There a few super selfish reasons you’re going to want to offer some awesome perks. The first reason is for sheer bragging rights. The more you offer, the more desirable your company is to work for and the more press you can squeeze out if it. This leads us to our second reason, which is the more attractive your perks are, the more likely it is that you’re going to draw in (and retain) top talent.
Let’s quickly dig into why it’s so important to be labeled as “a great place to work for.” You can pin it down to a millennial mindset in which a robust workforce wants to do more than just clock in and clock out; they want to belong, they want to feel needed, and they want their job to matter.
So how does offering excellent perks do this? Simple. You offer perks that incorporate a lifestyle benefit, which is critical for another two reasons.
First, millennials aren’t ever really off the clock. With social and mobile technology, I don’t know of any hard working professional that doesn’t take the time to think about work after hours, whether to pursue a presented opportunity or to reply to urgent emails. They’re ever present, which is vastly different to a generation ago that “left work at work.”
Secondly, a work-life balance is something we’ve come to expect. We realize that our personal lives aren’t secondary to our professional lives. We realize that both are equally important and we’d like to not have to compete with two different lives or identities. So, a great talent pool (who by nature is already going to be dynamically hard-working), will be seeking an environment that allows some sort of balance.
While there are heaps of companies vying to offer the best perks, most companies aren’t that interested in this sort of innovation. The average manager at the average company still just wants workers to show up and get the job done. To them, their staff is “workers” and not “team members.” Despite this down-trodden attitude about work, it’s still their job to retain and attract talent – which means an inevitable step into the 21st century to half way meet the modern workforce’s expectations about workplace allowances.
The simplest, cost-effective perk you can offer your employees without losing any form of rigidity you might otherwise prefer, includes giving your employees free gourmet coffee and the autonomy to choose their own breaks. Free gourmet coffee is about more than a free hot drink; it’s about recognizing employee value. For many, it’s a way of saying “we appreciate you.” Dr. Bob Nelson, a leading authority on workforce motivation, best-selling author, and co-founder of Recognition Professionals International, encourages companies to offer a simple free coffee perk to employees that clearly has a high value.
Here’s another reason why coffee matters: coffee is a rite of passage. That daily cup of coffee means you know there’s a big day ahead – and that cup of coffee is the modern man’s war paint preparing him for that battle. And in the office, coffee becomes a warm ritual. Your mid day cup of coffee is your way getting through the hump. It could be that well earned cup you look forward too after lunch or just something you make to help break up the day, but it’s a ritual nonetheless. So when you give your employees coffee, know that you’re working to help exceed productivity levels; you’re showing them your appreciation; you’re offering them a very important part of their daily ritual.
The second dead-simple perk is about giving employees the autonomy to choose their own breaks, freeing them from chain-gang mentality where work is something to “escape” or get a “break” from. Hands down, the worst environments to work in are where you’re treated like a prisoner, sentenced to your desk with the occasional allowance of free time.
Companies that employ this practice have the highest turn over and are rarely spoken about favorably by former employees, which not only harms their talent prospects but also scars their brand integrity. The alternative is to offer employees the freedom to choose their own breaks/lunches and trust that the privilege will be used with a dose of common sense. You can go a step further and offer some flexibility for when they arrive and leave just as long as they’re working their 8 hours and get the job done.
A third perk includes having a weekly “free lunch Friday” in your office. A rising trend among most start-ups includes hosting a weekly in-office meal. The theory behind is that in addition to offering employees an opportunity to congregate, people who come together for a family style meal tend to think of each other as family and they’re more likely to work through obstacles amicably. Think of it as a cost-effective weekly team-building hack.
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