With unemployment at a record low, and younger workers adopting a ‘job hopping’ approach to employment, it’s not surprising companies are working harder than ever to figure out how to attract, and hold on to, vital employees. A recent survey by Perkbox and Total Jobs, which compared what employees actually want with what employers think they want shows sheds new light on what really matters to employees, and how companies can win the war for talent.

Cool stuff in the office

Office dogs, table football, bean bags and free beer on Fridays have become synonymous with trendy millennials and Silicon Valley inspired startups. Although skeptics will argue these types of perks are merely ‘surface level’, the research by Perkbox shows that young employees see benefits like these as being very valuable indeed, with ping pong tables, pool tables and video games making up three of the top five benefits employees want most.

This will come as a shock to many organisations, who predominantly focus on promoting more traditional benefits like a competitive salary, healthcare and training. Considering this, is it time to rethink your own company’s perks?

Regular social engagements

Above even table and video games, Perkbox found the number one benefit for employees was surprisingly extracurricular clubs, such as book or arts and crafts. This goes to show that social activities are front of mind for candidates looking at prospective employers. A quick scan down the list confirms this, with office sports teams, annual company holidays, summer/Christmas party and work drinks on a Friday also ranking high.

Flexible Working

These days, it’s impossible to have a conversation around company culture or employee benefits without ‘flexible working’ coming up. There’s a huge demand from employees to take more control over their working schedule which, research suggests, isn’t being heard by employers. There has been no significant overall increase in the number of employees taking up flexible working since 2014, when legislation was passed giving employees the right to request flexible working.

Of course, building a culture where flexible working is respected and understood isn’t as easy as installing a ping pong table. But organisations that put time and effort into doing this will stay ahead of the game when it comes to attracting the best employees.

Wellbeing initiative

People want to know their employers genuinely care about them and that their health and wellbeing is going to be taken seriously and with sites like Glassdoor making this kind of information readily available, it’s not an issue any organisation can afford to ignore.

A well-being initiative can take many forms, ranging from providing staff with healthy food to snack on, discount gym memberships and education around how to stay active, to private healthcare, access to counselling and advice on finance.

Having a wellness initiative can be the difference between your ideal candidate choosing you over a competitor.

The latest tech

The digital natives that make up Generation Z and millennial demographics expect top quality, easy-to-use technology in all aspects of their lives, including their workplace. Combined, they’re expected to make up more than 50% of the working population by next year, and will only grow as more Gen Zs enter the workplace and baby boomers retire, so it’s vital that organisations offer the kind of up-to-date technology they’re used to in their home life, so not to fall behind in the war for talent.

It’s therefore not surprising that more and more organisations, big and small, are investing in an online HR system, which gives employees more control over their working life. For example, self-service functionality lets employees book annual leave or record sickness from anywhere at any time using their mobile, check out training opportunities, engage with colleagues and check detail of an HR policy without having to contact their HR rep or line manager.

So how do these perks compare to the ones you offer at your company? Obviously no two organisations are the same. Different perks will work for different workforces, but in general, a company with a strong understanding of what matters to their employees will have the pick of the lot when it comes to hiring talent. Those that aren’t willing to adapt to meet the expectations of the younger generations coming through into the workplace, however, will likely fall behind.