It's Time to Simplify the Perks at Work

It wasn't so long ago that the trend in employee benefits was skewing from basic, traditional offerings like health insurance and a 401(k) plans toward more creative, outside-the-box options. Companies were still offering their solid benefits packages, but also upping the ante by taking a page from companies like Google and Facebook and offering perks designed to enhance the "employee experience" — what it's like to be in the workplace from 9 to 5. The workforce, and the tech community, in particular, got used to perks like latte bars and beer fridges in the corporate kitchen, sleeping pods for employees to take quick power naps, free lunches, and innumerable other options designed to coax millennials and Gen Zers into the workplace.

The trend resulted from the brutally tight job market. Historic unemployment numbers meant that hiring managers were competing fiercely for top talent, who had fields upon fields of greener pastures to choose from. Companies had to get creative, rolling out the red carpet to entice the best and the brightest, hence avocado-toast Fridays and unlimited PTO.

But then hiring came to a screeching halt in Q1 2020, when a global pandemic shut down the economy worldwide. In a matter of a few months, one in four Americans were out of work, either laid off or furloughed, and the aggressive hiring tactics quickly slowed down. Even before all of the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic, trends were shifting away from more frivolous perks and benefits.

Now more than ever, it's time for organizations to simplify benefits, get back to the basics, and offer people something that really matters.

In a post-COVID world, companies have to care about substance, professional development, and security. That's the future of benefits and perks. Giving your employees the opportunity to earn verifiable, digital credentials for upskilling, learning, and growing has never been more important.

Let's look at the confluence of these two events. The most recent facet is the pandemic, which has given people on all rungs of the corporate ladder an increased need for security and stability. But it didn't start there. The trend toward more substantive benefits was already percolating a couple of years back, when millennials, who represent half of the workforce, began to think about what, exactly, they wanted from an employer. According to a recent survey by Qualtrics and Accel partners, the perks millennials wanted to see when evaluating whether to take a new job to revolve around more meaningful, secure things like professional development.

The survey found that 80% of millennials said that the opportunity for growth is the "most important quality of a company's culture." It's more important than company culture, flexible PTO or any other perks. It's clear that one of the most powerful ways you can attract and retain top employees in this economy is by offering them opportunities for professional development.

Verifiable credentials are the key element tying these trends together. Millennials need the opportunity for enhanced learning, career-pathing, and upskilling. More than 70% of millennials said, in that Qualtrics survey, that they'll leave a company in two years if they're dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed. They also revealed that 69% aspire to be leaders within the next five years.

Now, in this hiring market, it's also a matter of job security. By giving your employees the opportunity to earn verifiable digital credentials, whether they are furloughed or still on the job, you're giving them the security of knowing you are investing in their future, their career path, and their professional development.

If you're interested in learning more about offering your employees the powerful benefit of digital credentials for their upskilling, learning, and career pathing, we can answer any questions you might have. Contact us today.

Topics: Human Capital Management, Corporate Development, Hiring, Professional Development

By  Patricia Diaz