How to Finagle the Workplace Perks You Truly Want

A survey reveals many employees love their jobs but don't feel appreciated for the work they do.

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While in most relationships people are reciprocal in their affection for one another, that’s not always the case for the employee/employer relationship. In a recent Virgin Pulse survey of more than 1,000 full-time U.S. employees, nearly 75 percent said they loved their companies, while only 25 percent felt their companies loved them back.

Why We Love Where We Work

Reasons for adoring an employer vary, but some from the survey include:

  • The employees felt they had interesting and challenging work
  • They liked their company’s mission and what it stands for
  • They love their co-workers
  • They have a flexible work schedule
  • They get great perks and benefits
  • They're paid well

The Feeling Isn’t Mutual

Despite many employees enjoying what they do and where they work, many don’t think their employers feel the same. But exactly how does a company show that it cares about employees?

The survey revealed many obvious answers, like managers showing more praise or offering better work-life balance. But surprisingly, money isn’t the only way employees feel appreciated. Great benefits like life insurance, maternity leave and 401k plans also make employees feel more cared for.

And it seems like some employers try but somehow miss the mark. While a company might think that nap time and weekly massages are what employees really want, the survey showed that most care more about services and benefits that help them maximize their quality of life, such as an on-site gym or healthier cafeteria options.

How to Get What You Want From Your Employer

If you’re one of those workers who feels underappreciated, don’t assume your only option is to jump ship. It is highly possible that your employer simply doesn’t know what you look for to feel acknowledged. A little dialogue about it can go a long way.

  • Talk to your colleagues. Are others feeling walked over, or are you alone? If you band together, you’ll be able to present a more solid case for what you all want from your company.
  • Brainstorm. What would your company look like in an ideal world? What perks would it offer? Now, in a realistic world (read: small budget), what would satisfy you? Maybe you’d love a dream gym in your building so you can work out on your lunch break, but you’d settle for a free pass to the gym down the street.
  • Make your case. Make a list of accomplishments you and your colleagues have made over the past year to show that you’re dedicated to the company's success. It’s easier to ask for something when you’ve proven that you’ve given in return.
  • Schedule a meeting. Bring a few of your co-workers (not so many that your manager feels bamboozled) and give a well-prepared presentation that explains how you collectively feel about the company, as well as your ideas to improve morale. Realize your manager may not have final approval on your ideas, and that you may have to be flexible in what results you get (that company sauna might not be a reality). Being open to conversation is what you really want.

Remember: you can’t always leave your workplace happiness in your employer's hands. Don’t be afraid to take measures into your own hands to get the results you want.