One Benefit Too Many

By Irina Nagy

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Early finishes, free drinks and office lunches are just a selection of perks that companies have been offering over the years to keep us motivated and attract new employees. However, with more and more companies announcing cut backs to such incentives and with the value of these coming into question, are job perks as secure as we once thought?

Zizzi, Dropbox and Café Nero are just a handful of the larger blue-chips who are making significant cuts on the benefits they offer to their employees. One company that has caused a stir with this topic is John Lewis. For a number of years, the large retailer has been praised for being one of the best companies to work for in the UK, with their desired office culture that encourages summer barbecues and a daily game of table tennis. One of their biggest draws for many joining, is that employees will automatically become partners in the business. However, John Lewis recently announced that this perk will be no longer available to new employees.

The reason behind reducing these company perks differs between organisations. A number of businesses are questioning how much employees value them and what impact they have on the decision to take a role. Another obvious reason is cost, a big change this year was the national minimum wage increase, which for some companies is resulting in essential cut backs.

However, even though a number of large organisations are choosing to curb these perks, many studies state just how important benefits are to the attractiveness of a business to potential new employees. Recent studies from Glassdoor found that 57% of people believe that “benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job.” Extra holiday also features highly on the additional benefit list. A recent study by Tinypulse found that employees who feel tired and burnt out are “31% more likely to look for a new job” which suggests reducing holiday hours could potentially have a negative impact when recruiting new staff.

Perks continue to be an extremely strong factor in the decision process of starting a new job for many employees, so companies will need to be mindful of what their prospective employees value the most. How long can we expect early finishes, extra holiday and free gym memberships to come hand in hand with a job offer? Will our expectations of benefits need to change when job seeking in the future?

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