How to make your own magic potion of benefits and perks

Benefits and perks that work like a charm

What exactly is a benefit and what is a perk? And which is more important for attraction and retention of great people?

At Spotify HR we’ve discussed this and agree that the difference between benefits and perks should not be the main focus –  what matters most is the overall package and employee experience.

You see, the benefits and perks you choose can make you stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive recruiting landscape. There’s a huge opportunity for this package to be a robust and compelling pillar in your employee value proposition, and to be an efficient tool for employee engagement and retention. But only if you do it right!

Here’s our experience of both pitfalls and how to create programs that will charm your employees’ socks off.

Avoid these pitfalls

It’s not wise to choose benefits and perks based only on what you think will attract the most job applications at a given time. The point is not to attract tonnes of any type of candidates – it’s about attracting the candidates that are right for your company.

So, don’t surrender to the temptation of following the latest buzz in the perk market. And don’t just copy the attention-grabbing perks of other companies. Neither will do you any favours in the long term since a haphazard approach to choosing the perks your company will offer will mean:

  • Mismatch between the candidates’ expectations and company culture
  • Watered down brand identity
  • Risk of coming across as shallow and insincere, someone who jumps on perk trains for PR value only
  • A potential administrative nightmare, as the company grows and tries to scale an offering that hasn’t been thought through

Be strong and strategic

The basics when you’re setting up your benefits and perks are to be strong and strategic, stick to your company culture, and never try to please everyone. Trying to please everyone will end in disappointing that large group who were attracted by benefits that don’t match your company culture. And that’s a waste of everyone’s time and resources. It’s a good thing to “miss out” on candidates that would have been a bad fit for your true company culture.

Communicate clearly

The benefits and perks package communications should be crystal clear.

One of the reasons recruitment has gotten tougher is because most of us are more in touch with what we want than we used to be. Candidates these days have a clear view of what’s important to them, in terms of values, benefits, and perks. This is a good thing – as long as we’re sincere about who we are as employers and what we offer. Well-informed candidates can ask themselves – is this a company that holds the same values and beliefs as I do? Will I be comfortable and can I relate to what this company prioritises?

That way both potential candidates and employees can evaluate what’s important to them. They can feel comfortable in making a choice on which benefits they could happily sacrifice and which are essential to their fulfillment and contentedness.

An added benefit (excuse the pun) is that this self-awareness is good for emotional wellbeing, motivation, and therefore productivity. Having a sense of self and for every employee to feel able to be their ‘whole-self’ at the workplace is invaluable.

Be consistent AND flexible

Yes, yes, this is a contradiction! But it makes sense when you think it through. What you want to do is build a scalable package, but make it a little personal. So, the idea is to be consistent with your core package – that’s probably the traditional benefits; what do you choose to offer in the way of insurance, pensions, employee stock options, leave, etc. Make your choices here based on data, your culture and your environment, then stand strong on this beliefs by standardising as much as possible.

Then, a variety of perks can be added to spice things up and to give a more personal touch. And it’s much simpler to make a programme of perks in a smorgasbord style, than it is to have this approach with traditional benefits. This way employees can pick perks they are really excited by to add to their core benefits package.

Just make sure the items on the smorgasbord are all on-brand and in line with your culture.

Always stay true to your company culture

Choose the benefits and perks that fit your company culture, attract the candidates you are looking to hire, and please your employees. Be consistent with the benefits and stay flexible via the perks. Communicate clearly and in accordance with your employer brand. Then sit back and watch the engagement magic happen, and be ready to collect data on the engagement with these things so you can prove the ROI back to the business.