Are employers choosing wisely when selecting workplace perks to attract top talent?

01 October 2019

This article was featured in the October 2019 issue of the magazine. 

Chieu Cao, co-founder of Perkbox, reveals latest research, discusses the findings, and offers advice

From pool tables to unlimited holidays, private healthcare and dog-friendly offices, it’s hard to know where to begin when providing perks to engage with your staff. What’s more, it’s harder to figure out what perks work best to attract top talent in the first place. So, what’s the current state of affairs? 

Are employers doing a good job in choosing perks to promote in their job specs or are they totally missing the mark? Let’s explore together in this piece, using Perkbox’s latest research ( carried out with TalentPool.


The good news: alignment exists 

When it comes to certain perks, employers and employees are certainly on the same wavelength to a great extent. For example, our research found the top four perks favoured by employees were all linked to social events – with extracurricular clubs such as book clubs ranking in first place, followed by pool table, ping pong table and office sports teams. For employers, on the other hand, social events were the fourth most listed perk in the job descriptions studied. 

Similarly, flexible working also ranked in a comparable position in both employer job specs (eighth place) and employee preferences (eleventh place). 

To ensure perks remain aligned with employees, setting up a working group in your office who meet regularly to discuss the perks that are preferred by employees can be a good idea. This group can serve to guide what perks are promoted in your job specs to attract the top talent. 

At Perkbox we call this team our ‘culture guardians’ ( – a group of people from different departments across the company who get together on a monthly basis to discuss how to enrich and maintain our company culture.


Perks that work 

It’s clear that social activities are a perk promoted by employers, but there is scope to do a lot more, especially when they resonate so well with employees. Not only to encourage people to join your business but to provide a chance for employees to build on their soft skills and strengthen the bonds between teams who traditionally may not work together. 

Perhaps we can take some inspiration from: Dropbox, which have weekly ‘company happy hours’, in addition to board game nights, ping pong, console gaming rooms and pool; or Bain & Company, which since 1987, have been hosting the ‘Bain World Cup’ - a series of sporting events, from touch rugby and volleyball to six-a-side football and eleven-a-side football that takes place every year.

If you’re creative, the perks you provide can become a key differentiator from other competitors and really help your company stand-out from the crowd in the battle for talent.


The flip side: the perks that aren’t as in demand

Interestingly, there is a disconnect between employers and employees when it came to certain perks such as medical health insurance and Friday-drinks.

Private healthcare was highly promoted by employers whose jobs specs were analysed, coming in third place. However, it only ranked fifteenth in the list of top employee preferences. Similarly, Friday-drinks only came in 38th place for employees but were advertised in 958 (41%) of the job descriptions studied. This comes back to communication, which is key to ensure the perks being promoted are those that employees appreciate and utilise the most. Otherwise, it’s a waste of both time and money. 



There is no magic formula surrounding workplace experience, it’s simply dictated by those around you. 

  • Creativity and communication are the key ingredients to success. 

  • Just like in the case of employees, every company is different and perks should be tailored accordingly.

  • Don’t try to copy others, don’t try and identify perks in silos, just listen and action feedback from your people. Get this simple step right, and things will most likely flow naturally from there.