The shift has begun, and it’s about time.
It’s not just employers asking “Why should we hire you?” anymore. We’re finally seeing that shift where candidates are reclaiming their gumption and asking “Why should I work for you?”
What do you bring to the table other than the standard “We pay you and give you health insurance” response? Money is great and all, but during my job searches over the years, I’ve leveraged tools like Glassdoor to research companies. I’ve seen these companies’ poor reviews, and I’ve flat out told myself “They could offer me 100k and I still wouldn’t work for them.” Money isn’t everything to everyone.
So what can you do to make people want to work for you? We put our heads together and came up with a list of the most requested, high-impact office perks.
The United States is terrible when it comes to work/life balance. We unfortunately live in a country where we’re supposed to feel privileged to even have a job, and we should be forever grateful and want to work 60 hour weeks because of that. In fact, we’re one of the only countries without minimum annual leave. Most countries seem to get around 20 to 30 paid days per year – we get a big fat zero. Any company can decide not to provide paid days off. As it stands right now, only 77% of employers provide any paid time off to employees – and worse, the average for those who do get time off is only 10 days per year. TEN DAYS. Go see for yourself if you don’t believe me:
I’m not the only one that finds this to be absolutely insane, as evidenced by how many companies are moving towards unlimited PTO policies. The great thing about unlimited PTO is that employees realize it’s a fantastic perk, and they don’t take advantage of it, lest they be ‘that guy’ that ruins it for everybody. So please, go ahead and offer it. While it may be an adjustment, your current employees will feel more trusted and valued, and your applicant pool will widen dramatically.
Culture has become an incredibly important factor for candidates when considering new positions. Scheduling fun culture events is a huge morale booster – but a quick word of advice: schedule these during work hours. Please don’t make employees sacrifice more of their precious personal time for work events, even if they are cool culture events. Schedule them during business hours, and it’ll be a double-whammy: Cool activity, and less time working.
We recently did an escape room for 3 of our members’ birthdays. Not only was it super cool, it was also a teambuilding event where our collaboration was crucial. We learned to communicate better as a team, and we got to escape the office for a couple hours to do something fun and celebrate the boys.
These are ancillary benefits, but they can make a significant difference, especially for the health-conscious (and, let’s not kid ourselves, money-conscious). Can you offer a free gym membership? Perhaps you’d be able to keep a break room stocked with free healthy snacks? Or, in-house massages, maybe? One of my former employers had a massage therapist come in every Friday and they’d offer chair massages. The employee still had to pay for the massage, but it was at a reduced rate (the company covered some of the cost). The massage therapist would end up being booked solid through the day, because who doesn’t want a nice, cheap 15 minute stress-relieving massage on a Friday?
Let’s take a look at the average person’s schedule:
You sleep for 8 hours. You work for 8 hours.
Ok, so you have 8 hours left in your day. However, how many of those 8 hours revolve around work? Getting ready in the morning, commuting back and forth, packing lunches, answering emails, etc. I’d venture a guess that people spend on average – out of their precious 8 hours of “free time” per day – an additional 3-4 hours doing things for/around work.
To add insult to the injury, companies demand employees be on-call (my partner, owner of clouductivity.com, was on-call 24/7 at one of his former employers – yikes!) or attend extracurricular events without compensation. How is any of this fair? Companies need to realize their employees are people and they need to be able to decompress, and companies should be encouraging their employees to only work their 40 hours. If working after-hours is expected from an employee on certain days, please allow them to come in late the day after – don’t let their free time be consumed by work, especially if you value these workers. Burnout is a terrible, real thing – but it can be easily avoided with just a bit of empathy.
On that note, offering a flex work schedule is great. If your commute is long, it can be soul-crushing to be stuck in rush hour traffic twice per day, five days per week. It’s a very thoughtful gesture to allow an employee to work 8:30 to 4:30 if it saves them some time commuting.
Finally, I need to give a quick nod to Mike. When FST first started, we worked 8 to 5. However, when the company became profitable, Mike changed our hours to 9 to 5. I think it’s fantastic that he realized our time is precious, and that he chose to spread the wealth. He didn’t have to, but he did because he values us and he knows we’re not machines. Thanks, Mike!
Remote work is fantastic, even if only partial. Being able to do just 1 or 2 days remotely per week can be a lifesaver for your employee’s time, especially if they have a long commute. It’s great to be able to sleep in a bit longer, to save money on gas, and help curb wear and tear on your vehicle. If your employees don’t work face to face with clients, please offer a day or two of remote work – it should be fairly easily feasible. It’s just another way you can show your employees that you trust them to be productive, and that you value their personal time.
I hope I gave you some things to mull over. We, your talent pool, realize more and more our value and we expect to be compensated equitably, whether in straight-up salary, or with perks. While not all 5 of these ideas will be feasible for your specific company/industry, I’m sure one or two can be implemented immediately. Not only will your current employees appreciate these gestures immensely, but you should attract greater talent – talent that knows their value and was waiting for the right company – you! – to come along.
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