Every employer is trying to figure out how to recruit millennials to work for them. Many Silicon Valley startups employ ping pong tables, nap pods, and treadmill desks among a slew of other millennial friendly initiatives.
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But now with funding tightening, companies are cutting back on their perk offerings. “Extravagant perks like free laundry services or massages are nice to have, but if that’s what’s attracting your new talent they’ll quickly leave for the next best thing” says Nick Huzar, the CEO of OfferUp, one of the fastest growing app based marketplaces, which has avoided the lavish perks.
New York based advertising agency XenoPsi says that those kinds of perks shouldn’t be introduced in the first place and that instead perks should be there to create long term benefits. Citing a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, MichaelAaron Flicker, President of XenoPsi, noted that what millennials really want in an office are long term growth potential and competitive wages.
“If any benefit we have doesn’t hit those things, then we don’t entertain it” says Flicker.
XenoPsi features a spacious office with a small selection of snacks, sodas, and plants from the various countries of XenoPsi’s employees.
So while Flicker might offer a few office perks like juice cleanses and yoga classes, XenoPsi targets its benefits more towards employee growth and development.
XenoPsi, which recently moved from midtown Manhattan down to the financial district, says that the move was partly driven by a growing percentage of its millennial employees who live in nearby Brooklyn. Flicker wanted to eliminate the lengthy commutes for employees.
One benefit that he is most proud of is XenoPsi’s sabbatical program. Employees who have been at the company for long enough are eligible to take a four week sabbatical anywhere in the world with roundtrip airfare for them and a guest paid for. “They can learn to surf in Hawaii or volunteer in India” says Flicker, citing the breadth of what people can do with their time off. Employees keep their salary and benefits during this time. What Flicker wants is for people to have a true life experience in this time.
Flicker notes that being in New York City means the competition for talent is steep. “We are 5 miles from every major ad agency in the world. We had to be smarter about giving something in our benefit that wasn’t just financial. Anybody can pay you more, but giving a life experience and making it a culture that people celebrate it is something only we’re offering” says Flicker.