As a flow-on from tech companies like Google, Apple and other Silicon Valley companies, there’s a lot of pressure on organisations to offer fun, quirky perks to attract and retain the best talent.
The problem, however, is that most of these perks are seen as top candidates as “nice-to-have” at best or at worst a sign that the company values image over substance.
Now, being a tech company, we’re a little bit spoilt in this regard (among our video games, pool table, company lunches and lollies on-tap, we certainly can’t cast stones at other tech companies), but the fact remains: some perks are more important than others.
So, based on the feedback of our customers, our own experiences and the success of some of Linkedin‘s best places to work, here’s 5 perks that will not only make you look cool, but will actually help you attract and retain top talent:
#1 Incentives for taking holidays
Many employees (especially younger workers) value a work life balance over higher compensation levels. Offering incentives to take holidays, such as enforced leave, travel allowance and extra time-off will help demonstrate to prospective employees that you value their health and wellbeing and actually want them to use their holiday time!
#2 Fair equity options
This usually applies more to startups or executives in larger organisations, but offering employees equity in your company will help retain them over time. If they’re directly benefiting from the business’ success as a shareholder, they have an added incentive to perform and grow attached to you as an employer.
The key word here is ‘fair’ – don’t immediately take away equity options when employees leave, as this creates a feeling of mistrust and will reduce the effectiveness of this option. It has to feel like a reward and privilege, not something unattainable and worthless.
#3 Training, mentoring and career development
When prospective employees know that you’re an employer who is going to grow them professionally, you’re immediately more attractive than any other offer on the table.
We all want to learn and grow, so providing structured, guaranteed development opportunities, you’re not only going to attract better candidates, but you’re going to improve their performance over time too.
#4 Fun company events and activities
No, we’re not talking about long boring strategy days.
Regular social events are extremely appealing to those who have a high need for social interactions, and can help make teams feel more like a family. This will make employees stay for longer, but it word will also spread to prospective employees about how good the people at your company are to work with.
We do this with ad hoc events like go-karting, comedy nights or whatever anyone can think of, but we also have lunch together every Friday as a company to catch up and unwind.
#5 Flexible working conditions
More and more we’re seeing employees have really diverse needs and requirements that impact their usual 9-5 working arrangements. Sometimes, it’s a family and kids, other times it’s a love of travel or a hobby.
If you can show that you, as an awesome employer, can work around their other interests (and encourage employees to pursue these interests), you’ll score a lot of brownie points with candidates.
Flexible working hours, extra unpaid leave and telecommuting are all relatively small prices to pay to attract awesome employees. In many cases, you’ll probably find that these benefits can be negotiated in lieu of a percentage of salary, which can help both you and your employees.
Of course, if your employees really want a Space Invaders arcade cabinet, and you have the budget for it, by all means, go for it!
But if you really want to find the key perks top candidates value, these 5 are a more effective place to start.