Find Out How Introducing Employee Perks Paid Off For These 3 Companies

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With the South African employee spending an average eight hours a day at work, it’s only logical for business owners to consider their employees’ well being.To create a healthy, happy and productive working environment, business owners should make their employees’ happiness a priority, says Liane McGowan founder of Happy Monday, a wellness company focusing on employees mental health and happiness.

“The reality is that your workforce plays a major role in the success or failure of your business. As a business owner the last thing you want is to have depressed employees who are not performing at their best,” she says.

She believes that companies should find innovative ways to show their employees that they are more than just an employee.

“If we want a staff complement that truly buys into the company, we need to buy into them, doing what is necessary to ensure their health and happiness in a pre-emptive manner,” she says.

 “The introduction of added benefits is an effective way to attract and retain staff members”

Using perks to your advantage

One of the ways which business owners can create an environment which fosters employee happiness is by introducing workplace perks.

Google, Facebook and locally,mobile communication company Vodacom are among some of the companies that have introduced various perks in an effort to promote a happy, loyal and productive workforce.

Google for example offers its employees on-site physicians and nurses, free travel insurance and assistance with studying.

Facebook and Netflix both offer their employees parental benefits, such as “unlimited” paid time off to employees during their first year as new parents. In addition to this Facebook offers free meals, and kitchens stocked with snacks.

Vodacom employees enjoy the use of a wellness centre, maternity leave, and preferential rates on a variety of services.

Not just for employees 

Research shows that its not only employees who benefit from the introduction of perks. Employers also benefit from happy employees.

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management organisation, employee benefits and perks are among the top five keys to job satisfaction. The research examined 43 aspects of job satisfaction and 37 factors directly related to employee engagement.

The research also revealed that the introduction of added benefits is an effective way to attract and retain staff members.

SME South Africa speaks to 3 business owners to find out how they are going the extra mile for their employees and the impact this has had on productivity levels and employee wellness.

Talent Africa, a human resource company 

Mosima Selekisho, director
and co-owner of Talent
Africa.

Mosima Selekisho, director and co-owner – ‘ Perks builds teams and [offers] non-financial reward across all levels of employees’

Talent Africa offers employees industry related magazines and newspapers relevant to their professional and personal development.They offer etiquette training to their staff members and Friday staff lunches.

Why did you decide to introduce perks in your company?

It builds teams and [offers] non-financial reward across all levels of employees. No one is excluded, even the security company, who are not on our payroll, we appreciate them for taking care of us and our workers.

What has the reaction been to your type of working environment from your clients and others?

Our clients are part of our Friday lunches and they enjoy themselves. They see the personal part of us. We are not too choosy about taboo topics, but discretion is always used. There is still respect for each other.

Has there been any improvement in employee productivity, loyalty and commitment since the introduction of perks in your business?

From induction, they are exposed to these perks. We have never had resistance. Our partners know our business well without breaking confidentiality. It builds mutual trust with our partners. This is our culture and we like to keep it that way.

FedGroup, an independent financial service provider 

Jorge Ramos, employee
benefits specialist at
FedGroup.

Jorge Ramos, employee benefits specialist at FedGroup – ‘There are ways in which businesses can make their employees happy’

FedGroup offers their employees financial incentives in addition to their monthly salaries –

Why did you decide to introduce perks in your company?

The reality is that if you look after your employees they will look after your business. Happy employees equal happy clients. Rewarding employees for their hard work also eliminates the risk of losing valuable staff members.

And we also realised that we were not going to wait for our employees to ask for benefits, we wanted to show them that we appreciate and recognise their hard work and dedication.

Small business owners tend to believe that it’s costly to have addition perks for their employees, but there are ways in which businesses can make their employees happy and show them that they appreciate them which won’t come with a hefty price tag.

What has the reaction been from employees to the introduction of these perks?
More experienced employees are well aware of the added benefits that an employer can offer an employee so, our benefits did not come as a surprise.

However, employees that are straight from college and are not exposed to the different benefits offered, tend to get more excited.

Has there been any improvement in employee productivity, loyalty and commitment since the introduction of perks in your business?
Yes! Our employees came to us looking for more money and offering addition benefits makes us different from our competitors.

If there are industry players who are willing to give them more they will probably leave. However, chances of them leaving are reduced by the fact that we offer something that our competition is not offering.

Missing Link, a presentation firm

Richard Mulholland, founder
of Missing Link.

Richard Mulholland, founder – “Business owners should not be introducing perks to their crew because they want something back, they should see them as culture-fuel”

Missing Link offers a fun and creative environment with atypical features such as a fireman’s pole, a graffiti wall and games such as air hockey.

Why did you decide to introduce perks in your company?

I’m not sure it was ever a conscious decision, it was more just a shoot from the hip idea. The first big one I remember was the tattoos, I think I offered it as a bonus once, then saw how much the team liked it, so just decided to make it permanent.

What has the reaction been to your type of working environment from your clients and others?

I’d say that it has been 99.9% positive, sure it’s different, but the kinds of people that we work with measure our professionalism by how we conduct ourselves. They also just find the environment to be different and refreshing, which is always a good thing.

What has the reaction been from your employees to the introduction of these perks?

For the most part  perks  have been around as long as I remember, so people that work here joined the company with them. I’d actually say for the most part they are probably very much taken for granted. It’s not that they are not appreciated, just that they are expected.

Has there been any improvement in employee productivity, loyalty and commitment since the introduction of perks in your business?

In truth, I don’t think it helps that way. As mentioned, people get used to things and take it for granted, it’s not a bad thing, it’s human nature. When most people seem to really see the value in it is when they leave, it’s why we have such a high rate of boomerang team members that leave and come back.

To me, business owners should not be introducing perks to their crew because they want something back, they should see them as culture-fuel, a tool in the entrepreneur’s toolbox that makes their company culture, and by extension brand, tangible.

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