A ping pong table? Great! Free lunch? Sounds good! Flexible work arrangements? Wow! I haven’t found anyone who doesn’t love perks (me included). But perks have a shelf life. And, their shelf life is much shorter than you think it is. The reason? We turn perks into expectations faster than water turns into ice on a cold night. Once we expect it, the upside vanishes. (BT Dubs, if lunch is ever cancelled, we get indignant!) So, tune up the perks, but don’t expect that to be your great differentiator. They may help you get people, but they won’t help you necessarily keep them. Here is one strategy to try instead, if you are trying to retain. Start systematically investing in your team members’ professional development. Help them chart a course of professional development over the next few years. Help them think through their longer term goals. Write it all down. Then, find training opportunities that align with their goals. It should be unique to the person, never canned. Regularly, encourage them, help to guide, and celebrate their achievements. Personal and professional growth is a much more robust differentiator.
Future leader speaker and author of the book Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future. Free stuff! Get the first five chapters of my new book, an executive summary, and the Future Leader Companion Workbook here.