcare. If there is one major money issue in a parent’s life, it’s paying for someone to watch your kids. When companies pay a portion or let you drop them off in a nice room with bright colors and games, it’s a major relief on the pocketbook.
VACATION THAT MATCHES THE WORK CULTURE
Another evolution of the workplace benefit is the notion of personal space and personal time being respected. More and more employers are adopting an open vacation time policy, and that’s a perk a lot of employees would consider a deal breaker. The notion of an allotted number of “sick” and “vacation” days seems ridiculous given that we’re hyper-connected. We know if there’s work to be done and thanks to constant contact via our phones, if some work needs to happen during an off hour instead of not coming in for a few days, the work will get done. If your work is consistent and your team communicates well, there is no reason why you should have to overly plan when you need to get out of Dodge a few times a year.
A DESK WITHOUT CHAINS
Another grand slam in the world of benefits is working from home. Life happens, and it most definitely does not adhere to the 9-10 routine. Appliances break, there’s doctor visits and car repairs, and a whole bunch of other reasons people need to work from home. When your primary work is done via a computer, many times, being in the building isn’t a necessity. By giving folks the freedom to be a text or a Slack message away, it lets them know they’re valued and trusted, but also that they can live their lives free from enduring lunch small talk.
OF COURSE, THERE’S STUDENT LOAN BENEFITS
Finding the right kind of balance with benefits is important. There needs to be cohesion amongst the layers of what a company offers, but also what the employees want and desire. Offering a student loan benefit makes a huge impact for employees, and can often be the missing piece in your benefits package.