3.16.2021 5:59

Why Perks Just Don’t Cut It Anymore in Tech

Why Perks Just Don’t Cut It Anymore in Tech


Akshay Sachdeva

July 31, 2017


The good news is, you don’t have to.

Many tech companies are starting to abandon these empty gimmicks. Instead of investing entirely on perks like catered meals and stand-up desks, a lot of tech companies have begun to invest in the future career growth of their employees.

At the forefront of this shift in the tech industry are hipages, Atlassian, and Adroll. Each of these companies recognize that an organization is only as good as its talent. They place a premium on investing in employees and not marketing perks. No matter how stellar the product, if a company hires the wrong people (i.e. those who are simply attracted to the perks), the company will suffer.

But a revolving door of employees won’t just be a blow to the company’s morale, it will also affect the company’s financial bottom line. High turnover can cost the company thousands of dollars per employee.

On average, it costs between $10,000 to $20,000 to replace one employee. Ouch. And that’s not even considering the damage to the company’s reputation, both as an employer and as a customer-facing business.

While most tech companies are focused on finding the right talent, that shouldn’t be the end goal. It’s one thing to reel new talent in, but it’s far more important to develop them, nurture them, and keep them motivated to succeed. For you as a candidate, you’ve got to find the companies that do this.

Let’s take a look at how these three tech companies develop talent in a way that benefits everyone, including the customers. We’ll also share insights from Jodette Cleary, Chief People Officer at hipages, Caitriona Staunton at Atlassian, and both Denise Wyer, Head of Sales APAC at AdRoll, and Michelle Filo, People Partner APAC at AdRoll, on how to retain and motivate tech talent. Let’s get started.

Developing Talent

As we discussed earlier, the company’s focus shouldn’t be finding amazing talent. It should be on finding amazing talent for the company. The first step is to hire an individual who will fit into the team. As a potential candidate, you need to find out which company you’d fit best in.

Jodette shares, “We want to give candidates a genuine insight into our world – as we aim to hire for the long term and our environment is not suited to everyone (there are those who prefer more quiet, steady solo work).”

When you’re job hunting, look for companies who invite you into their particular work environment. Before accepting the job, you should feel accepted into its culture. Look for companies that offer an inclusive and comprehensive onboarding program.

Jodette continues, “We invite candidates into the hipages home and see if they want to join our family and likewise if they will not only fit the culture but contribute new and different thinking.”

Denise from AdRoll adds, “The onboarding phase is extremely important! We have an internal onboarding bootcamp which comprises of two weeks of intense training and self learning, with an additional two months of integrated training on the job.

“Additionally, we have a roll-mate program whereby we match up new employees with experienced rollers who can be their go-to person daily for questions on anything from ‘how do I troubleshoot a pixel issue’ to ‘where is the best coffee shop’. We want every new hire to feel part of our family.”

The Need for Onboarding

A comprehensive onboarding program is crucial to your success with a company.

“Onboarding plays a huge part in setting the new employee up for success in the long term,” Caitriona Staunton shares. “Our onboarding occurs over a few phases, from the moment the employee receives a job offer from us, right through to the end of their first 6 months as an employee. Our goal there is to give them as much support as we possibly can; be that in helping them move their family to Sydney, setting them up with the right tools and technology to do their job, providing buddies and mentors to support them, or supplying training courses to help them upskill.”

As a new hire, you will have a definite impact on the hiring company– for better or worse. Good companies understand that and plan for it. “Our culture is ever-evolving with every new hire we onboard,” Caitriona adds.

Think About the Future

No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. It’s human nature to grow and find new opportunities to challenge one’s self.

When job hunting, choose a company with long distance vision. Better companies aren’t just hiring for the current position– they’re also considering how the new hire will advance through the company.

Go with a company that has a plan for your future. The company should already have a rough idea of the future of your position before even hiring you. However, they’ll also need to listen to you describe your unique goals in order to fine-tune and customize the plan. What are your one, five, and 10 year goals? How can the hiring company facilitate these goals? Discuss these questions with the company and make sure that your goals align.

You’ll likely work with the company to create a pathway to promotion. The path should be easy to follow and the company should be open and transparent about the promotion process. As a new hire, you should understand how the company develops talent and the necessary steps it’ll take to meet each of your goals.

Development Programs

Most perks are fleeting but development programs invest in your future. With the right development program, you can learn, challenge yourself, and grow.

Denise shares, “We want to provide a framework of learning that encourages rollers to constantly assess their skills set and strive to improve. At AdRoll, we give our rollers a lot of freedom to be autonomous in their roles so it’s essential that we hire people who are self-starters, curious, eager to learn more and ready to work hard.”

Look for companies that cross-train employees to do multiple jobs within the company. Not only will this increase your marketable skills, it will also insure future considerations for internal promotions.

Motivating Talent

Companies are figuring out that the best way to motivate talent is to truly appreciate their employees.

It may sound sappy, but one of the biggest reasons for high employee turnout is employer apathy. Employees feel like they don’t matter to the company. It’s hard to produce your best work when you don’t feel valued or noticed.

Money isn’t the only (or even the best) way for a company to show appreciation. A company can also reward with benefits and experiences, also. (Here’s where perks are actually effective– not for marketing the job but for rewarding a job well done.) From comprehensive health insurance to tickets to the hottest sporting events, there are many wonderful perks that can push you to do their best– as long as the perks aren’t used in place of actual career development.

Jodette shares, “Perks on their own do not motivate. We all like perks and they are nice to have but we stay and are driven by interesting and challenging work.”

Michelle adds, “In addition to all the standard perks, like regular team building events, a weekly team dinner (with our in-house chef) and an office space designed to inspire creativity, we’ve worked to create an environment of belonging.  Our D&I group, OneRoll focuses on developing an inclusive environment. OneRoll holds a variety of cultural events and inclusive activities as well as hosting inspirational speaker series.

“Wellbeing is also a top priority at AdRoll, and our RollWell program is designed to make people happy and healthy… It’s important to us that our staff grow as whole human beings.”

Institute a Feedback Culture

Feedback is important part of developing and motivating your talent. Feedback isn’t just “critical” or negative in nature. Depending on how the management packages it, feedback can motivate you to do an even better job for the company.

Here’s how hipages encourages a feedback culture, “At hipages, whilst our team does not go without a lot of perks and legendary parties etc, we recognise we can’t compete on the perks front with the likes of the bigger tech companies like Google and eBay.  

“Therefore, we have put our energy and focus into creating an highly satisfying, challenging and fun work environment.  We do this by creating true cross-functional teams, ensuring everyone is empowered and has the ability to solve real problems and regularly taking time to celebrate wins.”

Final Thoughts

Finding, developing, nurturing, and retaining talent goes beyond perks like pool tables and team vacations. To truly appeal to you, a company needs to create a challenging environment that’s built on mutual respect. The good news is: these companies do exist. And even better news? They’re hiring. Go forth and find these companies, and remember to look past the empty gimmicks.

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