Give Me a Break! #TChat Preview

What is reflexology? The centered and (or) Eastern-tuned might know. Before today, I didn’t. So, as a service to the TalentCulture community, I looked it up. Here you go. Most of us would benefit from reflexology. That makes me think of yoga. One of these days, I’m going to sign up for Bikram Hatha yoga again; it’s been nigh on 10 years since I tried yoga.

Maybe, if I were to wind down my consultancy and seek work at a high-tech start-up in Silicon Valley (or America’s Technology Highway or the Mile-High City), my new employer would pay for my yoga classes, or even offer yoga at company headquarters—on-demand, during office hours, with an onsite instructor also on my employer’s payroll.

“Paid, Paid Vacation”

Are you interested in a paid vacation? No, not paid days off—amateurs! No, are you interested in receiving several thousand dollars on top of your salary, for the express purpose of taking a vacation, during which, you promise your employer, you will not check in on work—not once, not at all? Yes, that’s real, and it’s what Denver, Colo.-based high-tech company FullContact calls $7,500 for “paid, paid vacation.”

That’s a break that’s paid and paid. That’s a great break. Please give me one. A recent Inc. Magazine article offers additional examples of perks yet again gone wild in the high-tech sector. We’ve seen this before. During the late-nineties dotcom boom, in advance and right up to its bust, many a high-flying high-tech company now absent from the cannon built notoriety for the extreme perks offered and novel, desirable working conditions provided to employees, all in a grand overture or subtle hint to retain these employees as recruiters picked off competitors’ best talent as a matter of course.

A Tale of Two Job Markets

It’s supply and demand. It’s the rewards of a strong economy trickling down, all the way down, to the employee. It’s a respect for contributors whose contributions move the needle. And, as the supply of top talent diminishes, a higher percentage of talent already employed falls under the same category of top talent, and more and more talent imbibes in the fire hose–strength stream of ever more extreme and desirable reasons to stay where they are.

Think of it as retention and engagement for employees when just having a job isn’t enough to retain them and keep them engaged. Ultimately, it’s a win for employees—until the fire hose shuts off, the perks and bennies dry up, and employers become the short supply in high demand, not employees.

That latter scenario, by the way, is the case in most sectors of today’s economy. The tale of two job markets, in fact, is something #TChat trained its collective focus on last week. This week, we’re going to take a look at the upside of today’s economy’s two sides. Will we be smart about good fortune this time? If we are, we’ll take the best from the last uptick in tech jobs and their attendant perks, emulate those best-practices, and combine the ingredients with wiser business practices and an overall sobriety that says, “This, too, shall pass,” because booming and lagging economies both come and go—again, as a matter of course.

Extreme Perks: #TChat Edition

As always, we’ll be rocking the stream on Wednesday from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 pm CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are). Speaking of vacation, this week Meghan M. Biro is on hers, and Kevin W. Grossman is on his. Moderating #TChat will be our very own Salima Nathoo, Founder & Chief Igniter at GLOW Consulting. And fielding your tweets on the back channel will be Sean Charles and yours truly. Following are the questions that will guide our conversation. We can’t wait to bathe in the awesomesauce of your many, many tweets. See you there!

Q1: Extreme perks—are these examples of strong #leadership or something else (or both)?

Q2: Most of the economy is lagging. Is the tech market really all that different? What’s driving the generosity?

Q3: How can companies in a competitive market for talent exercise #innovation in attracting and retaining talent?

Q4: A healthy economy begets dynamic compensation & benefits for employees. How does HR technology figure in?

Q5: Are we cruisin’ for a bruisin’? Or is extremism in perks this time different than last time? Why or why not?