Perks that Keep People at Work: Tips for Service Businesses

In the age of the job-hopping career migrant, it’s harder and harder to get people to stay with your company. What perks can your company offer so that these people stay with you through thick and thin? How do you showcase a corporate culture that inspires the kind of loyalty that’s rarely seen these days? Salary is just one factor. The way you get great people to stay with you long enough to grow is with perks.

Many of the perks that work are tied to work-life balance. That’s special consideration for service companies looking to hire employees who can get the job done. As Sprott School of Business Professor Linda Duxbury put it, “balance is not going to be an optional discussion point pretty soon…To keep younger talent, you’re going to have to deliver on it.”

Big companies are already taking the lead in this department: Netflix has famously offered unlimited vacation to its employees for over a decade; workers lucky enough to land a job at the Walt Disney Company get free admission for all their friends and family to enjoy “the happiest place on Earth” (plus discounts on hotels and other extras); Google’s gourmet cafes and micro-kitchens aim to offer culinary delights that literally fuel innovation. The world’s most famous search engine company is particularly adept at handling the challenge of retaining long-term top-quality talent that can literally work anywhere in the world, by acknowledging that work is a huge part of their lives – and making it even more appealing than coming home.

Top talent is in demand these days – so service companies need to get creative when it comes to benefits and informal perks. Here, we can take a look at what other successful companies have rolled out to attract and retain quality people.

Free Mobile Devices for Staff

What employee isn’t going to start bragging to all their friends about the day their boss gave them a free iPad or Android tablet? It’s not just about the bragging rights – you’re also giving employees the tools they need to do their jobs. Employees in support roles at the back office can type on their keyboards from a café as easily as they can do it in the office. Field service technicians often have to do some administration as well, which can be carried out on site, on the road or at home. More and more companies across the USA are simply giving out tablets and smartphones to their employees to make sure that happens.

Companies that do this need to choose their hardware carefully, set security policies (and communicate them) if employees are intending to send company data remotely. It’s not necessary for all workers to have the same hardware, so long as it integrates with your business software – so you can also give employees a choice of a few pre-selected devices if they have a preference (which is pretty likely).

Health Benefits (and We’re not Talking About Insurance)

Yoga classes on the roof of the office? Free gym memberships? A healthy workforce is a happy, productive workforce. That’s the big idea as more companies use these ideas to get their people fit and healthy. Indeed, more than 62 percent of businesses in one survey cited productivity as their main driver in promoting health and wellness goals at the workplace. Gym memberships will provide obvious benefits for service companies, for the physically-demanding work of clearing gutters or cleaning houses. Beyond just improving focus and efficiency for front-line service delivery technicians, this strategy can work well for the deskbound set to improve their overall fitness, reducing insurance claims and sick days.

Just as it’s good to stretch before a big workout, it’s important to do a bit of preparation before enacting this policy, for fear of injuring your company. When Nelnet tried to institute policies promoting better health for their employees, the workers who were “confused about the company’s motives” and pushed back. Make sure you communicate clearly with employees that you’ve got their best interests at heart.

Drinks on the House!

We’re not necessarily talking about installing a kegerator and an open bar in the office – though booze at the workplace is making a comeback and some companies are doing just that.

Try putting out a simple coffeemaker and some roasted beans on hand, along with an assortment of teas. Have cold cans of energy drinks on hand for service techs coming in from a hot day in between deliveries. Coffee breaks boost productivity and relieve stress. They also afford an opportunity for employees to get that traditional ‘water cooler’ moment that spreads ideas informally and reinforces a team mentality.

For a very small investment in beverages and very little effort in keeping the fridge stocked, companies can foster a happy culture, without necessarily having a Silicon Valley-style cafeteria in-house.

Happy employees are loyal employees – and if they’ll stick around for the long term, that seems like a great payoff for a smile and a cup of coffee.

How are you helping employees be all that they can be, so you can grow your business? Contact us and give us the details, we’d love to publish your story here.