Last year, I wrote a blog post regarding the “perks arms race” happening in Silicon Valley. The latest weapon in this race was announced last month by Apple and Facebook – egg freezing for female employees. This move just took perks to a whole new level of personal. Not only can you take care of all your grooming needs at work via onsite hairstyling and dental care, but now you can include family planning in that ever-increasing list of benefits.
This is a prime example of the Adaptation Principle at work.
Employees of these types of companies now expect certain perks, like free food in the cafeteria, bringing their dogs to work, and impressive stock grants. It’s no longer a bonus, but rather the cost of employment. In order to offer what feels like a perk these days, companies have to be increasingly creative.
The question now is the effectiveness of offering such creative perks. Will egg freezing attract and retain top female (and male) talent? And, more importantly, will egg freezing actually increase employee engagement, or will it simply be yet another form of golden handcuffs? Based on the effectiveness of perks in the past, my suspicion lies heavily in the handcuffs option. If an employee isn’t truly engaged in her work (offering heart, hands, mind, and spirit), she may still choose to stay at the company because it’s paying for her potential future children to be put on hold. And that’s not the reason you want an employee to stay. You want an employee to stay because she is enthusiastic about the work she does, willing to go above and beyond to find creative solutions and provide value. No perk, however creative, can inspire those feelings in an employee.
Want to find creative ways to attract, retain, and engage employees? Consider the meaning in their daily work. How are they changing lives? What opportunities are available for growth and learning? Who are the people they can connect with? A company that can provide meaningful work with opportunities for growth and people with whom I can connect – now THAT’S a company I want to work for, regardless of the perks they do or don’t offer.