Do Trendy Benefits and Perks Keep Employees Engaged for the Long Haul?

The demand for talent is real, and companies are thinking outside of the box to entice talent to join their team, but in the end, does it really help? We’ve all seen them, paid pet insurance, free lunches, boutique fitness classes, on-site childcare (this one may entice me to stay!) but what do all these “extras” that can be used to fatten up the offer letter really mean for the overall engagement of an employee and their long-term employment prospects?

These types of perks help your employees feel “satisfied” but satisfied is very different from engaged. In doing a little research, I ran across several other articles that talk about this and how satisfied employees do not equate to engaged employees. Satisfied employees are comfortable. Engaged employees are energized employees. Which would you prefer, comfortable or energized?

It’s not to say that these fun benefits aren’t great to have. However, if your goal in offering them is to jazz up your employees and create more engagement, you are probably barking up the wrong tree. At the end of the day you want engaged employees. Everyone does, and there’s no black and white method that is going to 100% ensure all your employees are engaged, but here’s a few tips that can get you on the right path of increased employee engagement.


Communication can mean a whole host of things, but employees want to be well informed. Why were decisions made? Were there opportunities for their ideas to be heard? Do they have a voice? Communication is a two-way street. It’s not only transparency as to what the bosses are doing and why that policy was implemented, but also the feeling that employees have the opportunity to be a part of decisions, even if it’s something as minor as voting to wear jeans on Fridays.

Understanding the Vision

Where is the company going and how does my job help us succeed? Many employees don’t feel like their job really has a purpose or meaning that truly impacts the success of the company (even though it should, or they wouldn’t be employees) but again, it goes back to how that’s communicated. Make sure everyone understands how their job does impact the company’s success, no matter how large or small, and celebrate those victories.

Road Maps

Not every employee wants to climb the ladder and be the CEO, but good employees want new challenges, new advancement opportunities, and they want to know there is direction and purpose in their career. Helping to lay out those road maps to achieve the career goals they want, and plotting the course to get there, will keep engagement at an elevated level.

Be the Brand

No one can tell your story like your employees. Let them be the face of the brand. Encourage them to share their story. Work with marketing to help show-off those internal success stories. Your own people can create a strong presence and reputation of success that will entice others to want to work for your company.

Unusual and out-of-the box perks may catch the attention of potential new employees, but at the end of the day, they offer little to increase long-term engagement of your employees. If you are going to attract great talent, make sure they become engaged employees instead of only satisfied employees.