At a time when companies are struggling to recruit certain talent, established companies and start-ups alike know they have to dangle perks to lure recruits into the fold. And since free food and drink, stock options and yoga classes are no longer special, sometimes that means offering outrageous incentives.
In the 90s, I worked for a Silicon Valley start-up that offered refrigerators stocked with food and drink, Ping-Pong tables, a weekly cruise, happy hours, dry cleaning service, razor scooters for zipping around the building, casual dress and flex-time schedules.
Today, that’s barely the bottom-line offering for tech or financial sector employers. According to Forbes and CNN, many companies offer employees discounted or free massages and yoga, and perks like concierge service are no longer reserved for executives. Start-ups appear to have the most original perks, Mashable reports.
Sound too good to be true? You, too, could command these goodies if your skills are in demand.
To give you a sense of what’s out there, I scoured the web for articles about perks and aggregated them for your convenience:
- Timberland, the outdoor outfitter company, offers workers a $3,000 subsidy as a down-payment on a hybrid automobile.
- Texas-based Container Store rewards employees for safe driving, giving out $5,000 for ten years of flawless driving.
- San Francisco start-up Qwiki allows commuting employees to expense train tickets. The company will buy you a bike or cover your gas expenses.
- If you work for S.C. Johnson, the company will change the oil in your car.
- Abercrombie and Fitch offers its employees electric scooters for jetting around the corporate campus.
- Google offers employees breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for free at any of the 16 gourmet cafes on its campus.
- Biotech giant Amgen, Inc. cooks up health-conscious meals for employee children dropped off at the company daycare. Employees also enjoy 16 paid holidays a year.
- Microsoft employees can eat in one of the 14 restaurants and pubs located in a company mall replete with stores and banks.
- Silicon Valley start-up Asana provides workers with two organic home-cooked meals for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters.
Child-birth and childcare
- American Century Investments offers coverage for employee adoption expenses and fertility treatments up to $10,000 per year.
- Amgen offers on-campus Lamaze and breastfeeding classes and lactation rooms for mothers.
- Google reimburses moms $500 for takeout meals during the first three months after the child is born.
- Eli Lilly allows pregnant workers to take a paid month off before the baby’s due date.
- Deloitte allows workers to check up on their kids in daycare via webcams.
- Cliff Bar treats workers to a 40-foot bouldering wall, fitness center, dance studio, two massage rooms and a staff of certified trainers and nutritionists.
- Pixar Animation Studios employees run on indoors or outdoors paths, train in the gym or swim in the outdoor pool.
Assorted great perks
- S.C. Johnson gives retired employees lifetime memberships in its fitness center.
- Outfitter Patogonia grants two weeks of full-paid leave to employees who want to volunteer for any green non-profit organization.
- Steel processor Worthington Industries offers workers subsidized onsite haircuts for $4.
- Jam maker J.M. Smucker grants employees a 100 percent college tuition reimbursement, with no ceiling.
- Genentech sends ergonomics specialists to examine your work desk and gear to ensure you’re comfortable.
Perks especially for carvers
Snowboarders rejoice! If all your company offers is ten minutes to hustle down to the sandwich truck, you won’t believe what Burton Original Snowboard Company of Vermont offers its workers:
- Free season ski pass
- Company skate park
- Company closures when it snows two feet or more (so workers may go boarding)
- Dog-friendly office
- Company rides and ski trips.
If you could have any of these perks, which one would you choose?
Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network & Encarta, as well as tech savvy pieces for various computer schools. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.
Correction on 4/17/12: An earlier version of this post misrepresented American Century Investments’ coverage for employee adoption expenses.