June 30, 2021

No One Cares About Your Ping Pong Tables


Episode Highlights

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I’m old enough to remember when ping pong tables, beer taps, free lunches, and nap rooms were great selling points. You know, things designed to make the office feel more like home.

But what’s everyone care about now? Actually being home.

Ok, maybe the nap rooms are still cool. But by and large, the pre-pandemic perks have been rendered meaningless. So what things should companies highlight now? Jeff Smith and James Hornick will sound off in the next 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 22, “No One Cares About Your Ping Pong Tables”

Episode Transcript

The 10 minute talent rant is live. I’m James Hornick, I’m joined by Jeff Smith and we are on the clock. The 10 minute talent rant is our ongoing series where we break down things that are broken in the talent acquisition and hiring space and maybe even pitch a solution or two. Before we dig in- we just launched our new content can be found on our media site, talentinsights.hirewell.com.


Everything’s there. It does look good. I can’t even- I can’t even trash. It looks good. It’s pretty sweet. Anyways, this week’s topic: no one cares about your ping pong tables and other nonsense perks. Jeff, you run our operations basically.  What sorts of perks are people asking for right now or not asking for right now?


I mean, that’s the million dollar question is- let’s go over what they’re not asking for right now. They do not care that you have a ping pong table, hence the title. They do not care that you have a foosball table. They do not care if you have a video game room. They do not care if you have beer taps or endless amounts of kombucha or LaCroix, which you literally need water just to live.


Such a good perk. We give you water. We give you water. We give you sustenance to nourish your own human body to continue forward. They don’t care about open office environments. They don’t care about collaboration. They don’t care about casual dress codes. Not perks. Yeah. These are not perks. And  I guess I’d also want to kind of classify perks.


I think there’s different perks. So these are, those are maybe the most nonsense perks. Then there’s like the make you not leave the office perks, right?  They’re not actually perks at all. They’re designed to make you work more. So like free lunch, okay. Yeah. We’ve had a lot of companies starting the free lunch thing when they realize that’s another hour people will have to be in the office when they give it to them.


But I mean, there’s some big corporate companies that they have their own onsite bank or credit union or dry cleaning and all these things, and yes, they make life easier but it also means you don’t have to leave early to go anywhere because they take care of these things.  That’s one, is the make you not leave the office perks, then you’ve got the forced fun perks.


I know these are your favorite. So all your onsite wellness events where- no offense to our yoga crowd- you know, the office yoga where you get to sweat in front of your colleagues without a shower, always great. All the team building activities and trust falls, you know what I mean? So like the forest fund is always a great.


Which people really love. Trust me on this one.  There are the stuff I don’t quite hate perks, you know what I mean? There’s like, if you’re going to pay for something I’m going to use anyway, sure. You know, it’s not going to make me take the job but if you’re going to pay for my gym membership, my transit benefits, whatever.


But we have to tear down how bad the perks are. Yeah. I side note, I did the yoga class once with some of you folks here at Hirewell and absolutely hated it. I’ll never do it again. Another one that I think is really interesting and I think the stigma, I think that the curtain has been pulled away as the unlimited PTO thing.


Like, can we just stop? Can we stop talking about unlimited PTO being a perk. It’s a scam.  Even if you’re not like consciously looking at it as a scam, the data is there. You want to do some more data driven storytelling James? The data suggests anybody that works at an unlimited PTO firm takes less PTO. The suits know it.


We know it, everybody knows it. It’s not a perk anymore.  Put a standardized PTO schedule into place. Make sure everybody knows what’s available and have it go from there. Like, I wonder if any of this was ever really effective, but like now nobody cares about this stuff.


I think the entry-level demographic kind of thought it was cool. I mean, I remember, you know, I was enticed by some of this stuff like razor scooters and being some sort of tech nerd running around my company for a little while. That’ll lure of something and then you realized six months in that it’s garbage. Yeah and now I’m a 40 year old dad, literally


and I don’t care about a ping pong table. Like I want to get home so I don’t get yelled at for not being there to feed my kid the extra bottle, right. And that’s really the whole thing. It’s like, all of these perks were designed to- if you’re selling these perks, the implication is you’re going to the office.


