- Software-maker Qualtrics is giving each employee $1,500 per year to spend on experiences that they wouldn't otherwise do or be able to afford.
- So far, some employees have swam with sharks, skiied the Austrian Alps, trekked the Great Wall of China, and completed acts of charity abroad.
- Millennials, who make up the majority of Qualtric's workforce, prefer new perks and benefits over a pay raise, surveys have shown.
Millennials have a reputation as the "job-hopping" generation. In 2016, a Gallup poll revealed that 21% of millennials said they changed jobs within the past year (more than three times the number of non-millennials who reported the same), and 60% are open to new opportunities.
As a result, companies are hatching creative solutions to keep their millennial-aged workers on the company's payroll longer, from providing paid time off for exploring nature to on-demand career coaching.
Qualtrics, a company whose software allow enterprises and researchers to gather data that help improve their customer, employee, and brand experiences, may take the cake in providing over-the-top company perks for its roughly 1,700 employees based in Provo, Utah; Seattle, Washington; and abroad.
In January, Qualtrics began giving each employee $1,500 to spend on an experience "they wouldn't normally be able to have." So far, some employees have swam with sharks in the Galapagos, skiied the Austrian Alps, trekked the Great Wall of China, and delivered books to children in the Philippines.
To qualify, workers must be full-time employees who've been with the company for at least a year. There's no travel itinerary or application required; employees are free to spend the money as they wish.
"We don't tell you what to do. We just want to say we helped you cross something off your bucket list," said Mike Maughan, Qualtric's head of brand growth and customer insight.
For millennials, it's all about the perks
Americans, for better or worse, are spending more and more of their waking lives at work. Millennials in general work more hours, forfeit more vacation days, and retire much later than previous generations. They also make less money than their parents did at the same age.
According to career site Glassdoor, more than half (57%) of all workers said perks and benefits are among the top things they consider when deciding whether to accept a job. Nearly 90% of younger employees ages 18 to 34 said they would prefer new or additional benefits over a pay raise.
"Benefits and perks matter because they're an added piece of the total compensation puzzle," Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor's career trends analyst, told Business Insider's Rachel Gillett.
Founded in 2002, Qualtric's entire business is centered on helping companies satisfy their customers. Major airlines use Qualtric's software to gather customer flight feedback and create experiences that surprise and delight fliers, while retailers use Qualtrics to help them launch targeted ad campaigns, conduct pricing studies, and understand how customers are using their mobile sites.
"We work on experience management all day long," Maughan said, adding that the new "experience bonus" shows employees that "this company walks the walk."
In addition to the experience bonus, Qualtrics offers its employees fully paid healthcare for their families, 401K matching, catered lunches that bring workers across teams together at the communal tables, and "swag bags" delivered twice annually with the latest Qualtrics gear.
Qualtrics isn't the first to offer a travel stipend as a company perk. Airbnb gives its employees an annual allowance of $2,000 to travel and stay in an Airbnb listing anywhere in the world.
Roughly 80% of Qualtric's employees are millennials born between 1982 and 2000, according to Maughan. He said the new perk was not motivated to keep millennials around, though it's an obvious benefit.
"I think we're very aware of the [workforce] trends relating to millennials," Maughan said. He added: "The primary motivator is that we genuinely care about our employees. We want to make sure we're providing them with an opportunity that they really want to do and that they wouldn't do otherwise."
So far, 668 Qualtric employees have taken advantage of the experience bonus in 2018.
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