Ping pong tables? Foosball? A beer fridge? Roving masseurs? These are some of the benefits that Silicon Valley-type startups spruik as exciting perks to attract employees.
But while trendy start-ups may have cornered the market on providing funky offices equipped with personal pastry chefs, are these perks really what your ideal candidates actually want in an NFP workplace?
EthicalJobs.com.au recently surveyed over 4000 ethical jobseekers in late 2020 and asked them what perks would actually make a difference to them when they’re comparing NFP employers.
The results showed that when it comes to satisfying for-purpose jobseekers, motivations may be quite different to employees in the corporate world.
So how can HR leaders be sure they’re providing the right work environment to attract and retain the best people?
Here are the top five perks that for-purpose jobseekers actually want from a new workplace.
1. Flexible work hours
For jobseekers looking for work in the NFP sector, flexible work hours is the top perk they’re looking for at their next job.
Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said flexible work hours were the number one most important thing for them, while only about half of them (52%) said they had flexibility with hours in their current role.
This should be great news for most NFP employers, since varying the start and finish times for staff is a perk that doesn’t cost a cent, and can be relatively easily implemented for many roles.
For most employers, implementing this should be a no-brainer – with a calendar and maybe some scheduling software, almost every NFP employer should be able to offer some sort of flexible work hours without spending a cent.
2. An option to work from home some days
The second item on the desirable perks list for ethical jobseekers was the option to work from home on some days, which 63 percent of people said was important in their next role.
Working from home is something that many staff members would have been forced to do at some point in the last 12 months – and many employees might still be doing it, with the survey showing that a full 50 percent of jobseekers have this option in their current or most recent role.
But even more of them – almost two thirds – said that it’s important that their new job also gives them this option, at least one day a week.
For employers this is more good news, since like flexible hours this shouldn’t be a significant expense – perhaps beyond the initial cost of purchasing a laptop and associated hardware to allow staff to practically work in different places.
3. A training budget & dedicated professional development days
Coming in at number three for desirability was a training budget & dedicated professional development (PD) days. 48 percent of jobseekers said this was important to them, while only a quarter of them (26 percent) said that they currently have access to this benefit.
This should be a positive thing for most NFP employers to read too. Though it does cost money, reams of research shows that – unlike spending on benefits like masseurs or free food – spending money on training staff members has benefits for your whole organisation. Not only does it improve the work pf the individual who receives the training, it also boosts your organisation’s overall impact, and also saves your organisation money in the long run:
For each dollar spent on the training there has been a positive return of about six dollars that can be attributed to the gain in knowledge and skills from the training, and the resulting behaviours, decisions and their flow on effects on the organisation and its mission success. (1)
4. An office with natural light
If you don’t already have much natural light in your office, this will be a tricky one to implement, but almost half of all jobseekers (48 percent) said this was a top perk they’re looking for in their next role, while only one third have this in their current or most recent role.
One to keep in mind next time your organisation’s management is considering a move to a new office space.
5. Paid time in lieu for extra hours
In fifth place for workplace “perks” was paid time in lieu for extra hours – which shouldn’t really be a perk, but rather an entitlement. The fact that just 15 percent of jobseekers have this benefit in their current role is a statement about the current culture of working hours in Australia.
Legally, employees should be paid for overtime that they work, but often overtime is assumed and included in employment contracts, so staff are relatively unlikely to be receiving this in most organisations.
Interestingly, this was the only one of the top five that involved a direct benefit to the employee.
Least valuable perks
Debunking the myth that everyone wants an office ping-pong table was the universally low ranking the vast majority of jobseekers gave to perks that could be categorised as “fun” office activities.
“Games in the office”, “free food or meals“, and “a coffee machine in the office” took out three of the bottom four places on the list, each attracting between six and ten percent of respondents – although there was slightly more support for “a pet-friendly office” at 15%.
Out of 25 possible perks, “games in the office” scored dead last, with just six percent of people saying this was important to them in their next role.
Having an understanding of what jobseekers are looking for in your workplace will help your NFP attract the right candidates and also avoid wasting precious budgets or donor dollars on things that won’t make much of a difference at all.
The last word: don’t forget to include whatever perks your organisation offers in your job ads. You won’t attract the best people by keeping them a secret!