Keep your free ice cream, young workers want flexibility and balance

As businesses of all shapes and sizes return to their offices, companies must finally learn the lesson that actions speak louder than PR ploys, writes Nathan Peart

Saturday 11 September 2021 13:19 BST
<p>Gimmicky perks and big bonuses won’t tempt many young workers back to the office</p>

Gimmicky perks and big bonuses won’t tempt many young workers back to the office

From free ice cream to headline-grabbing bonuses, companies are getting increasingly creative in attempts to lure office workers back to desks. Investment bank Jefferies gifted staff Peloton bikes, PwC’s UK employees will receive an extra £1,000 and Goldman Sachs’ workers can head to Hackney Gelato for complimentary ice cream. However, with the much-anticipated return to work trying to get under way, will younger workers really want to abandon their working from home routines for free food and cash?

Historically, high salaries, bonuses and financially driven gimmicks offered by many high-profile companies were an effective way to keep attrition down and increase employee engagement. For example, some of the “Big Law” firms managed to keep profits high and attrition low by throwing money at juniors year after year, despite the long hours they were expected to work. For the young lawyer, sticking it out for a few years to cash in and set yourself up for life was often seen as the trade-off.

Now, after 18 months of remote working, the battle to retain good talent has become creative, as competitors try to woo new hires over to their camp by offering them what they really want: flexibility rather than frills.

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