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The concept of perks at the office is a hotly debated topic these days, not only related to whether they are helpful or wasteful, but also how far a company should go to show employee appreciation. It’s just one of the many employment benefits, right? So what’s the big deal?

You can debate perks and benefits all you want, but a Glassdoor Employee Confidence Survey indicates that 60% of employees say that benefits and perks are important considerations when they decide whether to accept a job offer. You could say that employees are just spoiled and that they expect too much from a company, but maybe we should really understand what a perk at work is, and why it’s so important. 

What is a Perk? Why is it Important?  

A perk, also known as a perquisite, is a special benefit or privilege. It’s that little extra that an employer isn’t required to provide by law, but which makes life just a little bit nicer, easier, or more fun. Yes, it’s just one of the employment benefits you can offer, but there’s more to it than that. The idea of perks became legendary when stories started filtering out from Google or Twitter or SAS about their professional chef, bi-weekly chair massages, haircuts, and yoga classes. And, yes, most companies would never be able to go that far, but the idea is that those perks go beyond standard employment benefits. The companies make it perfectly clear how much they value their employees. 

Perks at work don’t have to be convoluted or expensive, though. The real purpose of a perk is as a recruitment and retention tool. Increasing competition, combine with the hard costs associated with onboarding a new employee. Those onboarding costs alone can quickly add up to $4,000+ per employee just to get them up to speed. So, you’re investing in the future of your company and in the productive performance of your employee by demonstrating your appreciation.   

Perks at Work: Beyond Helpful to Productivity & Team Building

There will always be some debate related to the idea of perks at work. Are they an employee benefit? Are they worth it? Studies show that employees often value the low-cost perks the most. It’s those little reminders and rewards that really demonstrate to employees a level of appreciation.

It can be something as simple as a free coffee, free or discounted gym membership, tuition assistance, free or discounted day-care services, gift cards and snacks to free or discounted movie passes or memberships.

Perks at work go beyond the standard employee benefits package to demonstrate a level of emotional intelligence, forethought and communication. The idea of perks is that you have thought through what your employees need, what they want, and what would make them happier and more productive at work.

Then, you’ve taken the next step, by developing and deploying solutions that not only meet those needs and wants, but which may also contribute to a healthier and happier work environment. There’s something else that perks may do… They can help you build your team and make each member feel more like a family.