Employee benefits: fact or fiction?

Author: Emma Allison

The corporate world is changing. Gone are the days where employees would be happy with a round of applause as thanks for all their hard work. In recent years a rise of importance has been placed on what benefits an employer can offer to their workforce.

A huge 69% of employees have admitted that a better benefits offering would be enough to make them choose one job over another. But, get the benefits package right and 75% of employees are more likely to stay put with their current employer.

Some companies are putting this shift at the centre of their recruitment strategies, taking ‘benefits’ to bold new heights. From alligator petting zoos to cryopreservation, below are some extreme examples of employee benefits on offer today. But can you guess which are fact and which are fantasy? Put yourself to the test — take the quiz now!

Take the quiz!

Now you’ve separated the fantastic from the fraudulent, do you want to scope out some potential new workplaces based on what it is they’re offering you? Below, we explain some of the wildest real employee perks around. CVs at the ready!

  1. Cryopreservation 

If you’re really, really good at your job, chances are that your employer will want to keep you around for as long as possible. 

But what if they could keep you around forever?

Well, AI-run hedge-fund Numerai is hoping to do just that. One of their listed perks is cryopreservation, meaning that once an employee dies they will be frozen at -190°C. They’ll then be reawoken when medical developments allow, ready for another lifetime of work!

Impressively, Alcor (the cryopreservation company who will be handling this perk) can charge up to $200,000 for their services. So, if you’re hunting for the most expensive benefit, then this one is for you.

  1. Egg freezing 

On the subject of freezing, both Apple and Facebook offer ocyte-cryopreservation for their female employees. This allows them to extract their eggs and freeze them for use at a later date. Facebook, in particular, is offering up to $20,000 (£12, 570) for the procedure.

While this might initially seem like a hugely generous move, it’s come under fire by a few for bribing women to put off pregnancy and maternity leave for as long as possible. 

  1. ‘Yay’ Days

One brilliant way to ensure your employees are happy with the benefits you offer is to tailor them exactly to their interests. REI hit this nail on the head with their ‘yay’ days. 

REI offer two ‘yay’ days a year, where employees are encouraged to get out there and ‘play.’ They’re free to choose from trying a new exercise or spending it doing whatever activity they love most. 

The result? Pretty positive. In the first period of ‘yay’ days, 75% of employees gave it a go, which is sure to be a key factor in why REI has been voted one of Fortune’s best companies to work for, for the past 23 years.

  1. Lunchtime surfing

For a lot of us, nipping out to Tesco for a meal-deal (instead of bringing in last night’s leftovers, again) might be considered an exciting lunchtime. 

Not for these guys.

Patagonia encourages employees to get out and surf on their lunch breaks. Founder Yvon Chouinard stated “We have a policy that when the surf comes up, you drop work and you go surfing.” 

Not a bad policy, for a company headquartered in sunny California, but potentially less effective for those huddled up for warmth in an office on the Blackpool beachfront.

  1. Being a human guinea pig

Being a human guinea pig for your employer’s new products might sound like the premise for a horror film, but when your employer is Amazon, that changes things.

Amazon employees are frequently given fantastic new products and services to try out before the general public gets to see them. With drive-thru grocery stores already being rolled out and Amazon Prime Air in the pipeline, perhaps being a human guinea pig wouldn’t be so bad after all.

  1. Parades

Giving yourself a pat on the back is all well and good — but how about throwing yourself a whole parade to celebrate your success? This is exactly what Zappos do.

The Las Vegas clothing retailer goes all out when it comes to ensuring their employees have fun in office hours. This includes dressing in capes or tutus and even bringing in live camels to put on parades for their employees. This is all in line with Zappos’ third core value: ‘Create Fun & A Little Weirdness.’ 

Maybe more than a ‘little’ weirdness, when it comes to the camels.

  1. Onsite pub

We’ve all had those days — it’s been a long week at work and you could really use a trip to the pub. Well, at MillerCoors you can have your trip to the pub while you’re at work, without even leaving campus.

The beer brewing company features an onsite pub serving samples of — you guessed it — MillersCoors branded beer. For employees of a beer-brewing company, it’s hard to imagine anything better!

  1. Chance to get randomly sent to Las Vegas

Spontaneity might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘lawyers,’ but Freeborn and Peters are working to change that preconception.

The American law firm offers an annual ‘luggage party,’ which involves all employees bringing a packed case to the office before four names are drawn. These four people are then taken to the airport for an all-expenses-paid weekend trip in Vegas. Is it too late to get a law degree?

  1. A day off if David Attenborough dies

We’ve already covered tailoring perks to your employees’ interests, but at Forward Role, we’ve taken this to the extreme. 

One of our employees has it written into their contract that, should Sir David Attenborough tragically pass away, they can take the day off to deal with the awful news. 

This is a perk that might even be worth rolling out nationwide.

“Perks like these are a great idea, as it shows that a company supports and encourages an individual’s interests outside of the workplace,” says Brian Johnson, Managing Director at Forward Role. “It can also help to build or strengthen a relationship between employer and employee, which is great when it comes to essential factors, including trust and feedback. 

“It’s important to remember though, that focusing too much on employee benefits when your pay package or holiday offering aren’t up to scratch can be seen as a gimmick,” says Brian. “ Good benefits should always come on top of an already great remuneration package to truly be effective.”

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