Employee perks at a startup—snack rooms, ping pong tables, or napping pods—are a wonderful cliché second only to the Steve Jobs poster hanging in the developers’ lounge. Stereotypical as some perks may be, their cultural impact cannot be underestimated. Snack rooms are, in reality, close-quarter conversation starters, and happy hours turn into unexpected strategy sessions.
Perks are a necessity in today’s competition for talent—namely because the most innovative companies get creative with them. To human resources, they’re a doubled-up recruiting tool and retention booster.
TechnologyAdvice recently put together an excellent survey and infographic to get to the bottom of the perks employees value. In the nationwide survey of 486 adults—ages 25 and 54—56% said employee perks were very or moderately important when evaluating a job. Before investing in that office climbing wall (actually, go ahead and start that one), see where you should focus up your perks game below.
The perk most valued by employees is a flexible schedule.
The aforementioned survey reported that 31.8% of respondents desired flex time or remote work, the most desired perk of the survey. Thing is, 28.4% of employees don’t receive this perk. It’s a key insight into what many employees value most: their time. Work-life balance hasn’t only entered the workplace conversation. It’s owning it.
Flex time can differentiate your company when hiring, as the report concludes. It’s right in the sweet spot of rarity and employee desirability to really set a company apart. Consider more flexible time off schedules, or even the ultimate: unlimited PTO.
The second most desired employee perk is gym memberships.
The only thing employees love more than getting fit and staying fit is having their company cheer them on. Gym memberships clocked in as the second most desirable employee perk, with 24.1% of survey respondents. But yet again, 28.4% of employees did not currently receive this perk.
This perk was followed by free food or catered lunches (19.4%), so choose whether you'd like to offer yoga or Greek yogurt.
Currently the most prevalent workplace perk is a casual dress code.
Not a surprise for startups, today's most prevalent employee perk according to the survey was casual dress code, totaling 46.7% of adults surveyed. Allowing jeans doesn’t cost you a dime, so keep the relaxed policy in place while scheming your perks budget.
Before going gung-ho on perks, gauge what your employees value.
Start a perks conversation with your own workforce. Plain old salary increases may still be the most valuable to Baby Boomers. 44% of all the adults surveyed said they would prefer a salary increase over new employee perks, and of those adults, over half were 45-54 years old. Furthermore, 9.8% of all respondents did not find perks at all important when evaluating a job.
Perks won’t solve all of your talent problems. Still, 56% of all the adults surveyed would choose a specific perk over a salary bump. Growing millennial workforces are undoubtedly adding to the buzz around perks, so survey your own people to find what matters most to them. That way, you’ll never waste another dollar on stocking a coconut water fridge no one opens anyway.