A recovering labor market typically prompts interest in perks and special benefits, as employers scramble for that distinctive and unique something that will generate buzz, differentiate them in the hiring market and help retain their top talent in the face of increasing alternatives. Of course, it behooves all of us to remember that perks are no substitute for a positive and engaging work environment - or a fair and competitive pay package. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note what's happening out in the marketplace and to examine what insights the trends might offer.
For starters, BLR provides us with a list of the top "atypical benefits" from a survey of 500 employers. Flexible work arrangements (not really atypical any more) top the list, which also includes items like an on-site fitness center, financial planning and legal assistance. Interesting information... but I'm not struck by anything particularly extraordinary.
From there we skip over to Silicon Valley, to see what tools the tech class is using to net new computer and engineering talent. A recent New York Times article (hat tip to @RJ_FutureOfPay) details some interesting practices as well as what would appear to be a revealing new trend - at least in the hub of high technology.
New hire perks in the Valley are certainly less run-of-the-mill. Free haircuts, free iPads, permission to bring your dog to work and the ability to have personal food and drink orders taken and filled during the workday are a few of those touted in the article. But the more tellling - and compelling - perks are those geared toward tech talent that wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, not just work for him. Here is where it gets interesting: Organizations are essentially attracting top hires via a promise to prepare them for their own eventual start-up gig. For example:
Online real estate brokerage Redfin offers twice monthly classes on entrepreneurship as well as the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with the venture capitalists on the company's Board.
Wireless payment device maker Square provides a series of lessons on entrepreneurship, including how to raise venture capital, from its CEO Jack Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter.
One of Mr. Zuckerberg's own former colleagues weighs in:
“It’s less about us competing against start-ups and more against the person who wants to start their own thing,” said Dave Morin, co-founder and chief executive of Path. Mr. Morin, an early Facebook employee, knows the type because he was one of them. He tells recruits that he will help them start their own companies down the road, by advising or investing in them.
I believe there is a nugget of gold here for all of us - even those who work far outside the Valley. Looking for the next big perk or benefit? It could be that a good faith investment in your employees' skills and future career potential, whether those careers be with your organization or somewhere far beyond, is the best means to attract top talent.
Image courtesy of taxmantra.com