To consumers, Google is famous for a lot: self-driving cars, an oddly contentious bit of headgear, and, of course, everyone’s favorite search engine (sorry, Bing; even bigger sorry, Yahoo). But in the world of employment, Google is best known for its opulent company perks, including free on-site haircuts, game rooms, laundry facilities, and a subsidized massage service, among other luxuries.
We can gawk all we want at Google’s seemingly insane smorgasbord of perks, but there’s a reason for why the tech giant spoils employees: benefits packages — including perks — are strong predictors of employee satisfaction. A survey from Aflac WorkForces found strong correlation between job satisfaction and perk satisfaction, with 68 percent of workers who are “extremely/very satisfied with their overall benefits package” reporting that they were also “extremely/very satisfies with their job.”
And satisfied employees, as we all know, turn in better work and stick around longer.
But not every company can afford to supply employees with the same extravaganza of perks as Google can, says Taro Fukuyama, CEO and founder of AnyPerk. “If you work with smaller companies, they don’t have the HR [staff] or the time or the money to negotiate these perks,” he explains. “But the companies still care about you.”
These smaller companies want to give their employees the kinds of high-quality perks that Google offers, and Fukuyama founded AnyPerk to help them do just that. “AnyPerk empowers companies to delight their employees.”
We can think of AnyPerk as a means of outsourcing perks: the company negotiates with brands like target, AMC Theatres, and the NBA to secure savings and deals. Businesses pay AnyPerk a membership fee of $10 per employee per month, and their employees gain access to the vast selection of perks that AnyPerk has negotiated.
“We’re helping those companies get access to those high-quality perks, so they can create engaged workforces like Google or Facebook,” Fukuyama says.
Picking Up the Slack for U.S. Businesses
“We realized that employee happiness is still undervalued,” Fukuyama says of the decision to start AnyPerk in the first place. He cites a sobering statistic: only 13 percent of employees go to work happy every day.
“Even though that’s happening, companies are spending so much time and effort on new hires, but not on existing hires,” Fukuyama says. The result is a higher voluntary turnover rate nationwide: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 2.5 million people quit their jobs in July of 2014. This number comes after 12 prior months of increase in the quit rate.
While higher quite rates signal a recovering economy in some ways, voluntary turnover costs individual companies a significant amount, anywhere from 30 to 400 percent of the lost employee’s annual salary. Even knowing this danger, it can be difficult for employers to catch employee discontent and make sure the workers are happy before they jump ship.
“One of the most important things for keeping employees happy and excited to come to work is for them to realize that the company recognizes them and cares about them” Fukuyama says. “We think providing access to high quality perks [helps] the employees remember on an everyday basis.”
Fukuyama says that, when employees purchase discount movie tickets or gym memberships through their companies thanks to AnyPerk, they are reminded that their employer really does care about them. “I feel like the company is paying for x percent off,” Fukuyama explains. “My company cares about me, so this is a company I want to be with for the next 5 or 10 years.”
Fukuyama notes that the outsourcing of perks may be a new concept in America, but there are two public companies in Japan that do the same thing as AnyPerk. The Tokyo-born Fukuyama drew inspiration from these companies when he decided to start AnyPerk to fill the glaring gap in American business perks. (It’s also impressive to note that Fukuyama and his AnyPerk cofounder Sunny Tsang are the only Japanese Y Combinator founders so far).
For now, AnyPerk’s main concern is helping small businesses provide major-corporation-sized perks, but Fukuyama says the company’s overall mission is promoting employee happiness in general. To that end, AnyPerk will not limit itself to simply facilitating access to perks.
“Perks are one way to start, but we will provide more solutions to help companies make their employees happy [in the future],” Fukuyama says.