At big tech companies like Google and Facebook, employees enjoy a range of benefits that have become almost as famous as the companies themselves. From free smoothies and snacks to complimentary massages, these perks are meant to fulfill the basic needs of staffers so that morale and productivity remain high. In fact, tales of these benefits have reached so far that many workers today would prefer them to increased wages. According to a recent survey by job-listings website GlassDoor, 79 percent of workers responded that they’d rather receive new perks over a raise.
But not every company has a market cap worth hundreds of billions like Google. As a result, unlucky startups that don’t have budgets for extravagant benefits may also miss out on recruiting the best talent. That’s where services like Wekudo come in. Pronounced like “we could do,” the business acts as a middleman that organizes recreational events for its clients. For instance, a company might hire Wekudo to set up an afternoon yoga workshop for employees, or even a night of laser tag or improv comedy. Clients can even schedule Wekudo to put on weekly or monthly events, thus relieving companies of the pressure to constantly come up with new activities.
While this might not seem like much of a feat, anyone who’s ever planned an office event knows that it’s no small task. Wekudo founder Lee Rubin experienced this problem firsthand as she watched managers at her old job struggle to come up with ideas for employee outings. “They didn’t have the time, and they didn’t know what to do, so they were like, ‘Screw it. We’ll have a happy hour,’” said Rubin. The problem was that the company’s HR department had allotted each employee as much as $100, a fact that quickly transformed the quiet happy hour into an unprofessional mess. Future employee events were cancelled and morale subsequently sunk.
At Wekudo, Rubin’s mission is to ensure that situations like this never happen. The company even encourages its third-party instructors and entertainers to make frequent connections between their activities and various corporate goals. This way, not only do employees relax and have fun, but they also learn something about their jobs. Still, this synergetic strategy can elicit more eye rolls than inspiration for staffers who’d rather unwind in some other way (like at a happy hour).
- If given the choice, which would you prefer: improved perks and benefits or an increased salary?
- What’s the benefit of outsourcing employee activities and perks? What do services like Wekudo offer that companies don’t already have?
Source: Jennifer Miller, “Companies Are Outsourcing Employee Morale Building,” Bloomberg BusinessWeek, February 10, 2016. Photo by Jesse DeMarzo.