The perils of perk inflation

These are among the 10 most generous corporate freebies we could find, but is that really the way to hold onto employees?

by Natasha Abramson
Last Updated: 22 Aug 2019

Every business wants to recruit the best talent and, in today’s competitive jobs market, some are going to extreme - and increasingly bizarre - lengths to get it.

Job perks now being offered range from extended paternity leave (14 weeks at O2) and paid time off while moving house (Sky), to free holidays and puppy training classes (of which more below).

But is this the right way to go about attracting and retaining staff?

What keeps employees is not perks but, "culture and values, senior leadership, career opportunities and business outlook," says Joe Wiggins, director of Glassdoor, which constructed the list. So while it may be great to have an Irish pub or meditation pod in the office, it will never be enough to plaster over a toxic culture, or to convince people to stay in a dead-end job.

The question to ask is if the perks would keep a great employee who was considering leaving the company for such reasons - and Glassdoor’s research has found that compensation and benefits are ranked bottom on employee satisfaction around the world.

Still, it’s possible there might just be a good idea or two among the perks on offer. Here are some of the most generous:

- Facebook provides free food in the office for its staff, including three meals a day.

- Diageo contributes 18 per cent to employees’ pensions (impressive considering  the average total       private pension contribution is 5 per cent, according to the  ONS 2018 survey).

- Arm the semiconductor and software design company  gives employees an allowance each year "to  spend on their own passions and development", which does extend apparently to puppy training  classes.

- Travelzoo offers staff £1,000 worth of Travelzoo deals  every year.

- Babylon Health similarly gives all its staff and their families free GP consultations through the app.

- Improbable offers a ‘Life Concierge’ that helps employees with everyday things from ordering pizza to relocating.

- first direct has an onsite creche for working parents.

- Skyscanner offers ‘global mobility’ so that employees can work from any of their global offices, and allows staff to work from their home country for 15 days per year.

Image credit: PongsakornJun via getty images


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