Since coming back after the New Year break many of my clients seem to be focussing on and asking about their benefits package – what benefits are candidates looking for? Is our benefits package in line with with our competition? And so on… However, my question is, are benefits a big influencer? And if so which benefits actually make a difference to your decision making process?
I personally am finding that in a very candidate driven market, with tens of companies fighting over one candidate, companies are having to become much more innovative with their benefits offerings in order to gain that extra bit of competitive advantage and to entice that one ‘star candidate’. Some of the more unusual and most thought provoking ideas I’ve come across are the following:
I can almost guarantee that the first benefit a candidate will ask me about is holiday andcompanies are now slowly starting to steer away from the standard answer of ’20/25 days’.
One of the most interesting approaches that I have encountered is from Netflix, with the Silicon Valley tech giants offering all salaried employees UNLIMITED holiday entitlement! This approach is purely keeping up with the modern, and very flexible, working environmentin which employees are forced to live; being constantly switched on and answering emails whether it be 9am on a Monday morning or 9:30pm on a Sunday night – therefore why worry if they are all in the same room from 9-5?
Netflix’s approach simply allows employees to take as much leave as they wish as long as they meet set targets/ output requirements. For example if a sales professional feels that they are able to hit their monthly quota only working 3 days a week then why shouldn’t they have a 4 day weekend? As long as they achieve/ overachieve their agreed target/ KPI’s!
Netflix have summed this approach up simply by stating: “We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked. Just as we don’t have a nine to five day policy, we don’t need a vacation policy.”
But, before you all start filling out Netflix job application forms and booking your flights over to the Palo Alto area… Still only 1 in 3 employees take their full holiday entitlement, according to a YouGov poll, so how important is holiday to you? And do you always use your full entitlement?
As mentioned above, withemployees becoming less 9-5 focussed and working long into the evening or being found in the office before the sun has come up, organisations are having to adapt their benefits offering accordingly. Therefore Google, Yahoo and many others now offer all 3 meals a day on site allowing their busy employees to not have to fight the lunch crowds for the last remaining tuna mayo sandwich but instead have anutritious and freshly cooked meal.
Google, in fact, offer many other more extraordinary benefits including unbelievable death/ life insurance perks. i.e. If a Google staff member was to pass away then their spouse would receive 50% of their deceased partner’s salary for 10 years as well as their children receiving$1,000 per month until age 19, or age 23 for full-time students.
With the above in mind, is it even possible for start-ups up to SMB’s to compete on the ‘benefits playing field’ with these cash rich giants?
I believe that by applying the same principles of really thinking outside the box when it comes to a benefits package that a business of any size can still create competitive advantage from their benefits offering – becoming a real employer of choice… But I’d love to hear your thoughts!
If the above has got you thinking then you may find this Forbes article of interest, showing how a few smaller organisation’s have thought innovatively about their benefits.
As mentioned, I would love to hear what benefits are important to you? And how important a company’s benefits package is to you when looking for a new job?