Most Outrageous Perks That Employers Offer In 2012

office perks corporate cultureBy Woodrow Aames

At a time when companies are struggling to recruit certain talent, established companies and startups alike know they have to dangle perks to lure recruits into the fold. And since free food and drink, stock options and yoga classes are no longer special, sometimes that means offering outrageous incentives.

In the '90s, I worked for a Silicon Valley startup that offered refrigerators stocked with food and drink, Ping-Pong tables, a weekly cruise, happy hours, dry cleaning service, Razor scooters for zipping around the building, casual dress, and flex-time schedules.

Today, that's barely the bottom-line offering for tech or financial sector employers. According to Forbes and CNN, many companies offer employees discounted or free massages and yoga, and perks like concierge service are no longer reserved for executives. Startups appear to have the most original perks, Mashable reports.

Sound too good to be true? You, too, could command these goodies if your skills are in demand:

  • Timberland, the outdoor outfitter company, offers workers a $3,000 subsidy as a down payment on a hybrid automobile.
  • Texas-based Container Store rewards employees for safe driving, giving out $5,000 for 10 years of flawless driving.
  • San Francisco startup Qwiki allows commuting employees to expense train tickets. The company will buy you a bike or cover your gas expenses.
  • If you work for S.C. Johnson, the company will change the oil in your car.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch offers its employees electric scooters for buzzing around the corporate campus.

  • Google offers employees breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for free at any of the 16 gourmet cafes on its campus.
  • Biotech giant Amgen Inc. cooks up health-conscious meals for employees' children dropped off at the company daycare. Employees also enjoy 16 paid holidays a year.
  • Microsoft employees can eat in one of the 14 restaurants and pubs located in a company mall that's replete with stores and banks.
  • Silicon Valley startup Asana provides workers with two organic home-cooked meals for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters.

Childbirth And Childcare
  • American Century Investments offers coverage for employee adoption expenses and fertility treatments up to $10,000 per year.
  • Amgen offers on-campus Lamaze and breastfeeding classes and lactation rooms for mothers.
  • Google reimburses moms $500 for takeout meals during the first three months after the child is born.
  • Eli Lilly allows pregnant workers to take a paid month off before the baby's due date.
  • Deloitte allows workers to check up on their kids in daycare via webcams.

  • Cliff Bar treats workers to a 40-foot bouldering wall, fitness center, dance studio, two massage rooms and a staff of certified trainers and nutritionists.
  • Pixar Animation Studios employees run on indoors or outdoors paths, train in the gym or swim in the outdoor pool.

Assorted Great Perks
  • S.C. Johnson gives retired employees lifetime memberships in its fitness center.
  • Outfitter Patagonia grants two weeks of full-paid leave to employees who want to volunteer for any green non-profit organization.
  • Steel processor Worthington Industries offers workers subsidized onsite haircuts for $4.
  • Jam maker J.M. Smucker grants employees a 100 percent college tuition reimbursement, with no ceiling.
  • Genentech sends ergonomics specialists to examine your work desk and gear to ensure you're comfortable.

Perks Especially For Carvers

Snowboarders rejoice! If all your company offers is 10 minutes to hustle down to the sandwich truck, you won't believe what Burton Original Snowboard Company of Vermont offers its workers:

  • Free season ski pass
  • Company skate park
  • Company closures when it snows 2 feet or more (so workers may go boarding)
  • Dog-friendly office
  • Company rides and ski trips.

If you could have any of these perks, which one would you choose?

Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network & Encarta, as well as tech savvy pieces for various computer schools. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.

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corporations must offer any perks they can, cause unlike a teacher, THEIR employees can like it or leave it. they too would like to keep them, but they can't exist through giveaways.

April 29 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't see what's so "Outrageous " about these perks. If these companies want to keep their employees happy, then by all means do so!

April 29 2012 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Phillip Klepper

These companies are not doing anything out of kindess. They are smart enough to realize that happy employees are more productive and make more money for their bosses. They can also retain good workers because companies today do not want to spend any money or time training anyone new. I am absolutely certain that they have a group of bean counters who do a cost/benefit analysis or every decision. Health care memberships or on-site gyms make sense because healthier workers take fewer days off and are more productive. On-site cafetarias also make sense because workers then spend more time doing their job. For example, if a company loses two million a year because workers need to leave early to pick up their kids from day care, and they can run their own day care system for one million a year, they simply choose the more fiscally advantageous route.

April 29 2012 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At least these companies are trying to lure talent by establishing value and using the free market. What are the other options? Union bullying to push inflated wages to the point where companies can't compete? I know widgets are important, but should we be paying their assemblers $50/hr? Should union bosses make $500k a year to complain about those who aren't looking out for the little guy?

April 29 2012 at 11:02 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ansonlytle's comment
Phillip Klepper

I would like to know where assembly line workers make 50 dollars an hour? Workers who build the Chevy Sonic make about $14 per hour. Most assembly line workers in the U.S. (yes, they are still some left) make between $8 and $12 per hour. Also, I have traveled extenssively and have discovered that countries that have strong unions, have a very strong middle class, very little poverty or wealth disparity, good public transportation, universal health coverage and excellent school systems. Countries without unions have extremely high unemployment, crushing poverty, very few opportunites, and a very small group of very wealthy individuals who own almost everything. Unions are not the enemy. My union boss makes about $90K a year for working between 14 and 16 per day, 6 or 7 days every week, but I guess you have no problem with people like Mitt Romney making a quater of a billion by buying up healthy companies, bankrupting them, firing thousands of workers (which he says he enjoys), and then carving up the assests like a Christmas Ham. Please, stop listening to the propaganda and outright lies of FOX NEWS and start looking at the facts.

April 29 2012 at 12:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You think these are outrageous?? How about the millions of dollars that Wall Street Brokerage firms dole out to their employees? how about the signing bonuses paid to star athletes or to [dare I say it?] useless CEO's? I think it's of credit to all these companies that these perks are offered to the rank and file employees. Far from being Marxists, rtutbucks, I think these guys are elitists.

April 29 2012 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dear Marxists,
If a private business wants to offer these perks, you have no say in it whatsoever. If you want to change these perks, I suggest to purchase enough stock in these companies so you have a vote and a say on how salary and perks are administered

April 29 2012 at 9:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

From one extream to the other. Many companies fire people who have worked with them long enough to recieve medical benifits and many more will hire people only as part time employees, to avoid paying any benifits at all. It's a shame that things aren't more equal. It's also obvious that the generosity of these companies is paid for by the total overpricing of their products, the "Little People" have to buy... As for massages, sleeping pods and free lunches, If i wasn't so stupid, to have retired a semi sucessful self employed person, I'd have worked for one of these companies and asked for the cash, instead of perks so lavish that these companies seem to have forgotten why we call it "Work"....

April 28 2012 at 9:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City provides botox treatments. A oil & gas company like it needs to spend money on its billions of debt. And cut everything out that is not absolutely needed.

April 28 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Doug Click

What happens when you fart in that dome thing?

April 27 2012 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My company also provides closure when it snows two or more feet!

April 27 2012 at 5:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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