It’s the question on every leader’s mind - what motivates employees? What perks can be offered at work to attract and retain the very best employees? Is it bean bag chairs, arcade games, and ice cream socials? Is it the flexibility and autonomy to work remotely as one sees fit?
As you can imagine, there is no one clear answer. Every team, organization, and even industry will feel motivated and fulfilled by a unique set of work perks. So, how then do you decide what that unique combination is? First, start by reviewing the basics of perks at work and what exactly it is employees do and do not want. From there, you can plan accordingly.
What are perks at work?
Perks at work, which you may also hear referred to as fringe benefits, are something employers offer their employees beyond base salaries and benefits. They’re the types of things that are not mandatory or essential but definitely contribute to the employee experience.
Perks at work vs. Benefits: How Are They Different?
While the terms perks and benefits are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference. According to Robert Half, “benefits are generally a form of non-cash compensation that cover basic needs such as health insurance, paid time off, dental insurance, retirement savings plans, and life insurance.”
You may think of perks and benefits at work in terms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which depicts the five levels of human needs that allow an individual to feel fulfilled. While employee benefits fulfill the physiological and safety requirements, perks at work fulfill the social, esteem, and self-actualization needs everyone has. By providing both, you are positively contributing to your employee’s feelings of fulfillment at work, which is key if you want to retain and attract the very best employees.
Why Are Perks at Work Important?
When perks at work are thoughtfully curated and offered, it can increase employee engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and company loyalty. Here are a few statistics that highlight the importance of perks at work (or fringe benefits).
- Increased Company Loyalty - 69% of employees say having a wider array of benefits and perks would increase loyalty to their employer. - Metlife
- Increased Job Satisfaction - 72% of employees say having more work benefits would increase their job satisfaction. - Zoro
- Lower Attrition - Companies rated highly on compensation and benefits saw 56% lower attrition. - LinkedIn
- Increased Productivity and Morale - One in three professionals say work flexibility is a perk that would increase their morale, overall productivity, and efficiency at work. - Deloitte
10 Perks at Work That Motivate People to Take One Job Over Another
In a study conducted by Rovva, a virtual office rental company, office workers were asked which perks at work would motivate them to take one job over the other. The perks listed are in order of importance and are a true reflection of the priorities of today’s workforce:
- 4-day workweek
- Flexible working
- Unlimited vacation time
- Remote working
- Share/stock options
- Private health, dental care, and wellness programs
- Additional paternity/maternity leave
- Extended Christmas leave
10 Perks at Work That People Generally Don’t Care Much For
In the same Rovva study, respondents were asked what perks they were offered at work that they absolutely did not care about. You may or may not be surprised that the more “luxurious” work perks topped the list:
- Concierge services
- Onsite haircuts and beauty treatments
- Daycare facilities
- Yoga and/or meditation
- Onsite games (ex. arcade games, pool table)
- Uniform/clothing allowance
- Company car
- Free massages
- New baby bonus
- Cycle to work scheme
In the 2020 State of Perks report, it was found that 91% of C-level executives and vice presidents thought their employees were happy with their perks, while in reality, 31% of their employees said they weren't. This has undoubtedly been exacerbated by the pandemic and continues to be as employees' expectations and needs change.
For those in people management and company leadership positions, you must advocate for perks at work that will provide employees with the support and fulfillment they need and want going forward.