In recent years, employee perks have been bagging headlines, with companies going out of their way and outdoing each other in their efforts to attract and retain top talent. From free meals to gym memberships, organisations have been offering a range of benefits to their employees in order to create a more desirable work environment. In the last couple of years, joining perks have reached another level with new entrants to organisations being presented with expensive gadgets and even two-wheelers in some cases!
However, with the economic uncertainty that is currently prevailing, many companies have begun to cut back on these perks in an effort to reduce costs. This begs the question, ‘Do these fancy perks still have the same charm they once did?’
Many employees today are looking for other types of benefits, such as flexible work arrangements, mental health support, and opportunities for career development. In fact, a recent survey found that employees ranked work-life balance and flexibility as the top two factors influencing their job satisfaction, ahead of traditional perks such as free meals and gym memberships.
However, these perks cannot be called completely irrelevant either. For companies that have a physical office space and are looking to create a more collaborative work environment, providing amenities such as free meals and gym memberships can still be a valuable tool for attracting and retaining talent. However, it is important for employers to consider the changing needs and priorities of their employees, and to adapt their perk offerings accordingly.
Organisations need to be careful not to fall into the trap of using perks as a substitute for addressing deeper issues in their work culture, such as poor management or lack of growth opportunities. In these cases, flashy perks can be seen as a way to distract employees from the real issues at hand.
“Some companies have chosen to monetise their perks by converting them to cash, which may be more beneficial to employees in certain circumstances.”
Ramesh Shankar, chief joy officer, Hrishti.com
With the workforce moving into a more technical era, it is necessary for companies to update their perk offerings to appeal to the new generation entering the workforce.
However, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee benefits, as different generations and target audiences will have different preferences. Personalising and contextualising benefits to suit different groups of employees is key.
According to Ramesh Shankar, chief joy officer, Hrishti.com, perks such as gym memberships and free cab services still have value for employees, but they may not be as effective at retaining employees as they once were.
Instead, he says that employees are looking for more substantial benefits that have a real impact on their lives, such as good health insurance or learning opportunities.
Shankar admits that the pandemic has changed the way companies offer employee perks. With more employees working from home or in hybrid work arrangements, traditional perks such as transport or free meals may not be as relevant.
“Some companies have chosen to monetise their perks by converting them to cash, which may be more beneficial to employees in certain circumstances,” Shankar rightly observes.
“While it is possible that the fancy perks may provide short-term satisfaction, they are not enough to ensure long-term retention.”
Bhuvaneswar Naik, CHRO, Lentra
He suggests that companies should prioritise benefits that have a real impact on employees’ lives and rethink their perk offerings to suit changing circumstances and employee preferences.
Bhuvaneswar Naik, CHRO, Lentra, explains, “Earlier these perks were seen as a way to improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover rates. However, with the current situation and cost-consciousness, the effectiveness of these perks may have decreased. Companies are now aware that fancy perks are not enough to ensure employee retention in the long run. “
Naik strongly believes, “While it is possible that the fancy perks may provide short-term satisfaction, they are not enough to ensure long-term retention. Companies must focus on building a work culture that promotes employee well-being and fosters a sense of community and belonging.”
In conclusion, fancy perks can still be attractive to employees, but their value has certainly changed in recent years. As remote work becomes more prevalent and employees prioritise different benefits, companies need to modify the perks that they are offering to stay competitive.
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