In the current, candidate-driven marketplace, and with unemployment at its lowest for 30 years, it is important to stay ahead of the competition and attract the best talent to your organisation. One ever-popular way of doing this has been with the addition of financial and non-financial perks to sweeten the job offer deal. 

Over the last few years the trend around these incentives has moved away from purely financial ‘golden handshakes’ to more lifestyle and cultural benefits.  With 57% of people believing that benefits and perks are amongst their top considerations before accepting a job (nearly 80% say they’d prefer perks over a pay rise), it is important not to overlook this part of the hiring process.  In short, these incentives can be the reason why a candidate makes the leap of faith into your organisation.

Over the years, the perks that companies have offered have developed from the ‘standard’ package including health insurance, paid holiday, performance bonuses, paid sick leave and retirement/pension plans to more contemporary offerings such as parental leave benefits, social/personal perks and extended paid leave options.

According to Glassdoor, the most popular current job perks are:

  • Healthcare insurance (e.g., medical, dental): 40%
  • Vacation/Paid time off: 37%
  • Performance bonus: 35%
  • Paid sick days: 32%
  • Profit sharing, retirement plan and/or pension: 31%

Some companies have focused on employee perks to encourage staff to not only join the organisation, but to remain in it.  Some of the top benefits-rated companies (according to Glassdoor) provide an interesting array of perks:


One paid year for maternity and paternity leave & flexible working for returning parents


Two paid ‘Yay Days’ per year for outdoor activities


Six paid volunteer days per year (if all six are used employees receive $1,000 grant to donate to a charity of their choice)


Six months paid parental leave, plus one month of flexible work options for return-to-work parents. They also cover costs for egg freezing and fertility assistance

World Wildlife Fund            

Employees take fortnightly ‘Panda Fridays’ off


$2,000 per year to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world


$1,200 per year for student loan debt reimbursement


Four months paid parental leave, plus an additional month of part-time hours, as well as two counselling sessions to create a plan to re-enter the workplace

Burton Snowboards            

Season ski passes and “snow days” to take advantage of big snowfalls


A Kindle plus $30 a month to purchase books

A benefit for smaller businesses is that the perks can be more personal and unconventional than those offered by larger organisations. Key incentives for small businesses tend to focus on increased holidays and paid leave; flexibility for families; TV/music streaming memberships; career progression and flexibility of working environment.

If cashflow doesn’t allow for such lavish benefits, there are always the non-financial perks that still attract talent to your organisation.  The key incentives that companies can offer are free to implement, namely flexible working, recognition and flexibility.  According to the Centre for Talent Innovation (CTI), 87% of Boomers, 79% of Gen X’ers, and 89% of Millennials cite flexible working as important and 83% of Millennials and 75% of Boomers say that the freedom to choose when and where they work motivates them to give 110%.  Reports show that if the culture and business offering is attractive enough, employees are more likely to stay longer once hired.

While job perks and incentives may well attract talent through the door, it is very different offerings such as culture and values; career opportunities; business offerings and flexibility that actually make people remain in an organisation.  As Alfie Kohn wrote for the Harvard Business Review in 1993, ‘Rewards succeed at securing one thing only: temporary compliance’.

For more advice on this and more contact us.

SmartPA Partner Charlotte Frank

Charlotte has supported executives in London as a Personal Assistant for 17 years and then moved into project management within a global investment bank. Charlotte's key skills lie in core administrative duties as well as event management, project management, research, data analysis and the creation of presentations.