Quirky perks from across the working world


Data and studies have highlighted how critical employee benefits are in order to retain and attract talent, but what exactly do staff want from their employer?

Words by Jade Burke | Design by Matt Bonnar

What do the stats say?

  • Research from EBRI in 2019 found that 78% of employees say that work perks are an extremely important part of their decision when looking for a job
  • A previous study by Totaljobs found that over 40% of employees feel less stressed when their company offers perks
  • According to Glassdoor, over a third (34%) of people report that perks are the most important consideration before accepting a job at a company
  • Zoro previously revealed that 72% of employees said having more work benefits would increase their job satisfaction
  • 20.7% of employees would leave their job for better corporate benefits, a report by Achievers discovered

During a career or job change, many jobseekers are guilty of flicking through the job description to the section that details the benefits and perks they will be able to take advantage of if they are successful. This is reflected in statistics shared by Zenefits, which state that more than 60% of employees would take a job with a lower salary for better benefits.

It also seems that employees will happily jump ship if they find better benefits elsewhere, as research provided by Randstad discovered that more than 50% of employees said they have left jobs after hearing the siren calls of better benefits from other employers. It’s clear from these statistics that the work perks and benefits an organisation offers can greatly impact the talent they can attract and retain.

This is a notion that Karen Bates, People Director of multinational brewery and pub chain BrewDog, supports as she tells HR Grapevine: “What I found very much when talking to candidates is it’s more about what else; what are the company benefits on offer because that shows how a company truly values their employees by the things they look at.”

What do the stats say?

  • Research from EBRI in 2019 found that 78% of employees say that work perks are an extremely important part of their decision when looking for a job
  • A previous study by Totaljobs found that over 40% of employees feel less stressed when their company offers perks
  • According to Glassdoor, over a third (34%) of people report that perks are the most important consideration before accepting a job at a company
  • Zoro previously revealed that 72% of employees said having more work benefits would increase their job satisfaction
  • 20.7% of employees would leave their job for better corporate benefits, a report by Achievers discovered

With this in mind, should a company consider offering unusual or less traditional perks and opt for ones that are far quirkier? For example, social media management platform Hootsuite has a nap room for staff members to take a quick doze if they are feeling sleepy during the working day. Meanwhile, British app developer Neon Play promises to provide its staff with the finest quality toilet roll, as well as a free driving lesson and beer fridge.

While some organisations have noticed the benefit offering unusual work perks can bring, from introducing bean bag chairs and hammocks to giving free beer away on tap or pick ‘n’ mix sweets, are these types of privileges a fad and as such wear off quickly? Jo Cresswell, former Community Expert at Glassdoor, believes this is the case but that benefits also do add value: “In a recent study into ‘Which Workplace Factors Drive Employee Satisfaction?’, Glassdoor found that a company’s culture and values is the biggest driver of workplace satisfaction. More so than career opportunities, work-life balance and, indeed, salary and benefits.

“That said, comprehensive – and also quirky – benefits are a good way to attract employees and can be a crucial element when job seekers are choosing between multiple job offers,” she adds.

So what ‘quirky’ benefits are businesses using?


 

In line with the more unusual perks compared to the traditional annual leave allowance and sick pay, BrewDog offers its employees a variety of quirky perks. In line with its heritage and love of dogs, BrewDog offers ‘Pawternity leave’ where employees will receive a week’s paid leave in order to settle in their new furry companion, plus dogs are also welcome in the office meaning staff do not have to leave their dog at home alone all day. Bates adds: “It’s almost going back to our heritage around how BrewDog came about; it was two men and a dog in a garage, so dogs have always been a key part of our business, so we have the bring your work to work policy – our offices are full of dogs.”

 

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the imposed lockdown in the UK, the international daily newspaper Financial Times (FT) has ensured it has adapted its work benefits in order to support employees who are not working from their own homes. Priscilla Baffour, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at the newspaper, explains that while COVID-19 has encouraged the organisation to offer better flexible working hours, flexible working has always been crucial to its employees. she says: “Giving employees the flexibility they need to meet their personal needs is often seen as another benefit. Offering a variety of time-off arrangements, including flexible working, enhanced parenting leave and paid volunteer leave. We offer flexible working not just for returners but for all, again challenging the more traditional working patterns around 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.

“COVID-19 has created an entirely new way of working for many and businesses should use this time to evaluate roles, working hours, work-from-home opportunities, and job-sharing options to ensure they retain talent.”

 

While this digital marketing agency is not as globally recognised as the likes of BrewDog and the FT, that doesn’t mean that The Audit Lab has scrimped on its work perks. In fact, the Bolton-based firm lets its staff take ‘hangover days’ where they work from home if they are feeling a little worse for wear after a night out. The perk, which was introduced by Claire Crompton, Co-Founder and Director prior to COVID-19, is said to help the business attract new talent. Speaking to the BBC, Crompton says: “It's basically a work-from-home day, but we've sexed it up a bit to appeal to the younger generation. It promotes honesty as well. If people used it two or three times a week and missed important client meetings, then we'd have to have a think. But everyone has been really respectful of it so far.”

 

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