Great Perks, Born of a Taco Bell Parking Lot
You'd think that a company whose founders made their Silicon Valley debut by temporarily living in a Taco Bell Parking lot would not be big on frills. But ironically, perks are the very business of parking-lot startup AnyPerk.
AnyPerk now has their very own office, complete with floors and ceilings, in San Francisco, but they still see perks as one of the easiest ways to make employees happy. CEO and founder Taro Fukuyama says that 95 percent of employees look at the perks a company has to offer when deciding whether or not to accept a job offer.
It's easy for big companies to get perks--they can negotiate volume discounts with various vendors. If you've only got five employees, even the local gym is probably not going to take the time to negotiate a special discount. Companies that join AnyPerk group together, giving them enough employees and clout to get a discount.
Why is this important to your business? Because in today's technology-heavy businesses, your biggest investment isn't machinery, it's your people. And people (especially the tech-savvy set) expect to be treated well. When you're competing against the big guys for the best employees, you've got to find a way to make your employees feel valued. Perks can help with that, Taro says.
And not only does it bring people in, it reminds people that they've got a good deal going on. "Seeing a discount on my monthly cell phone bill reminds me that I'll lose that discount if I leave this job," Taro points out. This is not to say that having good perks means no one will ever leave your business, but it does give them something extra to think about.
Taro doesn't just take the focus on perks as the only thing he does. As a CEO he makes sure to make his own employees feel valued. "When you feel you need to value your employees, it's too late to fix it. You have to show how much you care before they think you don't." After all, trying to save your star employee from leaving is much more difficult than keeping her happy in the first place.
SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist
Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.