Yoga on the office roof, bring your dog to work, lunch by a five-star chef, nap pods for a quick siesta—these playful perks have become an all too familiar approach as a means to entice the very best candidates in the market.
Consider these measures a result of an evolving work model, or a shift from corporate rigidity to one of informal fluidity, with a work setting that feels more like a lifestyle than a job. It’s a continuous battle to not only find, but retain top talent in such a competitive environment, so throw away the vanity perks and deliver what your employees really deem valuable instead: a relaxed management approach and incentive-based benefits.
Incentives will prove crucial if businesses are to compete for the top candidates, understanding that past motivations no longer strike the same chord. What today’s generation want from their working lives is not the hefty pay check, instead they strive for that invaluable element of flexibility. Thanks to ever-evolving technology, the way in which we work has become less bound to the physical office and more about the delivery of execution.
The UAE has been quick to welcome the flexible mindset of a changing culture, with the government issuing cheaper freelance visas and new categories outside of the creative field, and reducing fees for local business partnerships. The introduction of part-time work also answered the call for parents to be able to contribute outside of home life.
We are living in an age of considerable connectivity, allowing people to work remotely, learn new skills or network without leaving the house. Conquering fluidity in the workplace goes beyond where the job is done and between what hours. It is important to improve productivity and engagement at every level of business.
Research from the American Productivity Audit suggests that the cost of absenteeism in the US amounts to up to $150bn a year, with the UK not far behind at $114bn. While we cannot control people falling ill, we do know people burn out, no matter what the job. An unlimited annual leave initiative has the potential to be a game changer by reducing stress and allowing staff to be in control of when and how long they take a break.
What motivates employees to perform well is an employer investing in them, and not just financially. Employees want to be involved and have a positive impact on the business. When they have an environment where they are able to connect what they do to who they are, regardless of their title, the results can be incredibly rewarding.
A weekly brainstorming session, where no idea is off the table, gives everyone a voice to influence the business and to tap into underutilised strengths. This goes hand-in-hand with career development by offering meaningful opportunities for teams to engage in the company culture. Every day provides a new learning opportunity, and employees are encouraged to learn by doing, asking questions when they hit roadblocks, and ultimately feeling empowered when they conquer a new skill or task. While there is a no one-size-fits-all approach to securing top talent, it can no longer be about offering a package of perks. It’s about making the role, culture and environment desirable and attuned to deliver on the needs of the people who make your business a success.
Rockstar teams do not just happen, you need to work hard to find, nurture, and retain them in today’s new, flexible working landscape.
Sarah Jones is CEO of Sprii.