Perks And Prudence – How To Motivate Employees With Appreciation And Inclusion
By now, tech startups have become a well established wrinkle in the fabric of American culture. Coupled with the incredible proliferation of technology and the sensibilities of a younger generation, innovative workplace strategies have developed as alternatives to less productive traditional models. Offering perks has been a key means of transforming the work environment and has been proven to boost productivity and maintain high levels of worker morale. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, and some points must be considered when establishing ideal workplace parameters.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
As numerous studies have shown, offering perks such as gifts, catering services and flexible vacation schedules leads to an increase in worker productivity by establishing a sense of appreciation and loyalty among workers. Though it may be argued that simply offering greater cash bonuses would be enough, gifts and office events have been proven to be an even more effective means of generating increased productivity and cohesiveness in the workplace.
In his article Perks and Productivity, Christopher Shea describes a recent study published in the American Economic Review in which groups of workers were studied to determine the effects that perks have on productivity. Against a control group which received no incentives and another which received an arbitrary cash bonus, the group that was given wrapped gifts (a $15 Thermos) was 25% more effective than the others. These results suggest that a personalized approach to offering incentives fosters more loyalty and greater morale than cold hard cash alone.
Pearls Before Swine
Naturally, the model of the perk-enhanced workplace must only be employed when staffed with personnel who are proven to be responsible and genuinely dedicated to the company’s success. Without the clear understanding that “play hard” must always be directly proportionate to “work hard,” workers may view the office as merely an extension of their social sphere and take perks to be a matter of course. Therefore, before establishing the environment, you must be certain that you can attract the kind of talent that recognizes the value of your gestures and is willing to reciprocate with outstanding results.
Creating a more enjoyable workplace should be among the goals of any business, yet when establishing perks, it is important to realize that your staff is still comprised of individuals, and that one size does not fit all. While an office-sponsored happy hour at the end of a successful work week may a great way for coworkers to develop greater camaraderie with one another, it is likely that not everyone will appreciate the event equally. Since those who choose not to participate in the event may still be among your best workers, it is important to offer alternative perks to ensure that every employee feels the sense of appreciation and inclusion as the rest.
Lead By Example
Since the vast majority of American businesses continue to employ traditional workplace policies, hot young startups who break this mold are still the exception to the rule. Given the hostile economic conditions across the country, there is a danger that progressive startups may appear frivolous and disconnected as they install air hockey tables in the workplace while much of the nation struggles simply to feed their families.
Thus, it is extremely important to demonstrate the value of perks by delivering outstanding results to consumers. With any luck, other companies may recognize the success of such practices and begin to transform the idea of the traditional American workplace.