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10 Unique Perks At Tech Companies
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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/9/2016 | 8:42:10 AM
Some incredible perks
I worked for a company that offered a long sabbatical after 7 years of employment, sometimes up to 6 months but the number of people who made it that long or managed to take that time off was incredibly small, hopefully that isn't a common thread across tech companies.  

If I had to pick a favorite perk though and one that I think would be the most beneficial to the community around a company, the Salesforce volunteer days and donations is huge.  Vacation time is nice but I think that people come back from volunteer work just as recharged as they do from down time.  The feeling of accomplishing something and doing something good for someone else is very powerful. 

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/9/2016 | 12:03:37 PM
Re: Some incredible perks
@SaneIT- It is true that perks that reward longevity in a world of cosntant churn may not be as useful as they appear. Still, it is nice that there is a reward at the end of it if it happens. I still meet the occasional person who has worked for the same company for 25-30 years like people did a couple of generations ago, and I marvel.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
2/9/2016 | 1:42:03 PM
Re: Some incredible perks
@dave - thanks. food for thought re: the workplace and what people can/should/might expect. Certainly these companies are changing the game now for a while --

What are your thoughts on how much it extends to more established companies not in the tech sector? Which  approach will "win-out?" Older or newer?

I did cherry pick some of the benefits -- I'd like to combine them and go to work. Then work wouldn't be such...work, so to speak
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/9/2016 | 2:14:31 PM
Re: Some incredible perks
@jastroff- Obviously, when you start looking at the broader economy it becomes difficult to make one statement that fits all. It is hard enough to do that in tech. But I'd say tech is a slightly special case where persk are always going to be a little better. The fight for talent is real in all industries, but the fight for good technical talent is even crazier. I'd expect companies like Facebook, Apple, and Google to always fight harder for talent than say, Exxon. That said, we often repeat as a mantra on IWeek that all companies are tech companies. Certainly GE and other major companies that see how software is changing their business are now int he fight for talent. So I suspect we will start seeing silicon valley style perks spread to at least techies in other industries. 

But I don't think every industry and every size company will feel a need to jump in which is why tech dominates the list. 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2016 | 11:52:44 AM
Re: Some incredible perks
@dave -- Kudos for not mentioning "snacks" or "free food" "on-site kitchens, games, massages and the like. Nice to have for sure, but health insurance will triumph every time.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/16/2016 | 2:35:06 PM
Re: Some incredible perks
@jastroff- Agreed. You can't beat basic human needs for benefits. Ihave to say this, though. Perks like free food and haircuts are important if you have a culture where you work 80 hours per week. If you expect your people to "live" at work, you have to give them all the things they need for "life."

That's probably why I never worked at a job where they gave free food. :)
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2016 | 8:28:27 AM
Re: Some incredible perks
In this case it was part churn and part culture.  While there were people who took the sabbatical time not many who did returned and even more that qualified never took the time because it had become a signal that your time with the company was coming to a close.  I'm off especially long durations in the US don't tend to be viewed as a good thing anywhere I've ever been.  I spent time in a very large global company where I was reminded of the family and medical leave policies of other countries and sat in awe that someone could be gone for 6 months and come back to a position without being far behind everything that happened while they were away. 
Vision33r
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Vision33r,
User Rank: Strategist
2/9/2016 | 11:00:34 AM
Benefits are great but real time off would be better
I often hear companies giving time off and great benefit packages.  The problem is that there is no such thing as real time off.  Companies that tell you that you have x days to take, people rarely take them because they are discouraged to do so because there's always some big project or push going on that you need to be a part of or responsible for.  Missing a process can be bad move career wise if you are trying to get promoted.  Then to be let down that towards a certain time you can't take time off. 

What good are medical benefits when you don't have time to use it.  I've seen people die on the job because they are not fit and the firm does not promote gym memberships and wellness.

People come to work asleep because of long work hours and no flexibility with telecommuting.

