10 Great Benefits to Send your Employer Brand Viral (Part 1)

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One thumb up becomes three and then many as your popularity grows It is hard to imagine a more challenging time for recruiters and employers trying to attract top talent. This year’s Global Talent Shortage survey by Manpower  Group has shown that 35 percent of employers are having difficulty finding top talent – and figures have been steadily increasing over the past four years. So, what can employers do to both attract and close the deal on top applicants?

In the old days it was easy, you just gave them the standard pensions and health package and people were happy; but the world and candidates are more lifestyle orientated, self determining and therefore more choosy. You now need to do a little more; you need to focus on developing a distinctive employee benefits offering that distinguishes them from their peers, boosts and illuminates your brand and helps to close deals on top applicants.

Why stop there? Why not actually develop a suit of benefits that are so distinctive and alluring that people want to talk about them and share them and so they effectively market themselves and your employer brand in the process?

We know it works, just ask Google; the company has developed a suit of legendary benefits, many of which we all know about and blog about, that has helped it to again become the most desirable employer brand in the world. Below you can find the first 5 of 10 benefits that can send your employer brand viral:

1. Free Gourmet Lunches: We all like food. Google offers free gourmet lunches to their staff, morning, noon and night – and it is perhaps one of their most employer brand viral benefits. It certainly gets tongues wagging. Why not emulate this at your business? I realize mentioning this idea to the CFO may result in the door being slammed in your face, but there may be a strong business case if you look closely enough. Employees should have a better diet and be healthier, have less sick days (quantifiable and measurable), may be more satisfied and loyal (measurable) and will, of course, enthusiastically market your employer brand to their families and networks. Free gourmet lunches are a bold benefit, but don’t discount them; do the math and see if it can work for you. Perhaps you could trial it in a state/region with staff attraction issues. Perhaps just offer it on Monday’s (under a Happy Monday’s initiative).

2. Concierge Services:This is still a rare but growing benefit. In 1999, it was offered by just 4 percent of employers and a recent count by the Human Resources Management survey has shown it has risen to 15 percent. Apparently, the recession led to a surge in inquiries for this benefit. It’s an intriguing benefit with a value busy executives who are used to traveling will be well aware of.  In a company, concierge services can effectively act as a pool PA, booking holidays and restaurants, arranging a plumber, dry cleaner, hairdresser or taxi, buying gifts, you name it. It is a perfect antidote for the busy executive struggling to handle work-life balance. How can it be funded? Why not scrap dedicated personal assistants for the elite few and replace them with a professional, in-house executive concierge service for all. This is a very attractive perk that users will brag about and make those who don’t have it envious.

3. Summer Half-Day Fridays:According to CareerBuilder’s Most Wanted Perk’s Survey 2013, half day Fridays was the perk workers wanted the most (40%), by some clear distance. Yet, a study by the ASE suggests that only 12 percent of employers offer a summer half0day Friday policy. This used to be standard practice in the old days in many countries, so it’s kind of a retro perk. It doesn’t have to be financially expensive as you can just roll the lost hours into four days, which might be an extra hour a day. Or think about just doing it once a month. This is a great perk, which will get tongues wagging and one your employees will love sharing to make their network, family and friends green with envy. It’s currently offered by Mattel, the world’s largest toymaker.

4. Extreme Flexible Working:Flexible working perks are no longer “newsworthy” perks; they are expected and tongues are more likely to wag if you don’t have this, rather than if you do. So, if you want to go the extra mile, consider extreme flexible working where employees can pretty much work the hours they want. This is also a retro perk in certain ways as this kind of working has been around for many years in the form of flextime. Of course, we don’t want anarchy, so there are some rules, such as core working hours during which they must be present. This perk may not work as well in customer-intensive roles.

5. Housekeeping services:This is another low cost, distinctive perk that employees will love sharing with their friends so they are green with envy. How is this implemented? Look at the example of Akraya, an IT staffing company in California. They send a professional cleaner to each employee’s residences every two weeks for free. What’s the catch? There’s no catch really. Employees get piece of mind and a boost every two weeks as they return to a clean home. Costs for this kind of service will be negligible. Perhaps two or three hours a month per employee.

Look out for part of two of this article to discover the next five employer branding tips. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your ideas about great perks to send your employer brand viral.



By Kazim Ladimeji