Company Perks Make a Comeback

NEW YORK (Mainstreet) — If you’ve got a job, you may see a fatter paycheck and a few extra perks soon, if you haven’t already.

Nearly 60% of companies forced to eliminate employee perks during the recession to cut costs have brought back some or all of them, while one-quarter of these companies plan to introduce benefits, according to a survey from the career firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The perks may include everything from salary bonuses to extra vacation time and more flexible schedules.

Much of the reason for the turnaround has to do with a growing concern among businesses that their best talent may look for work elsewhere as the economy and the job market continue to improve. Challenger, Gray & Christmas surveyed about 100 human resources executives from firms around the country and found that 42% of them were “increasingly concerned” about losing their top talent to competing companies.

“This may be the most important time for employers to hold on tight to their highest-skilled workers,” said John Challenger, CEO of the career firm. “However, as the economy improves, companies could be worried not only about other employers poaching their best workers, but also about their top talent actively seeking new opportunities.”

Indeed, several studies in recent months have found that a greater number of Americans will look for work elsewhere this year than at any point in previous years, as many are fed up with their current pay and excess workload.

The human resources professionals surveyed by Challenger seem to recognize this, and admit that the single most effective perk for retaining talent is performance bonuses; given their increasing eagerness to lock in the best employees, more companies could be forced to roll out bonuses this year.

As effective as extra cash may be, Challenger argues that there are plenty of other cost-efficient perks companies can and should rely on to attract and maintain the best workers. Simply providing free meals in the morning or offering employees the option to telecommute once a week costs the company relatively little but could pay huge dividends in worker satisfaction.