In any industry, you always have to be mindful of your competitors. It’s no good having cutting edge technology and a fancy office if your rivals are constantly snaffling up all the new talent. For the biggest companies, often their brand is enough of a draw to entice new talent. The prestige of working for Apple or Google can swing the balance all on its own. But for most businesses there’s a vital need to offer things above and beyond just the basic expectations of a job.
And what are those expectations? Well, the answer to that has changed, even in just the last decade or so. In general, competition is stronger than ever before but even more so in the tech industry, where the environment is more ferociously competitive than in almost any other field. With fewer candidates for more positions, every company has to maximise their ability to attract the best of the young and upcoming talent, to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
And it’s not enough just to attract new employees, you also have to keep them! According to this article on stackoverflow, about 75% of developers are either actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities. Having benefits others don’t could tip the balance in your favour. 10 years ago the ability to work from home would’ve been considered a desirable luxury of any job, but nowadays, remote working is seen as almost a prerequisite for a lot of jobs in the digital sector. If you want to attract the best you need to be astute and creative and offer things other companies don’t.
So what kind of perks are out there? It’s a good question, and we’ve spoken with the tech companies sponsoring JOTB22 to get an idea of what you’re competing with.
Working 9 To 5 – Remote Working, Flexibility & Growth
Let’s start with the most obvious benefits a company can provide – those directly related to the job. Half of the companies we spoke to offered remote working as a benefit, and it’s hardly surprising - as stated in this article, before covid an average of 5% of office workers worked from home, but the new normal is likely to settle at between 20-30%. And in the tech sector that number will probably be even higher, so offering this option is very important.
However, as reported by stackoverflow in the above article when it comes to work-related priorities for developers, flexibility and opportunities to learn are the top reasons (aside from salary) that developers consider leaving their current job. And when developers are considering staying at their current job, flexibility at work trumps everything! 56% of developers said they would be turned off if they were tied to specific working hours, and 50% said they find companies unappealing if required to go into an office. This is reflected in the data we obtained from the companies we spoke to, with more than half including flexible working hours in their offers and almost all of them promising opportunities to grow. In fact, different companies took different approaches to personal growth and development. Some offered internal and external training opportunities directly, while others set aside a certain amount per year for each employee to spend how they liked on training, books or events.
(I Can't Get No) Job Satisfaction – Technology and Task Methodology
So being able to work when and where you want is clearly important, but let’s not forget about the actual work itself. The tools and methods used at work is something that’s taken into consideration by several companies who make sure to give prominence to their cutting edge tech and agile environments. Other businesses also promise dynamic and challenging work, which makes sense; who doesn’t want to enjoy and feel challenged by their work? And one firm highlights how their employees are able to see the direct impact of their work, on a platform used by millions.
Everything In Its Right Place – Office Location & Facilities
As important as remote working is, plenty of people still work from an office. So what can you do to make sure your office is enticing to potential employees? Well one thing that is attractive is to have the office in an excellent city centre location. By having your company situated in the heart of a thriving metropolis you’re sending out a statement about what type of firm you are. But space is at a premium and location isn’t the only thing that can make your office stand out.
For a start, less central offices can often offer free or reduced cost parking for their employees. And when you get into the actual office itself there are a whole bunch of extras you might find. In one office there are several games consoles set-up in a lounge area. Some companies have a ping pong table for their employees to use, while others have pool tables. Whatever the specifics, the underlying idea is clear – giving something tangible to help their employees unwind.
A couple of employees take a break to enjoy one of their office perks (Photo by Plytix Imagery)
Food For Thought – Breakfast, Lunch & Snacks
And the in-office bonuses don’t stop at games. Access to food in one way or another is a staple of most offices now. Most companies we spoke to had a kitchen in the office stocked with snacks, one also holds a free team breakfast every Friday, while another even provides catered lunches most days. And a number of other companies also give out restaurant vouchers too as a perk.
Something In the Air – The Working Environment
Something less tangible but equally as important is the atmosphere within an office. It’s no good having things like pool tables and communal games at the office if you don’t like being there. Half of the companies we contacted specifically mentioned a welcoming culture as an incentive to work there, while almost all of them pointed to some form of diversity and inclusion in their philosophy. One company we surveyed is made up of over 35
nationalities, speaking almost 30 languages With the world smaller than ever now, it’s crucially important that your place of work be a friendly and diverse environment which pays more than just lip service to inclusivity.
