“Workplace perks” have been a long-standing topic in the world of hiring. During the candidate-driven market of 2016-2020, they became a last-ditch effort for many companies to secure talent from a limited pool. However, when the Coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, and the world came to a halt, work perks were turned completely upside down. Suddenly, no one cared about free snacks or foosball tables. This rapid shift has left managers scratching their heads, wondering what they can offer employees to attract top talent and remain sustainable through economic and cultural changes. Here is a quick glimpse into the workplace perks that today’s candidates are looking for.
If the COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is king. As millions of workers worldwide were thrown into remote-working situations and difficult decisions, a company’s ability to be flexible became invaluable. Company leaders such as Simon Berg, CEO of software company Ceros, understands this new demand better than ever. “I was an everyday-in-office kind of guy, and it felt like that was how I’d build culture and connectivity between myself and the team.” However, now that he can spend more time with his family, his company’s values have shifted. He wants the company culture to hinge on allowing employees more “autonomy, mastery, and freedom in their life.”
To attract top talent moving forward, companies will need to examine the flexibility of their work environments. Can you offer remote working options, even just a couple of days a week? Do you allow your employees to make exceptions for extenuating circumstances (i.e., kids at home sick, doctor’s appointments, etc.)? Most importantly, do your employees feel trusted and empowered to make the right decisions for themselves and your team?
Some of the most popular workplace perks of yesteryear revolved around food and beverage options: in-house baristas, extensive cereal bars, unlimited snack options, and even catered lunches. However, with the shift to remote working, these perks were instantly irrelevant and foolishly surface-level. But, everyone loves free food, right?
Instead of focusing on providing an unlimited stream of snacks, consider offering your employees a cash stipend for lunch. It’s still a fun perk, but it gives your employees more freedom with how they use it. Or, seek out a local coffee shop to partner with and coordinate an employee discount. This is a great way to ensure you’re stimulating the local economy while keeping your team caffeinated.
The past year has left employees feeling anxious and depressed. Investment in your employee’s mental and physical health is a workplace perk that will pay dividends. Amidst the pandemic, companies are putting the focus on mental health to try and combat feelings of isolation and depression. For example, Starbucks is giving employees and their family members 20 free counseling sessions per year. And Target is offering free access to both mental and physical health-focused apps such as Daylight, Sleepio, and Wellbeats.
Offer your employees reimbursements for the health resources they need. From counseling to gym memberships, that may look different for everyone. Providing a wide array of options shows employees that you care not only about their work but also about them as a person. Can you partner with a local gym to provide discounted memberships for employees? Or offer a reimbursement for virtual memberships while we are all cooped up at home.
Still unsure of which workplace perks are the best fit for your company? Ask your employees. Conduct a company-wide survey asking people for feedback, or task a small focus group with coming up with innovative ideas. Your perks are only valuable if your employees deem them so!