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How Big Tech Holds On to Top Talent

By Daniel B. Kline - Feb 7, 2016 at 10:22PM

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A new report shows that it's not just salary that attracts and keeps employees at technology companies, it's also some pretty impressive benefits.


Companies like Netflix, Facebook, and Salesforce use enticing perks to attract and retain talent. Image credit: iStock/Thinkstock.

The battle for top talent -- specifically programmers -- has become incredibly intense in the technology industry.

Given that salaries can only go so high, many companies have tried to both woo and retain workers by offering some pretty impressive benefits. In a world where free or subsidized food, employee gyms. and even day care have become normal, the bar for impressive benefits has risen pretty high.

That makes sense, because nearly 3 in 5 (57%) people said benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job, according to Glassdoor, which expects the trend to continue.

"It's likely that more employers will follow suit by adding benefits and perks that matter most for their specific workforce this year," the online jobs and employment site reported. Glassdoor also highlighted which companies have the best perks in its February, 2016 "Top Employee Benefits & Perks" list, which is compiled from surveys on its site.

A number of tech companies make the Glassdoor list, and some of the benefits they offer are truly impressive.

Netflix: In addition to changing how we watch television, Netflix is also changing the standard for parental leave. The streaming leader offers new parents a full year of paid maternity or paternity leave. Workers can elect to simply be gone for the entire year, or to return full or part-time while leaving as needed.

Salesforce: The Customer Relationship Management company shows that attracting top talent is not all about what you give employees, it's also about how you let them help others. Salesforce gives its staff six days of paid volunteer time each year, and if they use all of them, they get a $1,000 grant to donate to whatever charity they want.

Spotify: The privately held music streaming service does not quite equal Netflix, but it has a pretty impressive parental leave program, allowing new moms and dads six months of paid leave plus an extra month of flexible work choice.The company also covers the cost of egg freezing and fertility assistance to help its employees become parents.

Airbnb: The privately held travel site that lets people rent out their homes, spare rooms, and even couches, gives its employees $2,000 each year to use to stay in Airbnb listings all around the world.

Facebook (META 0.22%): In addition to offering generous leave when employees have a baby, Facebook also gives new parents $4,000 in "Baby Cash" to help with the cost of adding a newborn to the family.

Adobe: Sometimes the nicest thing a company can do for its workers is let them not come into work. Adobe closes for a week in December and for an entire week over the summer.

Zillow: The online real estate site also focuses on new parents with its benefit package, but it has a unique offering. Zillow pays for traveling moms to ship their breast milk home for their babies.

Alphabet: The parent company of Google offers a benefit designed to help a grieving employee's partner or spouse cope in the event of an untimely death. The company provides the surviving spouse or partner of a deceased employee 50% of their salary for the next 10 years.

Why does this matter?
Hiring, training, and integrating new workers costs money. Having to do so due to turnover slows down product development and innovation. And, given that these are tech companies and programmers are in especially high demand, holding onto as well as attracting talent is especially important.

Imagine the advantage Facebook loses over a rival social media company if a team of its developers abandon ship because it offered inferior benefits. By spending a little more on employee perks, the companies on this list actually save money.

Consider spending money on benefits a type of insurance, as well as a type of public relations. Offering perks which workers actually want keeps them on board, which lets the business run smoothly, and makes it more likely new workers will join up. These aren't silly or frivolous moves these companies are making, they're investments in keeping their workforce happy which keeps them from looking elsewhere.

Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. He once worked at a tech company that had an impressive selection of free beverages. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and Zillow Group (A and C shares). The Motley Fool recommends Adobe Systems and Salesforce.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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