PERKS WITHOUT PURPOSE
BY TIFFANY NGUYEN | August 2, 2017
Ping-Pong tables? Free dry-cleaning and free vacations?
The question that often follows is, “What could be better than this?” Today, there are countless companies boosting their culture with unique and exciting perks. Unconventional work environments are praised, and this progressive mindset has been conducive to many wild yet attractive perquisites. Although, there is a valid “too-good-to-be-true” anxiety that intrudes on many individuals as they read these claims of seemingly luxurious and fun benefits. What do companies hope to foster in their culture with these perks? What do they hope to achieve in general? Is there a long-term goal?
You must ask yourself: What do these perks do for both you and the company?
As a prospective employee, you carefully peruse your options in the job market. While paid vacations, office kegs, and four-day workweeks sound attractive, we must consider the long-term outcomes of each. If a company’s perks are shallow and simply used to attract future employees, then the retention rates will be equally insubstantial and weak. An employee that joined a company for their exquisite snack pantry will leave as soon as there is a better pantry. The point is to have a greater purpose behind each given perk.
Your company must look beyond and ask themselves:
• Do your perks transform your employees into brand ambassadors?
• Do your perks help create a community within the company?
• Do your perks encourage connection?
• Do your perks allow employees to feel comfortable to be themselves?
• Do your perks foster trust and understanding within your company?
Perks should be another way to show employees that you care. With this goal in mind, one must be wary of doling out the wrong perks, or rather, perks without purpose. It is easy for companies to get lazy and “fun-wash” the minds of their workers. You may think your employees could never find fault in a company with such great perks, but this mindset of quick, fun fixes breeds surface-level excitement for your brand. Companies should not find sufficiency in merely providing these perks and equating it with a good culture.
Not A Perk Problem
Now that we have discussed and reviewed the numerous concerns, it is important to mention that perks are not all bad. They can be great additions and powerful devices that allow employees to feel connected to each other, your company, and something bigger than their individual role.
Perks alone should not inspire anxiety or concern. They should bolster connection and communication. It is not immoral or problematic to enjoy these rewards, but to better analyze your company’s culture, it is always important to question employee satisfaction and seek greater purpose. You should inquire as to the true level of effectiveness of these perks. While nice additions, there can be great caveats to these glittering extras and that is why you should not mistake fun flourishes for a happy work culture.
Companies should get to the core of what is truly important for their employees’ work: feeling the value and necessity of their contribution.
Perks should be exactly as they are defined, a privilege or gain. Rather than substituting these for good culture or using them superficially, you should attribute them towards a grander goal. There is much more to you and your company, so don’t dilute your vision. Instead, make thoughtful considerations for your culture.
Considerations for Common Perks
Work-from-home: While the appeal and benefit to remote work remains valid, it is important to consider the pros and cons. Often times, employees who are allowed to work out of the office will feel the need to justify their work and overcompensate. These individuals will strive to validate this freedom by overworking themselves. The key principle that ensures the success of this perk is trust. If you genuinely believe in the work and integrity of your employees enough to allow this independence, then you must live up to your own standards. You should not overstep boundaries by asking for more time than appropriate. Allowing your employees to work from home does not allow you to call them anytime. This opportunity comes with great responsibility, and it can be a great way to build the trust and relationships between your workers. It is important for your company to remain honest with deadlines and boundaries, and you should not utilize this perk without fully understanding its upsides and downfalls.
Company Bonding Trips: Do not force bonding. This will lead to forced relationships, and you should not endorse the fake atmosphere that any of these “fun” events frequently result in. Mandatory get-to-know-you trips and activities are often begrudgingly attended, and this is due to the nature of their arrangement. Your company should encourage these fun activities rather than enforce. Allowing the choice to opt in or out will naturally generate a more welcoming and laid-back vibe.
What more can you do for your company?
It is not the perk itself that both employees and employers should avoid, but rather the misuse or failure in its execution. Strive to energize and inspire your team with perks that demonstrate your respect, transparency, and care. Companies should understand that a great culture takes time, work, and so much more than a fully stocked mini fridge to create.
GALLANT understands that company culture is complex and filled of many vital tenets to consider. Drive your vision with strong values and request a consultation today.
PERKS WITHOUT PURPOSE