10 Perks At Startups That Employees Actually Want
One of the things that attracts people to work at startups and tech companies is the perks they offer. From what are now seen as almost standard such as ping-pong tables, stock options, and free food, to the more unusual such as unlimited book allowances, office saunas, and no official hours, you’ll find most startups have something to offer over and above what you might expect from a more established company.
However, are these perks things that employees really want? Or are they simply gimmicks designed to hide sub-standard pay and rubbish financial benefits, poor work-life balance, and a way to keep you in the office longer so your startup founder can get rich off you quicker;
We asked some startup employees what they really wanted to improve their time at work and this is what they said:
An actual job description
You’ve landed a job with a fancy title like ‘Content Strategist’, ‘Growth Hacker’, or ‘Innovation Evangelist’ but don’t have anything written down that explains what the role entails. All staff want a job description.
A clear understanding of what the company does
Fintech, healthtech, regtech, proptech, insuretech. Most people don’t have a clue about what any of this means. Employees want to be able to explain to their friends and family what their company does.
Many startups rely heavily on the beer fridge to satisfy and reward their staff. Yet more of us are trying to live healthier lives so a cleaner alternative would be nice. We gave up waking up every day with a hangover when we finished university.
Being able to turn off and tune out
Ping. Slackbot reminding us to lock our screens. Ping. Offshore DevOps WhatsApp group message. Ping. 12-hour calendar alert from boss for Monday morning meeting. Please can we just switch it all off.
An understanding of how well the business is really doing
We shouldn’t have to wait for the founder to update Crunchbase to know how the company is doing. Honest internal comms is a must. Especially when things aren’t going so well. Staff don’t want to rely on the office gossip for their intel.
Presenteeism is not productive. Sometimes you need some headspace to write up your memos and work on big reports. Especially where lots of numbers are involved. This can all be done at home and is simple to organize if you’re using the cloud.
A decent pension scheme
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people at startups to discover that their employer hasn’t been paying enough pension contributions. This is more often than not down to lack of experience in HR rather than anyone trying to deceive. Auto-enrolment means you are entitled to a minimum contribution from your employer. But it would be really nice if they paid more than the minimum.
Trust and autonomy
Stop with the micromanagement. Stop breaking everything down into minute tasks that are stored in Jira. And no ticking off if you and a developer fix a simple website error that hasn’t been through the rounds of sign-offs that your CTO insists on. This is the fastest way to destroy morale.
Sports day/picnic day
A day out in a relaxed environment. Not everyone wants to go Tough Mudding, white-water rafting, horse-riding, or Bollywood dancing to to bond with colleagues. We just want a day away from our screens where we can get to know each other better.
The odd day when you just can’t face going into work but don’t want to use ‘the boiler has broken down’ excuse. See point 8. Particularly useful for those with children or other family commitments, as long as your work gets done then it shouldn’t matter that you aren’t in the office every day.
Want more like this in your inbox? Sign up below to receive news and updates.