Employee perks, loyalty, and Google

You’ve probably heard about the perks of working at Google:

Free lunches, exceptional workout facilities, nap pods, and on-site massage therapists — just to mention a few.

It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Though it’d be great if we all had an endless budget to offer perks to our own staff, the truth is, we don’t.

Even if we had loads of time and money, it’s more important to offer perks that truly matter to employees.

We want to provide benefits and perks that make a difference for our employees, ones that motivate them, encourage them, and make them want to keep working with us.

So what separates an ordinary perk from an extraordinary perk?

What fringe benefits really matter to employees?

Though it isn’t a one-size-fits-all — like most things in the business world — there are some perks, according to my experience (and other’s research), that make more of a difference than others.

Rather than simply listing the best perks to offer, I wanted to divide them into categories (4 big buckets) so you can see the bigger picture of perks that get results and keep staff loyal.

1. The Standards

Some basics will always be important to employees:

  • A competitive compensation package
  • Superannuation contributions
  • Health & life insurance (traditionally benefits in the US market, but creeping into Australia along with other partnered programs for products and services)
  • Paid time off, sick leave, or vacation pay

Developing a competitive comp and benefits package is almost a necessity in almost every industry.

2. Flexibility and Fluidity

More and more, employees are looking for flexibility and increased work-life balance. This is especially true for those in the Gen Y and Gen Z age groups.

Perks associated with flexibility include:

  • Ability to work from home or remote locations
  • Ability to adjust work schedule (i.e. 4 x 10 hour days vs. 5 x 8 hour days)
  • Increased time off
  • Option to trade in comp bonus for more time off
  • Ability to call in or video in for meetings and conferences
  • Option of unpaid time off
  • Option to work part-time for parents

3. Career Growth and Advancement

Almost every employee wants to feel like they’re expanding their skillset and moving up in their career. They desire options to learn, grow, and achieve.

Benefits that align with career development include:

  • Trainings, seminars, and courses (paid for by the company)
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Mentorship and management training programs
  • Conversations and evaluations that focus on employee’s advancement
  • Ability to rotate roles or locations to gain experience
  • Invitations to participate in meetings, brainstorms, and projects
  • Time for innovation endeavours (i.e. trying new methods, reading books, shadowing another department)
  • Work personality assessments along with analysis and discussion

Offering perks focused on career advancement is often overlooked, because we are focused on the here and now—rather than on long-term strategies that offer big gains.

In a recent Forbes article, Victor Lipman shares that offering employee development opportunities builds immense loyalty. He explains, “Taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty. Loyal employees are more engaged.  Engaged employees are more productive.”

4. Environmental Perks

The place we all come to work has an impact on the work we do, and how we feel about our time spent within those walls.

Developing a relaxed environment, and one where employees can occasionally let off steam, is one of the greatest things we can do for morale and retaining valuable employees.

Amp up the energy in your work environment by adding:

  • Places to connect and be at ease. This could be as simple as a staff break room or more fun like a ping pong table, dart board, or flat screen TV
  • On-site gym facility or child care
  • Free snacks or drinks (think: coffee, fruit, nuts)
  • Natural lighting and windows
  • Comfortable furniture and meeting spots
  • Bikes so employees can pedal to nearby lunch spots
  • Yoga, pilates, or meditation classes
  • Or anything else that lightens the atmosphere and brings people together

Providing perks from each of the four “buckets” above ensures you’re offering something that everyone can appreciate.

Rather than targeting one type of employee, you’re creating an attractive workplace for all.

One of the best ways I’ve learned what employees want most with my employees is through touchpoint interviews.

Regular touchpoints connect us with our employees and allow us to hear what’s motivating them and what’s holding them back.

Any questions?

If you have questions on this topic or any others, feel free to reach me by email or set up a free one-on-one consultation session, or drop me a comment below.

Thanks for sharing!