Older Companies Offering More Startup-Style Perks

Tech companies are known for doling out generous work-life benefits that aren’t often seen in most of Corporate America. But then, most of Corporate America isn’t feeling the same pressure to find and retain employees. In the tech world, the demand for IT professionals has pushed even mature companies to emulate startups, says Randi Weitzman, regional vice president for Robert Half Technology in Sacramento, Calif.

“Some companies had to sit through the recession and figure out ways to keep their talent without giving them additional salary,” she says. “So, some began offering free gym memberships, professional development training and more days off.”

Age is a State of Mind

catered foodBusiness analytics and intelligence software provider SAS Institute, nearly 40 years old, offers its employees such perks as a one-acre sustainable farm that produces fresh produce for the company’s four cafeterias. The free-food philosophy that developed during the 1990s dot-com era has morphed into IT workers wanting not just food, but fresh, organic food.

Cisco Systems, nearly 30 years old, offers a breadth of perks that rival startups and even some of Google’s offerings. Among them are on-site car maintenance, from oil to tire changes to car washes, dry cleaning services, gym and workout facilities, free microwave popcorn, coffee and tea and childcare services, a company spokeswoman told Dice News.

Qualcomm, also nearly three decades old, offers a weekly farmers market at its two locations, according to CNN Money. Hitachi Data Systems hosts a “Dog Day” during the summer, where employees bring their pets to work for a talent show, says CNN Money.

“IT companies have to differentiate themselves to attract top talent and also retain staff,” Weitzman says. “I can’t predict what the future holds in the next five years, but with more people retiring, the competition to attract and retain talent will rise even further.”

Top Seven Perks

Here, according to RHT, are the seven perks most likely to keep employees happy.

  • Fresh Food. They want more than free junk food and are looking for nutritious goodies.
  • Professional Development. Partial reimbursement for training, or a free ride.
  • Green Approach. Subsidized purchase of eco-friendly cars and or free charging stations for electric vehicles. Also, offer free car rentals on-site.
  • Generous Family Leave. Paid family leave, free delivered meals and a stipend to spend on baby expenses.
  • On-Site Health Services. Chiropractors to acupuncture and health coaching.
  • Clean House. Free twice a month house cleaning services.
  • Travel Opportunities. A stipend of thousands of dollars and a bonus vacation week.

Not All IT Companies Change Stripes

Still, not all older companies buy into the need for perks. Texas Instruments’ Steve Lyle, director of diversity and workforce development, told Business Insider:

We don’t have crazy perks. It’s about describing the culture that we have at TI to others. Crazy perks is not part of our culture. However, we do offer competitive financial and health benefits

We also have diversity, new employee, women, Chinese and various other initiatives for our employees.

Apparently, that philosophy hasn’t hurt TI, which has consistently ranked on various Best Places to Work lists, including Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

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