Office Perks That Are Important to Top Talent

In a candidate-driven market, top talent are looking to join companies that offer the whole package. Not only do they want competitive pay, but also a dynamic benefits package and an exciting array of perks that support their overall well-being.

Organizations that recognize the most-wanted perks can be more successful at attracting the best talent and keeping them onboard long-term.

Here are the office perks that are most important to top talent, according to research from the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study:

Flexible working hours
According to the study, 38 percent of candidates want employers to emphasize work-life balance. Long gone are the days of expecting employees to work overtime, weekends and during vacation. Instead, top talent are more inclined to do their best work for an employer who respects their time.

One major way employers can express their commitment to honoring employee work-life balance is by offering flexible working arrangements as a perk. To do this, employers can allow workers to set their own hours. If business activity or the industry makes it challenging for employees to work any eight hours spread across the day, employers can instead allow workers to start their days a little earlier or later, for example, beginning work at 6 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. By giving employees more control over their time, they learn that their company recognizes and values that they have lives outside of work, in addition to also feeling a greater sense of autonomy and independence, two keys to productive workforces.

Work-from-home options
Another way employers can show they value work-life balance is by offering remote work options - some 24 percent of candidates surveyed by MRINetwork desire this perk from their companies.

There are different types of work-from-home arrangements, and companies can find the best fit for their talent and business needs. They can allow employees to telecommute one or several days a week. Working from home just a few days a week can eliminate a significant portion of the stress, time crunches and expenses that come with commutes. Research shows remote working also boosts productivity, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Or, companies can follow suit with many industry-leading organizations and allow their employees to work remotely full-time. This can be a boon for engagement and productivity because home arrangements remove in-office distractions as well as time spent commuting. A remote workforce also enables a company to attract and retain top talent, despite geographic location.

Training and continuing education programs
Continuous learning is an important quality of a skilled workforce that responds to changing needs and advancements in the industry. Your employees shouldn’t just stay in one place the entire time they work for you - they should be developed for future roles and responsibilities to help your organization remain agile. This ties in with candidates’ sentiments, with the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study finding that 31 percent of respondents want advancement opportunities at work, and 27 percent want training or continuing education.

There are many ways companies can implement training and professional development perks at their offices. They can establish leadership programs that identify top-performing employees and begin training them for upper-management roles, which helps support successful succession planning. Organizations can also host weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly workshops and seminars that cover new skills in their industry, and offer catered food or snacks to give training a fun spin. With ample, tangible opportunities to learn and grow their skills, employees can feel more confident that their employers are invested in their success, and thus feel more motivated to perform at their highest levels.

Easier commute
Crowded subway platforms, packed buses and endless stop-and-go traffic: the commute to work is a dreaded but unavoidable duty for many employees. Commutes can have a real effect on people’s health, however. A much-reported-on study from VitalityHealth found that long commutes can increase stress levels and depression rates in individuals. An additional study published in the Journal of Urban Health found that just one extra hour of commuting time can lead to a 6 percent drop in engagement with health-related activities, such as getting a good night’s sleep or exercising. Long commutes also cut into important social time with friends and family, an element that is essential to mental well-being.

Employees want their companies to respond to this public health issue by reducing their commute times - the MRINetwork 2017 Recruiter Sentiment Study found that 21 percent of candidates want employers to ease commutes. Companies can respond by offering expanded remote work options, choosing office spaces in more easily accessible locations or even organizing carpools or providing financial reimbursements for commuting costs.

The perks above - flexible hours, work-from-home options, training and professional development programs and easier commutes - are some of the most in-demand by candidates. Offer them at your company to help better recruit and retain top talent.