The perks are great if a company can promote and ensure that your manager follows it.  
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
2/10/2016 | 12:14:53 PM
Relevancy of benefits

Sane I have also seen the same trend with sabbatical offers and getting approval tends to be complicated. Also many sabbaticals don't cover benefits so they make it financially non feasible. It was one of those sounded "nice" benefits but it was rarely used. I like the benefits that help to recharge the employee regularly. I think the Google benefit is excellent but it's a disaster type benefit. I also like the volunteer hours. Employees should see benefits that really engage them in their job and influence retention and employee acquisition.The mix is really the key.

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/10/2016 | 1:29:06 PM
Re: Relevancy of benefits
Hrm...both of you have given me second thoughts on the value of the sabbatical. Maybe it needs to be "enforced" like the way Adobe shuts down everything for two weeks so no one feels like they are slacking. 

It is a sad state of affairs when people are afraid to take the time off their company gives them because they are afraid fo what it does to their career.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2016 | 1:57:44 PM
Re: Relevancy of benefits
You're so right. It is sad that time off is viewed in such a bad light. I have worked in companies where time off was difficult to take because the culture induced guilt for being away.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
2/12/2016 | 2:22:01 PM
Re: Relevancy of benefits

Michelle, yes it's sad but true. Even lunch away from the office is still a no in companies. Unfortunately what many don't understand is that building that kind of culture fuels burnout, and a lack of productivity. I always return from a trip rejuvenated and more creative. The cost to companies is high when they burnout employees and create micromanaging environments. As we see with the statistics Americans are still the workforce that is taking the fewest vacations and letting their limited time off be put on the shelf.

.

impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
2/12/2016 | 2:27:27 PM
Re: Relevancy of benefits

Dave I have to believe the shutdown at Adobe is more a limited work schedule since all the employees could not just go on vacation. Who would support their customers if there were critical issues? It is more of a work from home and answer your texts and email perspective?

I worked at a company that had summer hours from May to Labor Day on Fridays where the office "closed" at 3 pm. Well I never left at 3 but maybe got out at 5-5:30 so it was better than my usual 7:00pm. The reality was not what the marketing perpetuated.

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/12/2016 | 5:15:55 PM
Re: Relevancy of benefits
@impactnow- I've never worked for Adobe so I can't say for certain. But blogs by their CEO and other leaders emphasize the idea that employees are supposed to be away. And that if they can't be away that they do critical jobs and take a different week off. They warn customers ahead of time. Obviously, some roles, like technical supprt, can't all get off the same week. They claim to rotate them. 

I can't swear to you that 100% of the staff feels like it is a true vacation, but Adobe seems committed to approaching that.
pdembry950
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pdembry950,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/18/2016 | 11:58:02 AM
Google...could be dangerous
If your marriage is a bit rocky, you may not want to work at Google! 10 yrs of 50% salary and $1k/mth to children might be enough to tempt your spouse to add extra "ingredients" to your lunch :-)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/18/2016 | 12:31:58 PM
Re: Google...could be dangerous
@pdembry950- I hope no one thinks that way, but it is a good deal. Whenever I watch a show where a husband kills a wife with my wife, she always says, "If you're ever thinking of killing me, just tell me. I'll go. You'll never have to hear from me again." I don't know if that would work if she was at Google. :)

Thankfully, we're happy together. 

Seriously though, perhaps the best part of this isn't the salary, but the fact that stocks vest immediately. Google is still known (though it is changing) for having lowish salaries and relying on stock and perks to make up for it. Depending on your position in the company and how long you've been there, the stock vesting might be the best part of what I think is a truly generous and great program.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2016 | 6:19:52 PM
Shutting down
Kudos to Adobe for their policy. From a little before Christmas, through the new year my hunsbands old work shut down everything for a week, which is kinda huge since they run a particle accelerator there. THey don't count most of those days as vacation time. It's a break even for those that would rather sleep in their offices to get more work done. Sometimes an enforced break is the only type workaholics get. I'm a fam of anyone who does this, as long as the employees are still getting paid. I think it helps everyone recharge and get back to being productive.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/18/2016 | 7:18:12 PM
Re: Shutting down
@kstaron- I'm sure it isn't like that, but I picture a week off at the particle accelerator as a time when the particles can decelerate and take a break, too. :)


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