In a competitive labor market, organizations looking to secure and retain the highest performers will do just about anything to get an edge over the competition. Oftentimes, this means including perks—anything from free gym memberships and work-from-home days to ax-throwing classes and on-site barber shops. But do these incentives really do anything from a human-capital return on investment standpoint, or are they just a flashy waste of resources? Two experts—Jody Thompson, co-creator of the Results-Only Work Environment, and Phil Libin, CEO of startup studio All Turtles—weighed in. When asked if perks help increase productivity, Thompson stresses that what people really want is the flexibility to control their time as they’d like. Libin says well-designed benefits, however, will get an instant ROI. On the importance of perks for recruitment and retention, Thompson says the traditional benefits are enough. “Health insurance—people want that. They want retirement benefits,” she says. “Amenities and perks? If you give people complete autonomy, they'll give up all of that in a heartbeat.” Libin says he wouldn’t hire someone if the only thing they were looking for was perks, but that every successful program when he was CEO of Evernote was tied to productivity and retention.
To Perk or Not to Perk