Friends With Benefits: Employee Perks for Talent Retention


Justin (on the left) working with his Startup Institute Boston Technical Marketing classmates.

The marketing and PR guys are there to make sure your customer base gets the best possible impression of your brand. You want them to desire your product, tell friends about your service, and above all, think of you to fill their needs.

But what about your brand as an employer? How do you convey that you’re a great place for the best and brightest to build a career? One of the best ways that top companies attract and hold on to their talent is by offering some awesome perks. Take a look at some of the sweetest employee benefits and company cultures we’ve seen and it’s easy to see why applications come pouring through their doors.

No Pain, No Gain

Many companies offer some sort of incentive for employees to get feel the burn and get healthy, but Chesapeake Energy Corp goes the extra mile to make sure their employees get active. Their 72,000 square foot athletic center on the main Oklahoma City campus houses an olympic swimming pool, rock climbing wall, ballet studio, skydiving lessons, and plenty more.

The cherry on top of the athletic sundae is the cash reward incentive offered to employees for being active. Chesapeake Energy’s “Living Well” program pays employees up to $1,500 a year for improving their health through exercise and education.

A “Living Well” coordinator Bryan Jackson notes; "Most employees are pretty appreciative to be working for this type of company. A lot of people say when they started they didn’t know how out of shape they’d become, and now they have better focus at work.”

See Your Name In Lights

Anyone who has seen a Pixar flick knows that the company is home to some of the world’s top creative minds. Ten out of their last 14 movies scored over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and all of their movies combined average 89%. Not too shabby indeed.

So what does Pixar do to attract and retain their best talent? Besides the legendary campus with perks like a room full of every breakfast cereal you could ask for, kick-ass huts instead of cubicles, and Kilt Fridays, they also know how to make sure everyone feels like they’re a part of the success. Even the little people.

You see, interns at Pixar aren’t simple coffee runners or personal assistants, but integral parts of the production team. As such, they are often recognized in the credits for their help. That’s right, next to big-wigs John Lasseter & Brad Bird in the list of important contributors are the young bucks who got the internship of a lifetime. The collaborative culture that Pixar fosters allows for such exciting perks and is one of the reasons why applicants are knocking down the door to try to work for the legendary studio.

That Thing Got A Hemi?

As the popularity of environmentally friendly practices rise, companies have generally been slow to respond. Now, however, a number of employers brand themselves as green and sustainable businesses to do their part for the environment and attract like-minded employees.

Sony Pictures Entertainment saw the opportunity to reward employees for going green and now gives up to $5000 to employees who buy a hybrid electric vehicle. The subsidy even extends to installing solar panels on homes. Fully embracing the green working culture, Sony has also installed a number of rapid electric charging stations in their parking lots.

Remember, a company brand is important to customers, but your employer brand is equally important for attracting and retaing the cream of the talent crop. As Daniel Banfield of HireVue notes, your brand is shaped “in your own way, using your own words, adhering to your own mission.” Elite applicants are looking for employers with a great cultural fit, are you up for the challenge?

This post also appeared on Smarterer