By: Sarah Torgueman | Business  | 

Perks on Perks on Perks: Is Today’s Talent Pool Too Full for Hire?

Thought work-perks were reserved for startups? Think again. With unemployment at record lows, companies of all sizes are offering a myriad of incentives with hopes of distinguishing themselves from other businesses in an effort to attract potential employees.

Today’s talent pool is full. Candidates with impressive credentials and comprehensive skills have become scarcely available for hire as labor markets tighten. Recruiters are struggling to secure top talent because of two underlying factors. Due to record-low unemployment rates, talent has grown increasingly difficult to find, and firms have been competing with other companies to attract top talent.

To solve this problem, talent acquisition leaders have introduced employee benefits spanning from variations of company-paid health insurance plans to ping-pong and foosball tables at work with one focus at heart: incentivize the people. Whether to attract or retain top talent, workplace incentives have been incorporated into small and large companies and have permeated small and big cities across the United States.

Taking it one step further, companies have found that with glamorous employee benefits, their staffs are happier and more motivated to complete their work productively and in a timely manner. Team and company loyalty has played a distinct role in retaining talent. As SalesForce puts it, “We aim to deliver rewards that are competitive … We trust you to get the job done.”

According to Glassdoor’s 2017 employee benefits report, 57 percent of candidates said that benefits are certainly top considerations when accepting a job. As employees’ interests have become increasingly diverse, employers are working to specifically tailor their benefits to each worker. Personalized employee benefits are just a taste of the strikingly unique yet attractive perks companies are incentivizing their workforces with.

Flexibility has become an incredibly common perk companies are using to lure talented employees. Most notably, an unlimited vacation policy has allowed employees as much time off as they choose, so long as they get the job done. According to ZenPayroll CEO and co-founder Joshua Reeves, the allowance for flexible time off shows that management trusts and respects its employees and the work they do, leading them to take individual ownership of their work and perform better. Other variations of this have permitted remote work, paid time off, and extended and paid maternal and paternal time off.

Workplace health and wellness programs are another popular perk firms have added. With the desire to manage hefty medical costs and avoid rising insurance rates, companies sought to prevent health-related accidents and misfortunes in the first place with health and wellness programs. Healthy living and preventative care have been the core of programs with specific perks including reimbursed yoga classes, in-office meditation, wearable fitness trackers and nutritionist consultations. Companies like SurveyMonkey offer employee-sponsored medical, dental and vision health plans. Beyond mere productivity, increased alertness, reduced back and joint pain and weight loss have been just a few of the results reported by Fast Company magazine to be effects of workplace additions like exercise workstations and treadmill desks.

Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the non-profit Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, has encouraged companies employing Gen X and Millennials to incorporate retirement plans into their packages of perks, emphasizing these populations’ concern over their future financial security.

Additional professional development has also become an attractive company perk, whereby employers invest in training, crash courses and even MBA programs for their employees. The effect of these programs is not only improved retention rates but sharper teams as well. According to Forbes, Google has offered a free machine learning course to introduce its tech employees to machine learning fundamentals. By incorporating professional development programs to their benefits packages, employers are perceived as genuinely interested in their employees’ overall success and long-term professional growth. This has certainly enabled them to stand out.

Other bizarre yet widespread perks include bring-your-dog-to-work, veterinary pet insurance, commuter travel reimbursement, tuition assistance, adoption and fertility support, free lunch and dinner, on-site child care and haircuts. Luring talent into the office has been a challenge, but talent acquisition leaders have evidently added creativity to the mix, striving to distinguish themselves in the eyes of top talent before other hotshot global powerhouses snatch them up.