The resounding answer to this question was surprisingly NO! Perks don’t work!
Our team was able to attend a great town hall meeting at Silicon Slopes’ headquarters. The panel consisted of Motivosity’s CEO, Joe Staples; Instructure’s soon-to-be-CEO, Dan Goldsmith; Healthequity’s SVP of People, Natalie Atwood; and Christopherson Business Travel’s VP of HR & Talent, Elisa Garn. Each of these firms consider perks a trend that fall more into the marketing category than talent retention. The truth is, company culture is where you should focus. People want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves that adds value to the world. Gone are the days of showing up to work simply to get a paycheck.
Things like job satisfaction and opportunity for advancement are key to retention. While game rooms and rock climbing walls are nice, they are not why people stay at a business. They stay because they feel like their talents are fully utilized, they are being challenged and succeeding, and they are contributing to the world in a meaningful way. Scott Johnson from Motivosity offered a test for the strength of your culture: if people are willing to take a pay cut to come work for you your culture is strong and desirable. Employees crave authentic interactions with their teams, their bosses and the executives. They want meaning, not just money. When companies strive to create lasting culture, they do things outside of the box. For example, HealthEquity has a “culture club” to which employees can apply to join. The mission of the club is to keep company morale high and discuss ways to improve employee satisfaction. One of the ideas that came out of this club was to decorate their new office with artwork created by the employees. Instructure creates a strong culture by having an “openness meeting” in which every employee is given an update on what the company is doing and invited to ask questions.
So, before adjusting your budget to fit those expensive trendy perks, take a step back and look at your company culture. Do your employees feel valued? Are you channeling the passions of the talent that walks into your building every day? Do they enjoy coming to work and feel safe offering their ideas to you? If you can pinpoint places to improve here you may just be able to keep your talent in your office and money in your bank.