Perks are attractive. Job happiness retains talent.


Increasingly, employers will do almost anything they can to attract the best talent and keep them happy. Why do they want to keep them happy? Because happy people tend to stay longer. Keeping talented people longer is usually a good idea.

So, what do people really appreciate?

Are the perks (ventajas, prebendas) such as gym memberships, free lunches and snacks, company social events… only effective at attracting talent but less so in talent retention?

This will differ slightly from country to country, but I imagine these findings are true for most people in Western developed countries. Some preferences will be more or less important from person to person. This appears to be what is happening generally in the USA today, according to  Wrike's Happiness Index Survey, asking U.S. employees what impacts their happiness at work.

It raises the question: Do people really want more ping pong tables in the office? Or do they simply want more money?

Compensation is king

Not a surprise, but there are significant differences between men and women. Overall, people rank compensation as the most important factor in their workplace happiness. Flexible hours and meaningful work come next. Management and leadership are ranked fourth. This could imply that people would rather have the flexibility to work from anywhere as opposed to having a good manager in the same room.


Interestingly, they found that for the happiest workers, “doing meaningful work” was ranked number 1. Number two was “flexible hours.” So, possibly true workplace happiness isn’t just a question of money.

Gender differences

When comparing men and women, happiness factors vary slightly. Men rank management and flexible hours above compensation, whereas women rank compensation and doing meaningful work above flexible hours.

On the other hand, women would rather see those perks reflected in their salary or more time off. This suggests that a healthy work-life balance and closing the pay gap mean more to women than perks.

The survey showed that both men and women value more or unlimited paid time off. 24-hr cafeterias were once offered as “perks”. Many consider they only keep employees in the office longer. Today, the best perceived perks are often seen as being opportunities to rest and recharge away from the office.

Is the manager always responsible for unhappy employees?

“People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers” is a common comment. But it may no longer always be the case. Unhappy employees rank “management/leadership” as the factor that least impacts their happiness.

What about other benefits and work events?

Work events are king when it comes to the most popular workplace perks for men. Only 15% of men said they would rather have a raise in their compensation. Women appear to be less influenced by both benefits and work events. They want more money and more time.

In-office perks are becoming less attractive. Top talent can easily move from job to job, so it’s critical for companies to invest in their employees’ happiness.

More and more employees, and women in particular, want a career that fulfills them, pays well, and gives them a good work-life balance, i.e. time off to recharge. Impressive perks may attract the best talent, but investing in their happiness will keep them there longer.

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