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Why Employee Perks Are CRITICAL To Employer Brands
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Fifty years ago, all companies needed to do to attract employees was to offer the simple promise of a steady job and a decent wage. My my, my, how things have changed. Think about it.

Would Google be half as interesting without their new age napping pods and company slides? Do you think Starbucks would receive as much good will if it didn’t offer the gold standard in benefits and employee assistance to their primarily entry level workforce? Employer branding’s benefits don’t just end with HR objectives. It steps into the territory about how business is conducted in 2019: aligning company values and their buyer’s social consciousness.

It shouldn’t surprise you then that at least 57% of candidates list benefits alone as their top consideration before accepting a job (Glassdoor Harris Poll, 2015). That’s nothing when you look at the nearly 80% of workers preferring new or additional benefits over a pay increase today (Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey, October 2015).

The goal: to attract and keep employees. Put your company in a position to maximize value for both prospective candidates and employees.

First things first: employer branding

An employer brand is a company’s reputation as an employer, the value that it brings and what it offers to their employees. The brand is what remains in the mind of those outside the company long after recruiters have pitched, consumers have purchased and the media has put down it’s pen.

It goes without saying that positive branding means intense interest from talented applicants and employees who grow your business. This is a critical and often overlooked ingredient to the success and growth of a company. Your employer brand is a strategic investment that will pay dividends in the form of superior culture, retention, productivity and talent management.

Benefits and perks: definitely not the same thing.

In short, benefits are a form of non-wage compensation that if not offered via employer, employees would self-fund (think health insurance). Perks on the other hand are really ‘nice to haves’ over and above the total compensation package (think flexible working hours, parking space, ping pong tables, etc.).

Although though times are changing, in 2019 employees agree that the top three benefits they look for are: Health Insurance, Annual Leave, and Pension Plans. Guess what that means? It’s status quo. An expectation. An entitlement. You haven’t got a SHOT at attracting top talent without these three components so they’re not really “benefits” anymore. What sets you apart are the unique perks and technology that reinforce your employer brand.

What if my company doesn’t have a budget for extra benefits and perks?

Find it. Make sure it is a part of your growth strategy. If you’re just now discovering that this component of your business is as critical to your overall growth strategy as, let’s say marketing, you’re in luck. The following low cost perks can work for a company with a slim budget just testing the waters of employer brand strategy.

Workplace Wellness programs: This can be anything from subsidized gym memberships, healthy eating programs or on-site yoga classes.

Bringing this program on-board not only adds value to your employees, it is also directly linked to employee experience and job performance in the following ways:

  • Mindfulness helps to reduce daily employee stress
  • Building resilience is key in overcoming adversity or workload stress
  • Fitness helps to relieve stress while simultaneously improving moods and boosting mental productivity
  • Healthier food choices improve cognitive performance and energy levels

Your company culture and industry are unique and as an employer your branding should capitalize on that. A free way to gauge the most effective well-being programs is to simply take a poll around the office with the options that you have in mind. In this way you ensure you achieve employee buy in, relevance and a return on your investment of time and money. The majority of employees wish that they had an opportunity to become more active, eat healthier and do more to cope with stress.

If a person’s employer is the benevolent provider of these solutions it helps build a more emotional connection between employee and employer.

Flex-Time: Flexible working hours

Depending on where you get advice, some folks are morning people, some people enter their zone of genius during the late night hours. Take employee preferences into account and act. In most cases as an employer you are paying them for their performance not their presence. 

Have you ever had to part ways with a full time employee who was always in the office 9-5? I suspect the answer is yes. Office presence is no indication of productivity. As a modern employer you should already know what key metrics you are looking for out of your employees. Building a flexible arrangement increases job satisfaction, demonstrates an employer’s trust in employees and gives the employer a clear picture as to what to hold employees accountable for. 

Need I mention the potential for reduced overhead and smaller office spaces that flex arrangements can have on your company’s P&L?

Food, glorious food!

Ok, there are some major players out there giving away three meals a day for staff, (looking at you Google). While not every company can do this and stay in business, you can at the very least give access to complimentary coffee/tea and maybe even offer free fruit to help your employees get their fruit-nutrition (frutrition?) for the day. 

The number of vendors on the market is dizzying. Before you dig into a partnership with an office food vendor, make sure it’s sustainable for your budget. Ask for lower pricing in exchange for longer relationships.

Concierge services

Who said that this should only be extended to the C-Suite? Give employees some all star treatment and recognize that a lot of errands need running during normal business hours. Giving the option for employees to have packages delivered to the office for them to take home would be a great thing to have done (not to mention reducing the stress of worrying about porch pirates until they get home).

Some companies offer dry cleaning (either at a cost or as part of their employee package) where the employee drops off and picks up at work. I’ve seen dog walkers, line holders and shoppers for employees as well. Think this is overreaching? Think about how much money your business loses when an employee takes a day off to handle these trivial ‘part of life’ tasks.

Bringing it all together

We’re in a brave new world where employees have this crazy idea that if you commit to spending 40 hours a week away from your family someplace you’d probably want to enjoy being there. Employers are scrambling in every direction to feed their growth engine: sales, marketing, funding, partnerships but what about your team? You’re only as strong as your weakest employee. 

Make sure your weakest employee is the candidate of your competitors dreams.

Treat your company and it’s employees the same way you would treat a client or prospect and watch the investment return in dividends of increased performance, creative innovation and employee enthusiasm that energizes the results you seek as a company. You can’t control everything with respect to your employer brand (Hey Glassdoor!). However, you can control the narrative and ensure your employees and customers have a positive view of yourcompany’s identity.

It will not only benefit employee retention, it will also attract positive candidates who will inject your company culture with their own contagious enthusiasm. Everyone knows that employees who work happy work harder.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of branding? Learn more here.