You can’t have failed to miss that 2016 has been the year of the perk. Whilst a third of British workers dislike their work environment, a survey from Thomsons Benefits shows that the global employers amongst us spend a significant amount on benefits, on average 31 percent of employee salary. From the classic Silicon Valley perks we all know about through to the feed down into other businesses like LinkedIn and UKFast, there’s never been a time when more companies are spending on perks – or at least being seen to – and improving engagement with benefits is no longer the remit of just the largest employers.

But is this a growing trend or something that’s reaching its peak?

We spoke to Luke Reed, MD of Twisted Lemon who thinks it’s only just getting started. Twisted Lemon are the UK’s first staff engagement company who have seen a 500% increase in revenue this year alone.

“We’re seeing unprecedented growth and a real interest. I started the business after selling my recruitment company. There I learned first hand that attracting staff was a real challenge. There are 20,000- recruitment companies in the UK all competing for great employees – I would find that a graduate would have 8 businesses wanting to hire them. At the same time, I’d see people replacing their new hires year in year out, spending thousands of pounds. It made me wonder why the best companies weren’t focusing on attraction – and then securing their investment with retention. I set up Twisted Lemon to offer activities that could be done on site from £5 to £35 each, all designed to be done with a greater frequency than traditional things like go karting. Whilst we are also offering off-site activities due to increased demand, the initial idea behind the business was to keep people in the office, boosting their morale, whilst also keeping their activity levels high.”

Perks are certainly coming into their own. But studies show that just implementing these benefits may not be enough and that communicating the actual value could be the key to connecting perks with employees. The Thomsons Benefit study showed that the perceived value of benefits increases by over 20 percent if employees receive total reward statements, demonstrating the full value of their rewards they have received.

Luke continues

“It’s key to show employees they are valued, but at the same time it doesn’t mean a few perks on their own are going to change the whole culture, it needs to be a real commitment to change in all areas of the business- spending at least near the amount you do on perks for clients and customers on the employees who make the business work.”

But are perks a distraction from work, and if so, do the benefits (increased engagement, raised morale) combat against the potential negative effects on business profits? Whilst your gut might make you want to slice away the ‘fat’ of things that can’t be measured in black and white, consider these fast company findings:

“As our meta-analysis of decades of research shows, people perform best when they enjoy the work itself, find purpose in the impact of their work, and see the potential for future opportunities… these motives are so powerful that they account for an incredible 28% increase in sales revenue among frontline sales employees.”

Better sales, better motivation, increased retention and a visible difference – it looks like perks as part of a company investment into culture is here to stay.

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