Free Online Talk: Why Perks Don’t Work

How do you create a happy workplace?

For too many workplaces, the answer to that question begins and ends with perks. The list of possible perks that I have seen workplaces offer is nearly endless with things like gyms, massages, snacks, team events, nap pods, pizza parties, team building events, discount deals and yoga classes.

These things can cost a lot of money and take a lot of time to organize so it really is a shame that they do not work. At all!

In fact, when companies get them wrong, they often backfire and make employees less happy and motivated.

In this free webinar I talked about:

  • Why most perks are doomed to fail from the outset
  • How perks sometimes backfire and make things worse
  • Why companies are so focused on them even though they don’t work
  • How to tell if your workplace’s perks are worth it
  • How to design perks that actually impact employees positively

One thought on “Free Online Talk: Why Perks Don’t Work”

  1. Where I work we have some of these things. The two biggest ones are the free gym and the free soda fountain.

    The gym used to cost $10/month. It was great for me when I went to the office as I could either spend an hour working out after my shift and leave the building after traffic thinned out or I could leave immediately after my shift and sit in traffic, burning more than the cost in gas while idling and only working out my jaw yelling at the maniacs on the road. They ended up making it free after the office re-opened from being closed after the first major COVID wave. The free soda fountain was nice as you didn’t have to carry a drink with your lunch, buy something, or drink a whole soda if you didn’t want to.

    This year I was treated to a nice lunch paid for by the company on their dime to reward me for not missing any unscheduled time last year. I knew that one of our departments was being overwhelmed and asked if they were getting any relief. I was told that the last two groups of new hired brought in to replace retirees and firings were horrible and they had a retention rate of 20% after a short period. This is astoundingly bad and we have people that have been there since before I was born so I started looking at what was going on.

    I knew it wasn’t the pay. Employees in that position make nearly 50% over what someone in a comparable position will at another company in the same area. It’s a union job, raises are guaranteed and bonuses are very generous, as are medical benefits and time off. Aside from the gym and soda you don’t have a lot of other perks aside from a cup or notepad with the company logo on it you get every so often; they may not amount to much but at least they’re useful.

    This issue turned out to be people. My boss is a saint as long as you don’t do anything egregiously dumb or put anybody in danger but other managers are not the same way. Some people seem to take a perverse pleasure in turning anybody in for the smallest slight while making themselves as invisible as they can to those around them. To top that off you have the customers who we can’t fire as a regulated service and they will call you some of the most vile things you will ever hear. You can’t dump them off the phones until they play nicely with everybody and they are often mad at situations beyond the control of anybody but themselves but will lay blame everywhere else but at their own feet. The customers get more and more brazen in their mistreatment of the employees because they don’t have to make a public spectacle and nobody has to hear their wrath but the guy taking the call. No employee wants to put up with people doing that to them for 8 hours a day, which means they leave, which means the customer waits longer for someone, which makes them more frustrated, which they take out on the person that needs the job.

    You can toss me all the free gym time I can use, load me up with caffeine, and give me pens until they’re coming out of my ears but if you can’t stop me from being mistreated it’s not worth it to stick around. Protect your employees and let them shine and they will protect your bottom line; hang them out to dry and you’re left with the people that have nothing else.

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