The research Liz did that formed the basis of our book The Healthy Office Revolution (THOR) was all about measuring performance after an office had been made healthier. But she also discovered that, when the healthy perks people had become used to were taken away because the research was over, people clamoured for them to be reinstated.
Liz realised that, as a recent Wired article puts it, ‘extras make business sense’. The article makes the point that with competition for the best talent increasing all the time, organisations need to raise their game when it comes to the perks they offer. So much so, that perks are becoming no longer a treat: an organisation being generous and going the extra mile. They’re on their way to being an essential part of a desirable job.
The Wired article gives the example of Rockstock, the two-day festival laid on for employees of creative agency The Octopus Group, paid sabbaticals and even, in the case of HubSpot, offering to pay for treatment to freeze the eggs of its female employees.
Many of the perks boil down the notion that, as Charles Cotton, performance and reward adviser at the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development puts it in the article, ‘For money, the concept of time being the new money is important.’
The goal is to enable the most highly valued employees to, as the CEO of Octopus Group puts it, ‘go off and do life stuff’. This, it’s hoped, will help grow loyalty and persuade employees to stick around.
As we know, offering perks makes total sense. But, if you’re not a multinational with deep pockets, inviting people to take time off - let alone offering bespoke rock festivals or egg-freezing - is probably out of the question.
But you can do the little things that employees really appreciate. You can make sure healthy snacks and drinks are regularly available. You may not be able to arrange sabbaticals but you can allow employees to take walks throughout the day or make space for simple mindfulness exercises. You can do everything in your power to make your workspace as appealing as it can be.
Because, as Liz found out, employees really appreciate your care for them. And that has a demonstrable impact on your bottom line.