Many companies put innovative perks in place, using these to stand out and differentiate themselves in the war for talent. LinkedIn, a company that has won awards such as Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers,” decided they wanted to look at perks differently. They decided to create “perks with a purpose,” according to Nina McQueen, VP Global Benefits & Employee Experience.
“Everything we do in benefits must serve a purpose: whether to meet a business need or because it’s the right thing to do. We would like our programs to have staying power. We want our programs to make a difference in people’s lives.” says McQueen.
With this in mind, LinkedIn set out to design a wellbeing perk that would do just that: Make an impact and difference in the lives of their employees. To begin, they simply asked employees, “What Is the one benefit or perk that would make a difference to you?” The result was a highly unique and personalized approach to perks, a program called PerkUp!
PerkUp! gives employees an annual allowance that varies by country (it’s $2,000/year in the U.S.). It can be used to spend on perks from an approved list, which originally included gym memberships, personal trainers, fitness classes, massages, childcare, pet-sitting, and dog-walking, and has since been extended to include student loans, tax prep, financial planning, eldercare, and house cleaning. “It focuses on perks that improve employee wellbeing or create convenience to make employees’ lives easier,” says McQueen.
The program gives employees the opportunity and flexibility to choose perks that best fit their needs, personalizing it to them. Eligible categories were originally based on what employees indicated mattered most to them via survey feedback, and then fine-tuned after a three-month global pilot.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a few new categories were added to support the changing needs of their people. One example related to childcare, with virtual tutoring and remote childcare added to help employees face the challenges of managing and juggling work and childcare during the lockdown period. Another example was allowing the purchase of fitness wearables and apps.
The program continues to be a huge success, with over 80% of employees globally using the benefit year-on-year.
It’s been a win–win for the company and employees, giving the company a benefit that shows employees they care, and providing a competitive advantage (recruiters have said it is a “wow” factor when talking to candidates), and giving employees choice on how they use the allowance. It is a unique and personalized approach to perks. It’s definitely “perked things up” at LinkedIn by delivering a benefit with purpose and meaning.
If you'd like to discuss how to design and deliver innovation solutions at your company, please contact me. I'd love to help you come up with something that like LinkedIn, wows and supports your employees!