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What are meaningful ‘perks’ for your employees?

By December 12, 2018 December 18th, 2018 On Culture and Values

We’ve all heard the Silicon valley stories about the best ‘perks’ for Google, Facebook and the like. And as an Australian business (of any size), you may think it’s impossible to compete.

Even more likely, you have amazing benefits but because they don’t replicate those of Google, you don’t realise they exist. Untapped, pure gold.

The reality is, there are perks and there are perks. The best ones are sustainable and long term, with your employee’s best interests at heart. We heard a lot about this near Silicon Valley itself, at the 2018 Culture First conference.

Foos and Booze Aren’t Everything


No competition sized foosball table or craft beer on tap? Don’t despair. The new wave of ‘perks’ are often non monetary and completely accessible. Even better, they revolve around values and culture so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Five examples


“Real (no questions asked) flexible work”

This doesn’t mean contacting your employees at 8am and 5pm ‘just to check’ if they’re about. It means you’ve made great hires based on trust and you also have the right reward based systems to ensure they are individually driven to be productive.

This is easier said than done. I remember getting my head around flexible work in a management position and thinking it was crazy, pulling the stunts of above. How do you assure productivity? Turns out it didn’t matter, as the employees were required to meet so many conditions for a flexible day that nobody could be bothered.

Whilst many reports say 80% of Australian businesses now have fully flexible work, it’s more like 20%. It’s therefore still a unique perk to show complete trust and attract a wider range of staff. No questions asked!

A culture of radical ‘sharing’

Did you know that with all the paid courses and training options around, people still learn more ‘on the job’ than by the book? By a landslide.

If you hire people based on their thirst to collaborate and pass over knowledge to their colleagues, you’ll foster a more mature culture where people work together on a flat level to solve a problem in your business.

Despite popular opinion, you’re not responsible for your employee’s learning and development – they are. But you can make it an attractive and appealing space for them to thrive. If you’re interested in this, read Patty McCord’s ‘Powerful’ – it will blow your mind.


As we know, it’s the one thing we can never get back. But what if you could give it? Surely that would be valuable.

There’s a wonderful book by the founders of Base Camp; “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work”. It is a profound listen or read for an endlessly busy small business owner or founder and it will make you rethink the culture you’re cultivating just by being your “busy self”.

If you embrace  productivity and hold off on those 11pm email rounds, you’ll be offering them the time and space to pursue personal endeavours and pleasures. And that comes down to slick operations, cutting down unnecessary meetings and practices and just getting sh*t done for a maximum 8 hours per day.

You know who you are

By ‘you’, that’s the culmination of everybody in your business. It doesn’t have to be flashy or exciting, it just needs to be honest!

Recently I read a great piece from Culture Amp’s CEO, Didier – “Why our CEO wrote a user guide (to himself)” . Knowing how to work with every individual for the best result, is a priceless idea. Are they verbal or visual learners, do they need quiet or maximum noise? 

Most of all, it helps to find commonalities. Writing a radically transparent job advertisement stating “we’re a company of around 70% extroverts but we’re not that interested in work drinks, on the whole we prefer to spend time with our family” – speaks volumes to a potential employee. A much more useful and informative insight than ”half day off on your birthday!”

Your feedback and reward systems are completely defined

Ever started a sales role without a commission plan? Or three months into a job with no idea of your performance? Don’t be ‘that’ employer. Be the one where your employees always know what to expect from you, even if the business ops or market plans are changed every day.

It may seem reward seeking, but really it’s quite fair for an employee to understand your approach to feedback and performance incentives. Building that foundation is imperative to avoid misunderstandings.

Do you reward by public recognition, or giving somebody a great project or client? Maybe you do weekly sit-downs (not always a great option, SO formal). Or perhaps you’ll mosey on without a peep until your new employee brings up an issue or asks for feedback. None of these are inherently wrong “if” your employee knows where you’re at.

Can money buy it?


We’re constantly seeing employees and candidates turn down money in favour of these considered benefits, assigning them real monetary value for their careers and lifestyles. If you’d like to do the sustainable perk test, ask yourself if money can buy it.

If you can’t? It’s likely you’re onto a winner. If you can? It could still be good, but it’s not a sustainable point of difference. Your competitor can offer it too.

But don’t throw away your table tennis table or beer fridge. They’re nice to have, when your other ducks are in a row.


GlassyAnt is a human centred hiring platform aiming to make hiring an essential, accessible service. We affordably fill the gaps for small businesses and start ups without a Recruiter, saving you unnecessary dollars, subscriptions and time. See our Flexible Recruitment options for more information or a free bookable consult.



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