When it comes to acquiring talent, IT can easily turn into a real war zone. Modern IT companies agree that people are their most valuable assets, so they spare no expense when it comes to provoking interest from the industry’s top talent.
Since “good salary” has basically become the norm in IT, companies are forced to think outside of the box and come up with different tactics to attract talented professionals.
According to numerous researches and surveys, perks and benefits make all the difference now in IT. As Zoro’s latest study claims, 72% of employees said having more work benefits would increase their job satisfaction. This is also true with temporary workers. Most of them look at the benefits and perks the company has to offer before determining whether they are going to stay with that company after their probation period is finished.
With that in mind, IT companies have started to take the whole ‘perks and benefits’ thing quite seriously. Foosball tables, fridges full of craft beer, snacks, board games, lazy bags, PS4, Xbox, darts - these are just some of the more common things you can find in most modern IT companies that they advertise as ‘perks and benefits’ to potential new hires.
However, if you really sit down and think about it, most of these things don’t make employees’ lives fundamentally better in any way.
In the following segments of this article, we at Share IT are going to take a deeper dive into the whole company perks and benefits concept.
No, they’re not.
Before we start talking about perks and benefits in greater detail, let us first set the record straight and explain what these two things actually mean.
Benefits, for instance, are non-wage compensations that supplement an employee’s salary. They usually come in the form of private health insurance, pre-tax transit assistance, stock options, etc.
Perks, on the other hand, are usually these little things that help the employees perform better at their job. More traditional perks at work may include a company car discount travel fares, a free gym membership, various games at the office, free drinks, etc.
It’s not hard to see that benefits are more important than perks for employees.
Benefits actually affect the quality of employees’ lives, while perks are like these little extra things that companies offer so to seem desirable on the market. Their primary function is to paint a clear picture of a rich company culture in which the employees really do come first.
However, choosing which perks to incorporate in your company is a delicate process. What you may personally see as perks, other people might view differently. They might even see your perks as unnecessary distractions or as something that’s not a perk anymore but a norm for companies doing business in the 21st century.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular perks and analyze their value for employees.
A lot of IT companies now try to establish a culture where people feel close to each other and hang out together, in and outside of the company walls. In order to ensure a healthy work atmosphere and encourage people to bond, companies tend to host frequent team-building events where they get everyone together over drinks or organize various different activities.
However, in order for this to work, you need to be perfectly sure that your employees actually want to hang out together. The events you’re hosting have to be in line with the employees’ interests.
Forcing too many team-building events can quickly become a problem if your people don’t feel like socializing and bonding. For a company that employees a lot of people who have kids, frequent team-building events are probably not a perk that will make their lives any easier.
They probably prefer coming home and spending time with their young ones, instead of binge-drinking with their colleagues. For people with kids and big families, the option to work remotely whenever they need to is a far bigger perk than frequent team-building events.
Of course, it all depends on your employees. Instead of resorting to the “one-size-fits-all” mentality, you should communicate with your team and ask them what they want.
Popularized by leading Silicon Valley employers like Google and Apple, game rooms have slowly made their way into almost every other IT company. Since this idea has worked so well for the two mentioned tech giants, most smaller brands now believe that game rooms are the perfect solution for boosting employee engagement and attracting potential talent to join their ranks.
The logic behind this sort of way of thinking is sound. Game rooms often look incredibly cool on photos and they offer employees a chance to quickly blow some steam whenever they need to.
But, let’s take a closer and objective look at this perk.
Even though everyone enjoys to take a break and unwind a little, game rooms are just a little perk. Nobody really decided to work for a company just because it has a foosball table, a pinball machine, or a PlayStation with all the latest games.
Sure, all of these things are nice to have and they will make your company more appealing - but they won’t really drive potential hires closer to you.
When looking for a job, people usually focus on things like flexibility, health-care, vacation days, learning opportunities and professional development, and parental policy. These are the factors that directly influence the employees’ quality of life.
Staying healthy and physically active is important, which is why most companies now offer free gym memberships to their employees. In addition, exercising on a regular basis helps people lower stress levels, get better sleep, and take care of their mental health as well.
Employers know that, in the long run - a healthy worker is a happy and productive worker.
Undoubtedly, offering gym memberships is a good way to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles, but it’s not really something that will make them choose one company over another. The truth is, wages in IT are pretty good, which means that people can afford to cover fitness expenses with ease.
Still, many companies list gym memberships as one of their benefits. To make a clear distinction: having health insurance and a reasonable amount of sick or mental health personal days would count as significant benefits, but gym membership is just one of the perks that promote the culture of wellness.
Thank you for taking the time to read our latest blog post. As you can see from everything written above, there is a clear difference between benefits and perks and how they affect your company’s image on the job market.
Even though it’s easy to get lost in the hype and blindly follow what big Silicon Valley companies do to get people to join their ranks, it’s important to remember that developing a desirable company image is never a simple copy-paste process.
To make your company more attractive on the job market, you need to understand the people who you’re thinking about hiring and benefits you could offer them to actually make their lives easier and better.
Sure, we are all attracted by flashy things, but what we really need is an environment that supports our personal and professional growth, and helps us easily carry out our personal and work-related activities.
This is the philosophy we at Share IT proudly stand behind. We offer our employees the needed flexibility, mentorship from those who have more experience, support to master new skills, and freedom to spend their free time as they wish. Sure, we have foosball and like going for drinks together. In the end, listening to people you work with and employ is the key to designing perks and benefits they need and expect.