So it’s a thinly veiled way because that’s all that ever really was. It was like all of these perks were a way to make your office feel more like home, which all people care about now, now that they’ve had is being home more often. Yeah. And when remote was a perk, like when we were talking about it as like, Ooh, you can work remote


sometimes- there was always a catch. Hmm. There was either a tiered system based on tenure, or you had to hit some sort of absurd goal or you had to respond within like 17 seconds of somebody emailing you or you were 100% not working. There was always the veil, like passive aggressive, like I’m going to make sure you’re working, even though you’re sitting at home.


So let’s jump right through. Right now this is what we’re hearing from candidates that they actually care about right now. So money, working remote, tangible paid off time, paid policies. So unlimited PTO. We can talk about that maybe another rent entirely- you already kind of hit on at once here.


No questions asked for time off. Like right now I’ve mentioned I’ve shifted my view because I have some painting and stuff going on here and other things happening around the house. So, it’s no big deal, guys. You don’t need to get a clearance for it. Financial education maybe. You know, I think that’s still kind of on the table and again, money.


So that’s it. That’s all we were hearing about, people are caring about when they ask about “perks”. Did we say money? Yeah. But let’s talk about some actual perks and here’s some stories, here’s some narratives here. And we’re going to this is a shout out section. We have four shout outs we want to give.  People who we talked to or commented recently on some stuff where, as we’re talking about this.


So Lorenzo Esposito, great contact of mine, soccer player, professional soccer player, right. He’s played in Sweden before. He’s at that level where he still has a chance to make it big, but maybe not. So like he wants to still work a career, right. So, he was able to- this year he’s playing in the Swedish leagues professionally while still working for a US company because he can play in the morning.


The company was okay with him. Like that’s a perk. You get to still chase your dream while still doing digital marketing. Like you want to get people on?That’s the kind of stuff that I think people- that’s a real perk. Our newest hire on my team starts tomorrow. I’ll, keep it confidential until then


but corridor for years has an opportunity to go live in France for half a year with her significant other who’s also involved in professionals sports. No problem with that. And that’s what got her over the line, right. Yep. Got another one. So Chris Taylor, good friend of ours on LinkedIn threw this one out there.


Why not just make working remote easier? Pay for a maid.  I don’t have to clean my house then. You know what I mean? I’ll get more work done. That’s actually, I would love that personally. Like Grub Hub Stiped. Yeah. Yeah. Aaron risk threw out a good one too. Like we kept talking about making your offices feel like home.


Make your home feel like the office in some respects. Make the vice versa comfortable so that there isn’t a distinction between the two of them. I could use a better chair. Anyway, let’s talk fixes. We kind of already hitting on these a little bit now but ultimately what people learned in this past year, like they care about work but they care about being with their families more.


That’s really what is driving kind of all this remote thing. It’s not that people just want to work for remote, it’s just that you realize when you’re able to maximize your time and your personal time and not having spent up every night and evening doing other stuff. And you’re able to just kind of get there faster and organize that’s what people care about.


 They like their coworkers, like the office, like their work, like their families more. Yeah. Yeah. That’s true. Side hustles. Like who- this was the closest I’ve ever gotten to cussing on this. I mean, we wrote in there. Who gives a? I mean, if someone wants to sell rocks on that Etsy, let them sell rocks.


Like it’ll give them that creative outlet to push through you know, the annoying report that the customer’s asking for and they’ll be 10 times more motivated to do it because they’ve had the outlet. Like Britt and Em, shout out to you guys. We know you have side hustles, you’re killing it in those side hustles and you continue to kill it here.


Last thing, do the little things to make people’s lives a bit easier. You’ve got a calendar event, it’s 30 minutes. You don’t have to spend the entire 30 minutes talking. In fact, this is the 10 minute talent ramp, we’re at minute nine and we’re done. That’s it. I’m giving you guys your time back because I care.


That’s a wrap for this week. Thanks for tuning into the 10 minute talent rant, which is always available for replay on talentinsights.hirewell.com. Jeff, thanks again. Everyone out there. See you soon!


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