For US: Happy Hours, Oil Changes and “Furry Fridays”—The Latest Trends in Employee Perks

Wages are on the rise and so are opportunities for workers to score a free lunch, win a vacation, enjoy a flexible schedule or bring their dog to work. In the modern workplace where employers are fighting fiercely to recruit new employees and keep the ones they have, employee perks are becoming more important and more creative.

Express recently polled job seekers to find out what perks-other than pay raises and traditional benefits-matter to them and would make them want to stay at their jobs. More than half said remote work opportunities (61%) and flextime (58%). Other popular responses include student loan repayment or tuition assistance (40%), a relaxed dress code (38%), gym membership (37%) and vendor discounts (24%). Full results are below. Respondents were able to select multiple answers.

Express also polled business leaders about what perks they offer. Fifty-one (51%) said a relaxed dress code. Less than one-third (32%) said flextime and less than a quarter (24%) said remote work opportunities. Twenty-four percent (24%) said student loan repayment or tuition assistance, 20% said vendor discounts and 16% said gym memberships. Full results are below.

When it comes to job perks employers offer, Express Employment Professionals franchise owners have seen it all:

  • Happy hours
  • Free breakfasts
  • Catered lunches
  • Cruise vacation raffles
  • Point systems to win prizes
  • Monthly cookouts
  • Concierge services
  • Oil changes
  • Dry cleaning
  • Free or discounted child care
  • Counseling hotlines
  • Pet services
  • “Furry Fridays” or Bring Your Dog to Work Days


Jan Riggins, general manager of two Forth Worth, Texas, Express franchise locations, explains how perks relate to company culture.

“Companies offering these perks generally have a good culture and a pulse on the needs of the employees,” she said. I don’t think these cause the good culture, but rather are indicative of a good culture.

“Competition is pretty fierce for top talent,” she added. “And anything like this helps make the job offer more attractive to our job seekers.”

Tracy Underwood, an Express Oklahoma regional director, explains that “concierge services” are on the rise.

“Instead of a food delivery service, there is a company that fills up your car with gas,” she said. “Companies pay for it as a perk.”

Mike Brady, the franchise owner of the Jacksonville West Express office in Florida, says that perks can also be performance based.

“When the owner or upper management walk the floor, they give out gift cards when they catch an employee doing the ‘right’ thing, mostly safety related,” he said. “Employees can go to work anywhere. A good culture helps retain and attract good candidates. It’s not always about the money.”

Janis Petrini, the Express franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says, “We see everything from pet services to identity theft protection to daycare reimbursement. Nothing really surprises me because companies are delivering what they think is best for their culture.”

Petrini says she only expects the perks trend to accelerate because the persistent talent shortage is forcing companies to compete for employees.

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“Smart employers recognize that perks are essential. They reflect a good culture and can be the difference between high turnover and loyal employees,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. “Now’s the time to listen to employees and to get creative. It takes effort-but usually less effort than hiring a new team.”

The survey of 289 business leaders and decision makers was conducted in August 2019 through the Express Refresh Leadership blog. The survey of 254 job seekers was conducted in August 2019 through the Express Job Journey blog.

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