Gone are the days of free fruit or a coffee machine making a workplace really desirable. Nowadays businesses are getting savvier with their benefits to ensure they snag top talent. Here are seven unbelievable employee perks that are getting Kiwis out of bed in the morning.
- No nine-to-five workday. With work emails on our phones and deadlines keeping many of us working at all hours both inside and outside the office, the concept of the working day as nine to five, Monday to Friday is (for many people) outdated. That’s why entertainment company Netflix decided to do away with it and give their employees “Freedom and Responsibility”. Their argument is that as long as you do the work, you don’t need to clock standard hours. They say, “There is also a no clothing policy at Netflix, but no one comes to work naked. Lesson: you don’t need policies for everything.”
- Unlimited annual leave. Inspired by Netflix’s flexible working policy, Richard Branson introduced unlimited annual leave for all Virgin employees. Because, as he pointed out, if our work hours aren’t being logged, why should our holidays be? Virgin allows all salaried staff to take time off whenever they want for as long as they want, and they don’t have to get approval or keep track of their days away. The only condition is that employees must only take leave when their team is up-to-date on projects and when their absence won’t damage the business. Here’s hoping this idea takes off!
- Your phone bill paid for. Communications service provider Spark gives its employees an awesome $150 monthly Spark Account Credit, which can be used for landline, broadband and mobile, as well as purchasing phones and other Spark products. The credit also rolls over if it’s not used in full, and can be accrued indefinitely. HR Manager Kim Fox says, “We believe that all Spark employees should also be customers of Spark and experience our services so they can come to work with a customer mindset. This helps with that, as well as being a great benefit.”
- Flexible lifestyle leave or career break. Banks are often thought of as stuffy and traditional, but they’re now among the employers offering some of the best perks around. Westpac has a long list of leave packages designed to help their employees “live their lives”, in addition to the usual annual entitlements that are required by law. The coolest in their offering is their “12 weeks of flexible lifestyle leave (either paid via purchased leave or unpaid) each year”. Meaning that if Westpac employees want to go surfing, write a novel or see the world, they have the freedom to do so.
- Personal growth sabbaticals. It’s important to keep improving yourself both professionally and personally, but it can also be hard to fit this in with your work commitments. Financial services company Deloitte gives their employees time to do this with their two amazing sabbatical programs. They offer an unpaid one month sabbatical that can be taken for any reason; and a three to six month sabbatical that “can be taken to pursue personal or professional growth opportunities”, which is paid at 40% of the employee’s base salary. It’s up to the employee what they take them for – Deloitte simply sees the sabbaticals as opportunities to “refresh and renew”.
- Free shares in the business. What’s one sure-fire way to get employees to stick around? Free money. Accounting software company Xero knows this, and comes pretty close to offering it with their Long-Term Incentive scheme, which provides all full-time and part-time workers with free shares in the business. Carrie O’Meara Malcolm, Xero’s Talent Team Manager, says the scheme rewards long-term performance. “The longer you stay with Xero, the more beneficial the incentive is and the more shares you will receive each year.”
- Free annual health check. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make a really big difference. Many of us can struggle to keep our health in check while we’re busy working, whether that’s forgetting to get regular check-ups or getting run-down from working too hard. That’s why telecommunications company Vodafone offers all permanent employees the unique but awesome benefit of a free annual health check. It screens for “heart disease and diabetes risk”, and “covers cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood glucose and body composition”, letting employees know they’re both valued and looked after.
Everyone knows that the happier employees are, the better they’re likely to perform, and these companies are definitely giving their Kiwi workers things to be happy about!
With work emails on our phones and deadlines keeping many of us working at all hours both inside and outside the office, the concept of the working day as nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday is (for many people) outdated.