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Perks and bennies steal the spotlight – and talent

The new-hire talent pool is sizzling again in Silicon Valley, which means company perks are trending more than ever to attract and retain the best of the best employees.

With financial packages combined with a series of one-off lifestyle perks, it’s not a surprise that satisfaction levels, engagement and productivity (and let’s not forget internal camaraderie), are hitting the roof. Today’s expectations are good pay, traditional health insurance and retirement plans, but equally important are the refreshed lifestyle perks that are sealing new talent commitments.

A few years ago, Google led the way with its quirky and colorful interiors, incredible onsite free food and spa-like amenities. But today, both established companies and startups need to dig deeper and be more creating when it comes to lifestyle perks. Following are some of the freebies luring the top talent and impressing workforces across the US:

Mobile computing company Bluebird offers lessons in standup comedy or the chance to be James Bond for a day including the rented tux, skydiving and a lesson on how to make the perfect martini.
Mobile computing company Bluebird offers lessons in standup comedy or the chance to be James Bond for a day including the rented tux, skydiving and a lesson on how to make the perfect martini.

Software company Domo gives pregnant employees US$2,000 for maternity clothing.

Sindeo Mortgage assists employees with low-cost home loans and deeply discounted fees.

Online real estate database Zillow offers free overnight shipping home of breast milk from nursing moms on business trips.

Financial services company Robinhood offers a liquid cheese machine in its kitchen to top nachos with.

Office supplies store Staples offers vampire-themed games to get employees excited about money-management and investing in a 401(k).

Consultancy Deloitte offers two sabbatical programs, of one month and three to six months.

Credit Karma employees can relax in the financial management company’s “Jam Room,” complete with soundproofing, drums, guitars and amplifiers.
Credit Karma employees can relax in the financial management company’s “Jam Room,” complete with soundproofing, drums, guitars and amplifiers.

On-demand gas startup Filld gives discounts on fuel and sometimes free gasoline.

Nutrition app Zipongo gives a free dietary assessment of employees’ nutritional levels and a personalized meal plan.

Facebook and Apple give female employees the option of freezing their eggs.

Pet-sitting network Rover offers three comp days of bereavement leave to employees for the passing of their pet.

American Express offers five months paid parental leave. Ikea offers four months paid parental leave.

Crowd-funding company Tilt offers a free plane ticket anywhere in the world after the first year on the job.
Crowd-funding company Tilt offers a free plane ticket anywhere in the world after the first year on the job.

Microsoft offers US$800 for a fitness reimbursement program.

News service Scripps offers pet health insurance for employees’ cats and dogs.

Southwest Airlines offers counseling services for stress and relationships.

It’s apparent the Silicon Valley perk wars have boosted a return of “bennies” trend across the country.

What are some of the more creative perks you’ve heard of in the hospitality industry?

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