When evaluating an offer from a company, candidates often immediately focus in on the base salary of the position. While starting salary is, and should continue to be, a factor in considering any reasonable offer, a strong perks and benefits package is an equally important part of a compensation package to evaluate. A salary can dictate how you are financially rewarded for your work, but a well thought out perks platform can offer a number of benefits for your employee that can allow them to be productive while still balancing their work and personal life. A progressive employee perks and benefit packages is a strategic resource in attracting and retaining talent.
Companies such as Google, Zappos, and Facebook are frequently featured as employers with the most innovative employee perks. They offer daily gourmet meals, onsite rental cars available at a whim and fully-paid sabbaticals. Every employer would love to have the resources to offer services such as those to their employees, but the reality is that working for a life science company presents certain parameters around what perks they can deal out.
In 2018, we live in a world where the typical 9 to 5 workday is constantly shifting by the emerging technologies that allow employees to communicate in different ways. Employees have email, cell phones, and the option of Skype to connect with their employers. The idea of showing up in an office every day is starting to seem like an outdated obligation. More and more companies have included the option to telecommute and work remotely as part of their benefits platform. The number of telecommuting workers has increased 115% in a decade, according to a new report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. As we develop new ways to communicate with one another, we can only expect this number to grow.
As other industries incorporate this option into their workplace benefits, it is imperative that the biopharmaceutical world offer this opportunity as well in order to stay competitive. It might seem daunting to figure out how to allow a bench scientist the option to work from home, but there are ways to make it work. If there are certain days allocated to documenting data from a specific study, a simple option would be to allow employees to input this data onto a cloud resource from the comfort of their home on those days. It might mean researching remote data entry options and ensuring that this platform would work from an employee’s Wi-Fi network, but the work put into developing this is the worth the option it offers the employee. That one day can save an employee commuting time, which would allow for more productive work for the company as well as more personal time allotted for the employee. Telecommuting can actually end up being more efficient for the employer. A study conducted by Inc.com in 2013 showcased that 53% of telecommuters worked beyond the 40-hour minimum work week. Working remotely doesn’t necessarily force employees to put more time in, but instead, they are using their time more effectively by not commuting.
The Gen Y and Millennial age groups are starting to become the core set of our workforce. These generations have grown up with emerging technologies and are accustomed to social media that connects you to others no matter where you are. Developing a work from home option with the Gen Y and Millennial workforce is a strategic way to give employees flexibility without compromising productivity.
If work from home is not an option, allowing for a flexible schedule is a feasible way to establish a perk that gives employees the immediate satisfaction of control over their agenda. Employees are able to build their work day around a tough morning or afternoon commute and have the opportunity to make it to their child’s recital that they otherwise would have missed. As communication technologies evolve and it becomes easier to stay in touch with employees outside of work, the line between personal time and work time becomes blurred. That being said, allowing employees more time to spend with their family outside of work is a benefit that should not be undervalued.
When it comes to vacation time, the U.S. can’t hold a candle to the vacation policies offered around the world. To break it down numbers-wise, CBS MoneyWatch recently reported that the average American worker received 10 paid vacation days and 6 paid holidays a year. Contrastingly, France boasts a total of 30 paid vacation and holiday days a year. While it might seem like offering 30 days off per year is a far-fetched dream for the United States, some companies have taken the offhand approach of giving their employees unlimited time off. Some may balk at the idea of an endless amount of vacation, personal and sick time; however, the companies that have enabled this policy have shown positive results. For this concept, it is more the idea of the perk than the actual execution that matters. Unlimited time off allows employees to relieve themselves of the stress of counting vacation days. They can pick and choose as they please and return to work refreshed and therefore more productive.
Recruiting and retaining top talent does not depend solely on cutting a big paycheck. The goal of any company should be employing engaged, motivated workers striving towards a common mission. Honing in on employee’s interests and including perks that align with them is an easy way to develop a progressive benefits plan. Incorporating small changes to your perks platform that relate directly to your ideal candidate demographic can go a long way in engaging your current employees as well as attracting talent.