Out of Office – Extracurricular Activities
Something that can help foster a communal atmosphere are extracurricular activities. Several enterprises we spoke to had at least one type of subsidised class provided by them. For some it’s English or Spanish classes for those who want to improve their second language; in others there are more sports oriented classes such as yoga, or health related like physio. Not to mention discounted gym memberships, which are offered at the majority of businesses we asked.
And it’s not just physical health that’s taken into consideration – plenty of offices offer free access to mental health apps such as coach hub, cigna, unmind and headspace. Some go even further, providing counselling sessions for those who need them and holding mental health awareness events.
As well as regular classes, at least half of those we spoke to put emphasis on team building events and excursions as part of the fabric of their working culture. These are all encouraging aspects of a company for potential new hires, and as a bonus they can help with inter departmental socialising and creating a warm and open workplace.
All Work & No Play… - Holidays & Time Off
It’s all well and good having fun office resources and a great working environment, but few would argue that a day off is better than even the best office. Obviously national and local holidays are included in contracts, but some businesses take it even further. For example, one corporation ‘bridges’ any holidays that fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, offering the Monday or Friday off too, while others allow every employee to take their birthday as an extra unpaid holiday. One also gives a 50€ stipend to a restaurant for a birthday meal out on top of the day off. There is even a cumulative holiday scheme in effect where for every 4 years at the company, each employee gets 6 weeks of paid leave. Additionally, numerous offices also extend holidays to include unofficial days such as Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.
When it comes to the working timetable, there is a lot of variety. While some companies still operate under the traditional 5 day working week, others are more flexible; some offer Friday as a half day, one includes one Friday every month as a holiday while others go further and simply have a 4 day working week. In one or two cases, unlimited holiday is given to all employees, trusting in their staff to judge for themselves how to manage their time and decide when and how much holiday they need.
One area that has seen progress in recent years is around parental leave – an increasing number of companies are offering extended leave to both mothers and fathers, ranging from 3 -9 months time off. And a few even offer services to help with IVF treatment and egg freezing, as well as internal support systems for those looking to adopt
Cash Rules Everything Around Me – Salaries & Expenses
Of course, when you get right down to it, money is always an important consideration and the majority of those we spoke to make sure to list a competitive salary on their job offers. However, there are more ways to offer financial compensation – 3 of the companies we surveyed have additional flexible compensation as part of their package, such as covering travel expenses, providing medical insurance, giving out vouchers for local restaurants or giving aid to nursery programmes. These types of bonuses can give an extra incentive for new employees to choose your company over others. In fact, 2 of the companies also offered a relocation package for those who would have to move to accept a job offer, providing not just financial support but practical help in finding a home and settling in a new city.
Additionally, it’s fairly common for employees who have the option of working remotely to be given a stipend to pay for any equipment and technology they might need to work effectively from home. From the companies we spoke to this ranged anywhere from 500€ up to 1000€ per year. And financial remuneration isn’t limited to immediate hard cash; one firm have an enhanced pension scheme in effect as a perk, while a few companies also offer the option of getting bonuses in stocks and shares of the company they work for. It might not be for everybody, but the potential for greater gains sometime down the road in place of immediate financial gratification is a great option to offer.
At The End Of The Day
As you can see, there are a variety of ways you can make your company attractive. First and most obviously, make sure you’re paying competitive salaries because as they say, money makes the world go round. Make sure they’re challenged in the work they’re doing, with opportunities for growth and flexibility in their hours and location. In the office itself you should ensure the atmosphere is open and inviting, and you can encourage this by keeping your employees engaged and entertained, well fed and with a variety of optional activities on offer. Don’t neglect the mental health of your employees, a happy mind is a healthy one so ensure they have all the support they might need. Mix it up with team-building events and excursions to help foster a team spirit and make sure you’re offering some kind of bonus holidays, because your competitors almost certainly will be. And any schemes you operate which support families will always come across well. Ultimately you want your employees to feel valued and happy, and the more benefits you can offer, especially ones that others don’t, the more successful you’ll be.
Full List of Perks
Co-Organiser of J On The Beach