Ping-Pong is Passé? Not so Fast. The Latest on Employee Benefits Trends

employee benefits trends

Recently, a LinkedIn survey about benefits ("Employees don't care about cool office perks") generated this comment:

"I like it when we have a Pancake Breakfast or Teacher Appreciation."

It might seem disconnected. But really, it's not.

The survey may have signaled the death knell for foosball tables. But read a little further and the real takeaway comes into view: "Seventy percent of professionals in the U.S. told us they would not work at a leading company if it had a bad workplace culture." And, "people would rather put up with lower pay (65%) and forego a fancy title (26%) than deal with a bad workplace environment."
Aha.

In short - happy workplaces rule. So it may not be time to ditch the ping-pong table just yet.

What are the real takeaways?

People want real benefits -- not just trendy benefits

Let's be real - toys alone don't make the culture. Of the 3 thousand people LinkedIn surveyed, more than half talked about their desire for things like vacation and health benefits, while a scant 12 percent mentioned game rooms. Here at Bright Horizons, we've heard people talk plainly about education benefits and child care with words like, "If it goes, I go." The takeaway is that in the world of adulting, people want their benefits, and responsible offerings rule.

But it's not all serious business

It's one thing to ax the game room - it's another to become the no-fun zone. Socializing builds relationships; and gathering spaces and workday events (like pancake breakfasts and games) builds socialization. One author and researcher on the subject told Forbes that fun pays dividends - and that "companies with 'fun policies' cite greater job satisfaction and increased employee loyalty as two major benefits."

So...find the middle ground

Business shouldn't interpret employees' gravitation away from ping-pong tables as a wholesale shift away from happy. It just means that trendy benefits aren't going to mean much on their own. And it certainly can't camouflage an otherwise toxic workplace. Such perks are part of a great culture - not instead of it. There's a reason why, in addition to offering our own employees health care, child care, and vacation, we also have corn hole tournaments, board game days, and karaoke: people like it.

Here's the thing: people brag about the whole experience of working somewhere - not just the toys.  Tangible benefits are a big part of that experience; but niceties - like pancake breakfasts - matter too.

They may not be your bread and butter. But a surprise stack once in a while can provide some sweet ROI.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.