Crazy Employee Perks (and why you don’t need them)

Clare Parkinson

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23 Jul 2019

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Crazy employee perks. No doubt you’ve heard of them, and they may have left you wondering ‘how on earth can I compete?’. Well, we’re here to look at some of the most ‘out-there’ examples, and tell you why you don’t need them.

The benefits that matter (and those that don’t)

The weird

Let’s start with the truly crazy perks.

Cryptocurrency hedge fund organisation, Numerai, listed cryopreservation as a perk in one of if its job ads.

Not sure what that is?

Basically, it means you can be frozen after death with the intention of being reanimated once technology is advanced enough.

Funnily enough, that’s not the only benefit on this list that involves freezing.

Some tech companies, such as Apple and Facebook, are offering to freeze employees’ eggs so that they can have children once they’ve built a solid enough career.

Many organisations provide health & wellbeing perks to their employees, but where do you draw the line?

An American energy company, Chesapeake Energy, offers a full range of benefits, such as fitness classes, dermatology services, and cancer screening. But it also offers cosmetic health benefits too—botox injections and tanning services, to name a few.

Last, but by no means least, we have ‘Naked Fridays.’

This event was designed to help employees “strip away inhibitions and talk to each other more openly and honestly.”

If there’s any perk that’s likely to cause a headache for HR, it’s this one.

The wild

For the more adventurous among you, offering employees holiday benefits might be the way to go.

Take Freeborn & Peters, a Chicago-based law firm, who hold ‘luggage parties’.

These parties involve all employees coming to work with their bags packed, and four are chosen at random to go on a weekend trip to Las Vegas.

Others take a less extravagant, (but still very generous), approach.

Some firms, such as Netflix and Virgin Group now offer unlimited annual leave.

This is open to abuse, obviously, and requires a lot of trust between the employer and employee.

The wonderful

Some perks, though a little crazy, are genuinely wonderful. Here’s a few:

Paid puppy leave—how can this not bring a smile to your face?

BrewDog, a craft beer organisation, introduced this concept a couple of years ago. Employees get a week’s paid leave to help create a bond with their new pet.

Not only that, staff can bring any well-behaved pets to work with them. BrewDog aren’t alone in this, Amazon, Ticketmaster, Glassdoor, and Purina have all started to allow pets at work, or have introduced an office pet.

For those who have children of the non-furry variety, there’s a number of companies who offer childcare benefits. The most notable of these is on-site childcare.

Patagonia, an American clothing company, provides employees with children a full childcare programme. This includes teachers trained in child development, outdoor play, a secret garden, a farmer’s market, and lunches with parents.

Some of the most common perks today are focused on health & wellbeing. A lot of companies offer gym memberships and fitness classes, but others go the extra mile.

Yahoo! Has on-site fitness centres, AirBnB offers weekly yoga classes, LinkedIn offers rewards for participation in fitness classes, Pinterest has a bi-weekly running club, and Dropbox offers massage subsidies.

The ones that matter

We’ve looked at all the weird and wonderful perks some businesses offer. But what do employees truly want?

Research by Glassdoor and the Harvard Business Review found that, while many enjoyed some of the perks we’ve listed, there were more substantial benefits they would rather have.

The most common was higher pay.

To keep on top of what you should be paying your employees, it’s worth conducting regular reviews to see if your rate is competitive.

Aside from higher pay and pay rises, more employees than ever before are requesting flexible working hours.

This perk, if done right, isn’t costly, but could be hugely beneficial to the morale of your workforce.

2nd and 3rd on Glassdoor’s list of perks employees value more than a pay rise, are paid annual leave and performance bonuses.

What does all of this tell us?

It means that what employees value more than anything are the fundamental benefits they’ve come to expect:

Holiday entitlement, flexible working, bonuses, pensions, and what they’re being paid.

So long as you get these right, employees will be happy, and you can save your cryopreserving chamber for a rainy day.

Expert support

If you need support with a remuneration, or have any questions about employee benefits, speak to one of our Reward experts today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Clare Parkinson has over 20 years’ experience in the Croner Reward business. As Business Manager, Clare leads a team of Reward Consultants who specialise in the delivery of pay and grading related advice, including tailored pay benchmarking and gender pay reports.

Over the years, Clare has contributed to various industry publications on topics such as gender pay, executive remuneration and market pay trends.

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