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February 27, 2019
Mat Vogels

There’s a new currency in the workplace, and it’s not salary

Salary is important, but workplace perks are proving to be equally as important to the new wave of workforce.

A position’s salary can make a job seem flashy and appealing at first glance. However, many employees are no longer judging a book (or in this case, a job), simply by its cover. Instead, the currency that is rapidly becoming even more valuable to employees than a number on paper is the list of perks that can go with the position.

“Extras” that would have been virtually unheard-of even a decade ago are now almost commonplace, as employees ask workplaces to provide much more than mere money in the bank. They might be anything from educational opportunities, lifestyle add-ons such as on-site dry cleaning, banking services or gym memberships, or a team reward trip to Iceland.

But what is the risk/reward balance to the employer who provides and foots the bill for these work-life balance value-adds? When considering offering such options, it is important to recognize the level of employee demand and to analyze the costs. Equally important is to make it easy for your team members to take advantage of these perks. Although these tasks may seem daunting, they are well worthwhile.

People who feel empowered and supported will produce their best work for you and in the end, both your company and its people will grow and prosper together.

Apps like Spotify are quickly becoming hot perks

One size doesn’t fit all

Every employee is different, so why would the perks you offer them be a one-size-fits-all solution? We know that it is tough to come up with employee perk ideas. Especially if you have employees working outside a central office. However, if you are able to take the time to chat with them individually, that could lead to a better sense of the perks they are looking for.

In the real world, this can be a logistical nightmare. Imagine having to talk to 100+ employees about what they want and need—yes, we feel the anxiety too. This could get extremely expensive and inefficient. It is estimated that employees can cost anywhere from 1.25 to 1.4 times the amount of their base salary, which accounts for health benefits, PTO and perks. This sounds daunting, but it only reinforces how important it is to invest in a successful plan as employees are asking for better-suited perks.

Zestful is a solution to that issue, with easily customizable perks for each individual employee through our easy-to-use platform.

Gen Z is coming!

Perks are only going to become more important as Generation Z enters the workplace on the heels of the millennials. Rather than bonuses, this new workforce seeks employers that will provide them opportunities to grow rather than bonuses, and have no fear of moving on if said employer isn’t offering employees the tools they need to grow and succeed.

While the traditional health insurance benefit still reigns supreme, perks like education, parental leave, flexible hours, and company-wide retreats are beginning to emerge as increasingly more valued.

Why these perks really matter

We are living in a really healthy economy. Like, really healthy. We haven’t seen unemployment this low since the year YouTube was founded. In the employer versus employee tug of war, the employee is currently winning—by a long shot. The Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported that 3.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in October 2018, and half are reported to be millennials.

While this report says the main reason is pay-based, the secondary reason relates to benefits and perks. Benefits not only help employers keep their existing employees around, but also attract new ones. Jobs that are making news aren’t the best paying. Jobs making the news have the best perks and benefits.

To simplify, employees need to be served the tools and resources to not only meet the job requirements but also improve their lifestyles and preserve their mental health. And, unfortunately, employers have not been able to do that. As a result, they have ended up on the receiving end of resignation letters.

With younger generations, employee perks don’t look like scheduled raises or life insurance or 15% off your cell phone bill. To younger generations, perks come in the form of travel opportunities, flexibility in dress code and hours, and a vibrant work environment. Achieving the right mix of perks and pay is not a simple task, but it’s a necessary one.

Whether employees are centrally located or not, it really is possible to extend a successful employee perks program to all age groups, in small businesses and large! Listen to employee needs, and everything else has a beautiful way of working out. Do you have a great success story with your employee perks program? We would love to hear about it. Tweet us!

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