The workplace is changing. Different demographics, new technology, and a faster pace.
For that reason it should come as no surprise that the perks you get from your employer are changing too – or they’re about to.
As Vancouver competes to keep skilled workers here despite the high cost of living, local tech firms are leading the way towards a new kind of benefits package.
And if they can’t compete with other cities on salary, they’re sweetening the pot with some other bonuses.
Michael Tippett is the CEO of startup Wantoo. Their platforms helps with market research.
And earlier this year, concerned about unaffordability in the city, he made an announcement that made his staff pretty happy.
“There’s not much I can do in terms of, you know, how people are able to buy houses. But what I can do is I can at least try to help the people who work for me. So I decided that I would give everyone a raise.”
Now, the raise didn’t exactly come in cold hard cash. It came in equity.
The idea being that down the line as the company grows, that equity’s value grows too.
Maybe into a down payment for a home in this crazy market.
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Unlimited vacation may seem like a pipe dream for your average office worker, but for employees at e-retailer BuildDirect, it’s the reality.
CEO Jeff Booth said that the new policy was just an extension of something they were already doing informally:
“If our best person came up to us and said ‘hey I really would like to do this’ – you’d find a way to make that happen for that person.”
Booth says he doesn’t think anyone will take advantage of the unlimited days off; it’s simply a way to treat his employees as well as they treat their work.
And it aligns with one of their key values: Getting Better Every Day.
“We don’t think it’s binary, just in the company. That’s part of getting better every day. But getting better every day might involve travelling to a place that broadens your horizons and you bring back that knowledge to work.”
Flexible hours and working from home
Online bookkeeping company Bench has a similar philosophy behind their working vacation policy, which lets employees work from anywhere in the world.
Co-founder and VP of People Jordan Menashy says plenty of employees take advantage:
“One of our people on the marketing time for example is Australian. He loves going back to Australia a couple times a year and he’ll work from there. He’ll usually take one week off but overall spend a matter of 3 or 4 weeks to really get the most out of the jet lag and get the most out of the time there. Rome’s been another example where that happened. We’ve had other folks go to South America. It doesn’t even have to be somewhere completely distant or exotic. It could be something as simple as – oh, I’m going to go work from Vancouver Island for a couple of weeks while I’m with my family, or Toronto because that’s where people are originally from.”
He says in the knowledge economy, there aren’t many good reasons to ask employees to clock in and clock out a 9-5 office day.
“We want this to be a place where people are treated like grownups. And they can actually cultivate an environment that works best for them in order for them to do the best work of their life. There’s still accountability, you still have to show up and really deliver. That doesn’t go away. But it’s flexible, so you can tailor it to do what works best for you.”
Health benefits often top the list of concerns for any new hire – but as our definition of health goes beyond how many pills we have to take, some companies are adding on new health & wellness perks too.
Bench has a $1500 health credit that employees can use for anything that makes them feel healthier physically, emotionally or spiritually.
That could mean yoga, therapy, or even cooking classes.
And of course, since they’re a tech company, they have trendy perks like craft beer on tap, ping pong tables, and an option for everybody to bring their dogs to work:
“Yes, a lot of dogs. Sometimes too many dogs. There’s a lot of dogs in the office right now. I bring my own, Zoe, she’s the mascot I would argue.”
So as you negotiate for your next new job – don’t only ask about your dental coverage.
The standard benefit package is changing – so we hope you like craft beer.