Competition for talent remains the chief concern of hiring teams across the community. As a result, tech companies have gotten creative with their sundry perk offerings to attract and retain top hires, including flexible work schedules, unlimited PTO, learning stipends and more.
While perks like this have taken off in popularity — and not just locally — we wanted to uncover some of the more unique perks across Austin tech. These five companies weighed in.
No pointless meetings
With plenty of space — specifically 50,000 square feet — Opcity has been able to extend its laundry list of perks. Their new office hosts daily catered lunches in its industrial kitchen and boasts other onsite amenities, like a fitness facility, car washes, massages, a disk golf course, free soda and coffee, a Grab and Go Market for snacks, and adjustable, ergonomic desks for all employees. But none of these compare to what Opcity’s marketing director Michael Chorazak called their most interesting perk.
What is Opcity’s most unique perk?
This is more of a cultural perk versus something we explicitly offer, but we hate pointless meetings and aim to keep internal meetings to an absolute minimum. We’ve all worked at companies where you’d literally have meetings to talk about future meetings or have so many meetings during the day that your real work day would start once you got home. That doesn’t happen here. We move fast and don’t waste anyone’s time.
How does your team uphold this?
As a company, it’s recognized that the only way to attain the vast opportunities in front of us is with a strong bias towards action. In fact, “take action” is one of our core values. Transparency and a laser focus on our mission allow us to spend less time debating what we could or should be doing, and more time doing what we need to achieve our goals. We look for creative self-starters that eschew politics and can collaborate and solve problems quickly.
What's the feedback been regarding the “no pointless meetings” approach?
New team members are often surprised at how open their calendar is most days of the week, and how much they can get done in a day. After a month of this, it’s impossible to imagine going back to a meeting stacked-day. An added benefit of this is that we actually have a lot more manageable inboxes. So much more can be accomplished in a five minute conversation than a series of emails, and fewer hour-long meetings make that possible.
The birthday freebie
LegalZoom treats employees to a slew of perks, including team outings, sports days and parties, and an “every-day-is-casual-day” attire policy. Kristy Smith, a senior corporate recruiter at LegalZoom, said beyond perks likes the office’s onsite gym, free living trusts and stocked kitchen, one perk tends to generate the most buzz.
What is LegalZoom’s most unique perk?
One of the benefits of being a "Zoomer" is knowing that you'll be well taken care of. In addition to competitive salary packages, we offer benefits that go beyond the basics, like taking a day off just because it's your birthday.
Why does your company offer the birthday perk, and what has the feedback been?
It’s their birthday, and we think that alone deserves a day off during their birthday month. Our future and current Zoomers are always pleasantly surprised, and we’ve gotten a lot of, “I’ve never known an employer to have this perk!” It’s awesome that we do.
Rachel Wright, the operations coordinator at Square Root, said the company’s Learn Anything program is by far its most unique perk. This program entails providing each Square Root employee with $3,000 a year to use toward anything that involves learning — emphasis on the “anything.” Wright said the allowance could be spent on, for example, barista classes, history books, coding conferences or photography equipment.
Why does your company offer a perk like this?
We put a lot of value in the love of learning. One of our core values, “thrive,” is all about providing an environment that makes space for individuality and authenticity. The Learn Anything program reinforces that value by giving our team an opportunity to spend time learning things that interest them, whether they’re related to work or not. We also believe that providing resources to help Radicals grow, both personally and professionally, benefits the company as a whole. The more our team can grow individually, the more growth potential we have as a company.
What's the employee feedback been on the Learn Anything program?
Radicals love their Learn Anything budgets. It’s been a great outlet for our team to explore passion projects they set aside years ago or hobbies they’ve just discovered. We enjoy chatting with potential recruits about what they’d spend their Learn Anything budget on if hired. It gives us insight into where their passions lie and how they would continue to grow if given tangible resources to do so.
In addition to the Learn Anything program, what are some of Square Root’s other perks?
We’re proud of all of our perks at Square Root, but some of our favorites are the ones that help Radicals (our spin on employees) get involved and connect with each other. Our twice weekly boot camp on the lawn is one of those. We also love our monthly “knitting” program, which gives Radicals an opportunity to share a passion of theirs with the team — so far we’ve learned about slam poetry, woodworking and fostering puppies, just to name a few. Our quarterly volunteer days are another way we ensure Radicals can devote their time to causes that are deeply important to them.
Extensive internship and mentoring program
Michael Cohen, VP of marketing at eRelevance, said as a result of employees requesting new professional development opportunities, the company recently introduced an internship and mentoring program. The program helps entry level employees build new skills while strengthening the leadership qualities of senior employees.
What is eRelevance’s most unique work perk?
This year, we developed an employee internship and mentoring program in which entry-level employees work directly with senior staff members on projects outside their day-to-day responsibilities to develop core skills and skills diversity. Each “internship” lasts three months, at which time the employee can choose to continue on a project and dive deeper, or move on to explore additional skills and business functions. Employees in the program are given specific goals related to the projects and receive monetary bonuses for achieving them.
What's the feedback been since implementing the program?
Feedback from both mentors and interns has been extremely positive. It’s helping to broaden employees’ perspectives on the business and identify skills, interests and proclivity toward leadership that may not have been revealed otherwise. As a result, it’s developing a “farming system” for internal promotions as the company continues to grow quickly in a competitive job market.
What are some of eRelevance's other perks?
To fuel creativity, our employees have unlimited access to a fully stocked kitchen with countless breakfast, lunch and snack options. To recharge, we offer company-paid, on-site massages and yoga and relaxation classes. Monthly, our CEO and leadership team talk business strategy and listen to employee feedback over pizza, beer and wine. Several times a year, we leave the office for off-site team-building and special events.
Mood Media provides mood-enhancing solutions to help create memorable customer experiences. One of its solutions relies on the emotional effects associated with music. This passion for music shows up not only in its solutions, but also within the office. Scott Moore, Mood Media’s global SVP of marketing and creative content, filled us in on the company’s most unique perk: a monthly concert series.
What is Mood Media’s most unique perk?
Our Austin headquarters has some unique perks in that we occasionally bring musicians and artists into our office to play for employees. Additionally, this past summer we began hosting Mood Live, a monthly concert series for employees that featured up and coming Austin artists in partnership with the Austin Music Foundation. We are currently in the planning stages for Mood Live's second season, which we should have more details on soon.
Why does your company offer these types of opportunities?
It’s something we’re really proud of, as it helps us support the local music community, and fosters a sense of community, connection and fun among all of our local staff. Plus, it makes sense for us that most of our perks are tied to music, as Mood designs playlists for the world’s leading retailers, hotels, restaurants and more. Our employees are soaked in music culture.
What’s the feedback been regarding the ongoing live music shows?
We’ve received amazing staff feedback regarding our Mood Live series. A lot of what we’ve heard highlights how this helps us to get out of our offices and do something together that most Austinites live for: listening to live music.