5 Perks Your Employees Will Actually Care About

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Today's Question: Much has been written about unusual and inventive job perks (in-office haircuts, massage chairs, free beer, etc.), but do these things really resonate with job seekers? Recruiter.com wants to know what kinds of perks you look for in employers, and why.

1. In-House College Counseling

Maybe employers don't think providing college counseling to their employees is a perk or benefit they really need, but parents are seriously stressing out over how they are going to pay for college.

A couple of facts:

1. According to a Gallup poll, young adults and mid-career professionals (ages 18-29 and 30-49, respectively) name education costs as their primary financial problem.

2. Tuition worries cut across all income levels. That same Gallup poll found that workers from higher-income households ($75,000+) see college costs as their top financial challenge.

So, why should employers care? When employees are stressed over how they are going to pay for college, how can they concentrate on their work?

- Elizabeth Venturini, CollegeCareerResults

2. Work That Aligns With My Interests

Things like free beer don't really mean much to me as a job seeker – a.k.a., a freelancer who is used to making about 10 or 12 pitches for every job I actually get.

But one thing I've increasingly done as a freelance writer is go for the jobs that are more in line with my preferred niches – science, technology, the occasional financial tech job. I do this because the job itself should be something that you can get enthusiastic about – something that makes you want to come back to work on a Monday morning even when you might be hungover from too much free beer over the weekend.

That might sound like a bit of an odd perk, but there's no amount of free beer or massage chairs that can make up for a job you hate doing.

— Heidi Hecht, Freelance Writer

3. Direction and Appreciation – Without Micromanagement

Two perks that would make me smile are:

1. a manager who tells employees what to do, why it's necessary, and when it's due, but doesn't micromanage; and

2. recognition of employee efforts, because people don't work for money alone.

— Katie Schwartz, Business Speech Improvement

4. Perks That Support Work/Life Balance

When I look for a job, I usually look for the following perks (in order of priority):

1. Weekends off

2. Flexible working hours

3. Paid sick days/vacation leave

4. Travel/food allowances for official business trips

5. Free and unlimited coffee (optional, but highly appreciated)

6. Company car (optional, but highly appreciated)

— Mylene Orillo, Blogger/Journalist

5. The 'Intangibles'

The job perks at Cosmetic Promotions are awesome as well as unique. I get to try scads of different beauty products while enjoying flexible work schedules, travel opportunities, the ability to work remotely, and the chance to work directly with the CEO and senior management team. Plus, they tapped into my role as a college student and had me create college sampling programs that I will be able to help implement.

These perks provide me with tremendous networking opportunities and allow me to make visible and meaningful contributions to the company, challenging me to realize to my fullest potential every day. I consider these as rewards for my efforts, not just fringe benefits.

Ultimately, I believe the best perks for job seekers are the intangibles: experience, networking, and work/life balance.

— Copelyn Calmer, Cosmetic Promotions