It seems like every job description these days, along with its catalog of job duties and experience requirements, comes along with an extensive list of “perks.” Free bagels on Fridays. Unlimited snacks. Beer on tap. Foosball table. So, what’s the deal with perks anyway? Are they really the best way to attract millennials or should we start telling companies to cut the shit?
Glassdoor, the site that allows users to anonymously review their current and previous employers, conducted a survey last year and found that “89% of younger employees (age 18-34 prefer benefits or perks over a pay raise).?“My response: WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Is this real life?
I’m not just talking basic benefits like health insurance and a retirement savings plan. It’s a no-brainer that many millennials would probably be better off with an employer offering health coverage rather than giving them a pay raise and asking them to fend for themselves on the health care exchange. In fact, I wouldn’t even really consider health coverage and retirement savings plans “perks” in the first place.
What really shocked me about Glassdoor’s survey was that many people ranked perks like free lunch, work from home days, casual dress codes, and gym memberships above a pay raise. Sure, some of these things may have monetary value and can be considered part of your total compensation. However, we hear so much about people working longer hours while their real wages are declining and they drown in student debt. It’s got to make us wonder, is that foosball table really worth anything?
Maybe it’s time to send a message to employers. If you are really set on offering more in order to retain good employees, focus on the things we actually need. Stop offering worthless perks and start offering real benefits: Pay raises that keep up with inflation (at the very least), healthcare, retirement savings, and sick leave are always a good place to start. But why stop there? Paid family leave and student loan repayment benefits could truly help your employees.
Essentially, keep your beer on tap and just let me go home at night.
So tell me, what do you think about employee perks? Are they worth it? Or is time for employers to stop trying to distract us and start paying up?
You are your company’s backbone. As an employee, you drive revenue, solve problems, and make money. You aren’t just a drone who sits in an office cubicle all day. You are a real person with a family and a personal life outside of work.
Sometimes, life happens and you may not be as on top of things at work as you used to be. That doesn?t mean you’ve lost your touch or that you’re no longer valuable. Your company can help you get back on track.
About 70% of companies offer Employee Assistance and Employee Wellness programs. Employee Assistance Programs help employees get back on track after their job performance drops, while Employee Wellness Programs prevent performance drops. But these perks aren’t just great for employees. Companies who invest in these programs also benefit from:
Reduced long term insurance costs
Increased employee retention
Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Google, and IBM not only take these kinds of programs seriously, they also see significant returns on their investments from these programs.
Benefits To The Company
If you’re looking to convince your company to implement a wellness program, make it about them. Outline the benefits to the company.
Over 10 years, Johnson & Johnson saved about $250 million from reduced healthcare spending and reduced employee absenteeism.
Johnson & Johnson has a comprehensive employee wellness program that focuses on physical health. They?ve implemented programs that have helped employees quit smoking and others that connect their employees to mental health professionals. Their health profile program also scores employees on key health metrics and offers guidance to improve physical health. Not only did employees improve their health, Johnson & Johnson also got $2.57 back for every dollar they spent on these wellness programs. Over 10 years, Johnson & Johnson saved about $250 million from reduced healthcare spending alone. The more comprehensive your company’s insurance plan is, the more they could potentially save from taking an active role in improving their employees’ health.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
“At Virgin Pulse, we have shown positive impact on business and talent concerns like absence, safety, performance and productivity, turnover, and even customer quality and customer satisfaction.” – Virgin Pulse
Richard Branson has famously said that employees come first and customers come second. He understands the importance of investing in employee wellness. Virgin America includes standard benefits like health insurance, retirement planning, and flexible working hours. Sure, these are great, but they also help with student loans, flexible working hours, and wellness programs for employees and their families. That’s going above and beyond for employees, but what does that have to do with customers?
In survey of over 1,000 HR professionals, over 50% of companies who invested in employee engagement programs increased customer satisfaction. Read that again. Companies who made their employees happy also made their customers happy. Happy employees are willing to go above and beyond for the customers that they serve. If your company wants its customers to fall in love with them (and they do), convince them to invest in you.
Increased Employee Loyalty
About 40% of generation X and Y employees cite strong benefits as “extremely important” in creating loyalty to an employer.
IBM is known for its presence in hardware and technology, but what isn’t common knowledge is the robustness of its employee assistance program. IBM?s Employee Assistance Program includes counseling for not only its employees, but also for its employees? family members. It?s work-life balance program, Lifeworks, gives employees counseling about how to manage time, organize their lives to achieve their optimal work-life balances, and even help families with the adoption process. Their website outlines its “competitive benefits program” and encourages potential new-hires to explore IBM’s benefits.
But what does IBM get out of giving its employees so much? Loyalty. The most loyal employees tend to be the ones with strong benefits packages. About 40% of Generation X and Y employees cite strong benefits as “extremely important” in creating loyalty to an employer. Training new employees is expensive, and your company would love to keep you as long as they can.
Before You Make Your Case
To summarize, small changes in a company can make you feel more motivated and engaged at work. In return, employers will benefit from:
Your company wants all of these perks. Think of the benefits that are most important to you, then make your case. What changes would help you thrive in your job? Things like flexible work hours aren’t super expensive strategies for many companies to offer. If you want more perks, remind them that investing in employee health isn?t just for massive tech companies. It?s good business.
Before you ask, make sure you’re proving yourself to your firm.? This will give you more leverage when you make the request.
What does your employer do to take care of its employees? What kind of wellness and assistance programs do your company have?