the intricacies of perks

In the trying times of the current economic recession, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to juggle between keeping costs low, making it through the recession alive and keeping employees happy with perks.

A professor at Wharton School of Business defined ‘perks’ as anything in the work environment that makes the job more enjoyable for an employee. According to other Wharton professors, perks are considerably more valuable when they allow employees some autonomy (extra points if you refer to my previous blog post!) and some customization regarding their job. The more options given to employees, the better the perks are perceived.

A Robert Half survey in 2011 listed all the perks company executives already offer to employees. The top perks included extra training, flexible work hours and mentoring programs.

Professor Adam Grant of Wharton explains that throughout the generations (i.e.: Generation X, Y, Baby Boomers, etc), we ultimately want the same things from work – it’s the path to getting there that differs from person to person.

The winning combination, then, seems to be having a good relationship with one’s boss, a challenging and mentally stimulating job, as well as perks that tailor employees to their needs. However, the easiest thing companies think of during desperate times are to cut back on the ‘fluff’ – namely, perks that are granted to employees. While doing so may relieve and cut back on some of the costs in the short-term, it is most definitely the long-term kiss of death. Perks make employees feel appreciated and boosts morale. In that light, then, perks are very much a necessary part of company costs, in order to retain employees and ensure top performance.

That said, the article also introduce ways in which perks can be considered detrimental to retaining employees and inspiring top performance. When perks are utilized to attract employees to the job, employees may become arrogant and take these perks for granted.

Suffice to say, perks need to be delicately dealt with to ensure employees are continuously motivated, moral is still high and employees do not start taking such perks for granted. This must also be coupled with dealing with finding ways to stay afloat amidst this recession. I don’t know about you, but I’m fretting just thinking about the delicate balance that needs to be struck.

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