What do the people want?... Perks Vs. Progression 

They are everywhere you look now. Slathered all over job adverts, screaming from the “about us” page and fawned about when you go for an interview. What am I talking about?... PERKS!

I have always been a bit sceptical of “perks” like the shiny pool table, the office chill-out corner and the company X-box (that you are not allowed to use during office hours) that get so much attention and emphasis when the employer is trying to woo a prospective employee. It all sounds great on day one but are perks sometimes being used to paper over the cracks of deeper problems?

Research from the Institute of Leadership & Management suggests that this certainly might be the case. They suggest that a lack of clear career progression and ongoing training as the main reason for employees handing in their notice and moving on. Often perks are used as quick fix and short term solutions to make a company look great on paper. But that initial buzz soon wears off. Especially if the free food fridge isn’t replenished or the foosball table is always broken.

So everyone should get rid of their perks? Well, no. But they should be seen as exactly what they are. Perks. They are a great cherry on top of the cake but employees want, and expect, more from their employers.

Google are great at keeping employees but it is not because their office is packed full of slides. Apart from being very good at training, developing and promoting talented individuals they are also very good at culture building. According to a recent study by the University of Central Lancaster “social sensitivity” (ability to be open and honest with colleagues without fear of judgement or punishment) has been crucial to hiring and retaining the best talent. So in practice a supportive boss is better than all the pool tables in the world.

So what can we learn from this? Firstly, perks are exactly that. They are great to have but if that is THE reason people should join you, then don’t expect then to hang around. People like to learn and ongoing training and development doesn’t have to be costly. Sit down with your employees and figure out what they want from a career, then figure out how you can get them there.

Finally, start showing a bit of appreciation to your staff. Catch people doing things right and celebrate that in a big way. It is important to show people what good looks like so they can aspire to it rather than just berate people when they do something wrong. Create an environment where people can disagree with and challenge each other in a respectful way. Show that their input is valued and it’s OK to be wrong as long as they are trying.

Progression, development and praise. That is what the people want!

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Remember all the best jobs can be found at:


Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts why not get in touch.