Work perks – what are the things you should be looking for, and what does it tell you about a company culture?
By now, most Employers understand the importance of company culture. That’s why, when applying for jobs, you’ll notice the abundance of ads that tell of ping-pong tables, espresso bars and beanbags well before the person specification.
Chat to their hiring manager on the phone in an introductory interview and they’ll likely mention the free fruit that is delivered to the office every Tuesday, the beers they enjoy on Friday afternoons or the discount vouchers they offer staff upon joining the company.
Coming away from this conversation, you’d assume that this is a business who cares about their workers; you’d likely be drawn towards this company should a job offer land on your lap. According to research from Glassdoor, you certainly wouldn’t be the first. Findings from their research revealed more than a third of Employees admit perks and benefits are amongst their top consideration before accepting a new job.
But Candidates beware: while certain perks may work in getting people through the door, it’s what’s inside that counts the most. It may be hard to judge a book by its cover, but the kind of perks on offer usually speak volumes about the company culture.
While a game of beer-pong certainly wouldn’t go amiss on a Friday afternoon, this shouldn’t be the deciding factor that sways you towards a particular company. In a bid to wow candidates with trendy break-out areas and “fun” activities, Employers often overlook the most beneficial perk they can offer their staff: flexibility. Real life involves juggling professional and personal commitments, and when they start to overflow into each-other, productivity suffers – not to mention your own well-being.
If an Employer truly values their people and wishes to boost performance, they would build flexibility into their job offer and make sure applicants like yourself know they wouldn’t have to sacrifice work-life balance to do a great job.
Beyond vouchers and office perks, some Employers have integrated charity work into their annual leave policies, allowing staff to take a certain amount of additional days off to volunteer and contribute to an important cause. Let’s not lie, a day out of the office to hand out flyers is an exciting prospect – but beyond a change of scenery, this kind of perk allows a company to give back to the community.
But what does it say about the culture itself? Well, according to an Employee at Sage, who offer 5 days a year for volunteering opportunities, “There’s a heartfelt belief that good business is more than making money – it’s about helping those who need help.”
There’s nothing more important than your health and well-being, and Employers who recognise this usually benefit from increased levels of staff satisfaction. It’s hardly any surprise – after all, taking advantage of a perk like this should reduce the amount of sick days taken overall, meaning there is both a business and personal benefit to offering private healthcare to Employees.
Sure, healthcare isn’t as exciting a perk as, say, a sabbatical of four weeks for every four years’ service or a villa abroad that staff can take advantage of. However, if you do happen to see this listed in a job ad, it’s usually a sign that a company are prepared to look after its workforce over the long-term.
When speaking to a hiring manager about work perks, performance bonuses may not come to mind. After all, it’s often assumed that high quality work will be recognised and rewarded so as to encourage the same behaviour throughout the business.
Unfortunately, not all companies have cottoned on to the fact that performance bonuses can be the fuel that motivates a workforce to go above and beyond. Those who have usually boast a healthy organisational culture as a result; one in which people feel valued for their contribution and recognised for their hard work.
If this sounds like a good working environment, you may want to look beyond the superficial and ask the questions that will uncover the real truth about company culture.