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Would your employee benefits package survive the Dragons?

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The eighth series of Dragon’s Den is finishing soon on RTE, making the Irish edition the second longest-il_340x270-651762846_254krunning version of the popular format, after the UK. Applications are open for the next series! Would you and your company be able to survive the scrutiny of the Dragons? On a recent episode of the British version, one charismatic CEO showed how not to do it. He was pitching his high-end, on-demand food delivery service. Partnering with 25 of London’s top gourmet restaurants, he enthused that he was looking to tap into the lucrative corporate market, delivering Michelin quality cuisine to boardrooms all over the capital.

The quick-tempered and quick-witted technology titan Peter Jones interjected: “If any one of my MDs was ordering a Michelin star meal, I’d throw them out of the nearest window”.

Needless to say, he and the rest of the Dragons were indeed ‘out’. But Peter’s remark exemplifies changing attitudes to company spending. Gone are the Wall Street-style excesses of the 80’s, where fine dining was the norm and any bar was an open bar, provided one held the company credit card. Nowadays, such frivolous access to expense accounts may have been curtailed, but employee benefits packages are still alive and well. They’ve just changed with the times.

To find out how, we need to look across the Atlantic, out west to the lowlands of the Silicon Valley, to California’s tech giants – Facebook, Apple, Google and their ilk. It’s no coincidence that the godfathers of web 2.0 – the mid-2000s revolution that made the internet more dynamic, social, and unique – are also behind some unique and novel benefits for its employees too. Perks 2.0, if you will.

Facebook attracts new parents with generous maternity and paternity leave packages, with the same amount of time off for Dads as well as Mums, and $3,000 a year in babysitting expenses. Apple provide employees with deep discounts on their own products, and a 100% discount on actual apples.

And Google? While its employees enjoy the on-site barbers or massage services, you may hear them refer to the ‘Google 15’. This is the amount of weight in pounds a new employee is likely to gain.  The search giant has around 30 cafés on their San Francisco campus. This clearly isn’t just soup and sandwiches in a cramped canteen (rockfish with pecans, anyone?). And if Peter Jones followed in Google’s footsteps, his MD’s would be able to chow down guilt-free; every meal is provided free of charge to employees. The company spends around $80 million a year on food alone.

But which perks could attract the Irish workforce? Would a change in your company’s benefits package make more prospective employees say “I’m in”? Irish companies know frugality better than US tech firms do, so what can be offered, above and beyond a salary, that won’t break the bank? Insight HR can offer expert guidance on employment packages for your company (and will treat you nicer than the Dragons!). Call 056 770 1060 or email mcullen@insighthr.ie for more information.

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