I’ve been in the dentist’s chair two times in the last two weeks. There’s one scheduled for next week, too. Ugh. This exercise is tough on the teeth, but even more wearing on the wallet. Of course I could never really tell the latter to my colleagues who work within the walls of a formal workplace, where life in the bullpen and dental benefits are business as usual.

No ma’am, I wouldn’t dare utter a word of these woes of mine. Doing so would risk a barrage of comments like, “Well you get to work in your pj’s,” and, “At least you can make an appointment for any time you want.” True. Can’t argue with that. “But at least you get benefits,” I’d retort, using in my inside voice.

What does that mean, anyway — benefits? As Cyndy Trivella said in last night’s #TChat, “doggie daycare reimbursement and free dry-cleaning no longer cut it,” especially when career perk couture includes in-office massages and a workplace Nintendo Wii. Organizations are no longer in a war for talent. No, that would be too obvious; they’re instead operating in stealth mode, ninja recruiting with weapons of mass relaxation.

Innovation and entrepreneurship paired with good old-fashioned hard work have created a new era of “fringe” benefits. When I say fringe, I mean like the sci-fi TV show, where each episode unfolds another twist in the mystery of unexplained phenomena. In the real world, sci-fi is replaced by “start-up” and is a matter of fact.

As an entrepreneur I get that I won’t be able to access the Area 51 of benefits. This is my reality — but I also get some pretty sweet perks… like having a voice. Despite all the fancy tricks organizations are throwing around these days, it seems like they aren’t necessarily getting Recognition 101: Listening right. At least that’s what the #TChat community told us last night.

So the not-having-a-dental-plan thing isn’t sounding all that terrible now. I almost feel guilty saying I also get to travel to fantastic places on occasion (my recent Bermuda tan is a dead giveaway). And then there’s my upcoming trip to Chicago in early August for the 2012 Illinois State Society for Human Resource Management Conference.

OK, technically we’ll be outside of the city, but it’s to collaborate with TalentCulture co-founders Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to host a live #TChat, so it’s still awesome. We’ll be part of the perk that the conference is (for many). And literally, we’ll be giving people a voice — a mic, speaker, the whole shebang — on a topic that’s about giving talent a voice (again, literally).

After all, that’s what its about — creating the space to ask what #TChat-ter and thought leader Vala Afshar says are the most important questions: “What do you think?” and “How can I help?” Then, its up to us, all of us, to “listen loudly.”

Community is the collective voice of #TChat and you exercised your voice last night, as you do every week. Thank you! To see what we mean, check out the slide show below. If you missed the preview, you can read it here. Stay tuned for additional information on our exciting collaboration with #ILSHRM12 and more, and if you’re attending, be sure to give us a shout-out in the stream and in person!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

 [javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-give-me-a-break.js?template=slideshow”]

#TChat INSIGHTS: Give me a Break

#TChat INSIGHTS: Give me a Break

Storified by TalentCulture · Wed, Jul 18 2012 17:35:41

Only 60 minutes until #TChat! Preview: http://su.pr/1YbqQe http://pic.twitter.com/H4sC7lAC #workflex #usguysTalentCulture
Here I am w/ @ittechexec getting ready for back-2-back #tchat & #tcfchat gr8 forums for our techies! http://pic.twitter.com/7bCraow3rezlady
Q1: Extreme perks—are these examples of strong #leadership or something else (or both)? #TChatSalima Nathoo
A1: Don’t really have 1st hand recent experience with EP’s but would think in recovering economy it is necessary for retention. #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Extreme perks are a way for employers to be competitive and attract the best. Look at Silicon Valley’s competition for coders #tchatBright.com
A1: They are great examples of ways orgs try to put employees first in order to retain them & keep the environment comfortable #tchatJoshua Barger
A1: EP can be a short term fix but when the well runs dry, what is your next trick? #tchatJen Olney
A1: extreme persk seem to be more of a recruiting strategy I think. Candidates are in limited, well..the ones that comp want #tchatPlatinum Resource
A1 It seems the motivation behind “extreme perks” reflects the strength (or not) of the leadership ~ does that make sense? #tchatCASUDI
A1: In the right circumstance, both. If ur bribing an unhappy employee then no, if ur rewarding ur team then, yes #TChatBrandie McCallum
A1: Leadership has to be on board, friend has a 4 story slide @ his work, if ldrship didn’t encourage that it’d never exist! #tchatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A1 Workplace perks don’t have to be ‘extreme’ to be effective. Start w/”thank yous” and work up. #tchatSam Fiorella
A1: Opposite is not true: No EP’s does not necessarily indicate weak leadership. #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Compensation comes in many forms beyond cash. #tchatRob McGahen
A1 Not my area of expertise-but I would say this trend is the result of smart and innovative leadership/staying ahead of the curve. #TChatJanine Truitt
A1: With strong demand for extremely specialized skills, it’s strong leadership to offer extreme perks to attract and rtn these folks #tchatRichard S Pearson
A1: Extreme Perks can be seen as good leadership because they just want to make sure that they keep the the best employees #tchatJumpstart HR
A1 EP are good ex’s of strong, along w/ innovative, leadership & culture imo. Strong bc they recognize importance of ee’s #TchatClaire Crossley
YES! MRT @CzarinaofHR: A1 I would say this trend is the result of smart and innovative leadership/staying ahead of the curve. #TChatCyndy Trivella
A1. Leaders should be compensated/pai d well but have the sense to know what is too much #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A1: It seems such perks started as a way to reward best talent: Good Leadership! Have perks become the only way? Sustainable? #tchatMark Salke
A1 With cash compensation being scarce…it’s only natural that orgs find other innovative ways to reward & retain their employees #TChatJanine Truitt
Focus on retention not just attraction! MT @JumpstartHR: A1: EP good leadership b/c they want to make sure to keep the best employees #tchatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A1: It depends, sometimes extreme perks can be an example of poor #leadership, in other cases they are #motivating. #tchatBusinessWorldRising
A1:both? seems like some “perks” are really just treating ppl like adults w a brain & not worker bots who shd feel lucky 2 b employed #tchatErin Hommeland
#TChat a1: people spend a lot of time at work these days, EPs can attract candidates because their employer can make life a little easierAshley Lauren Perez
A1: Extreme perks = tricks often used 2 get ppl hired and keep them, but don’t look behind the curtain, Dorothy! #TchatStephen Van Vreede
A1 – I personally think paid for education, paid training courses, heath and fitness related perks are best – help emp. and co. grow #tchatRichard S Pearson
+1RT @JumpstartHR A1: Extreme Perks can be seen as good leadership becoz they just want to make sure they keep the the best employees #TChatPadma Mohanram
A1: If co can’t afford EP’s it is def not leadership. Incentives can be special T-shirt or coffee mugs. Attention is appreciated #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Torn on this one — how do #leaders look when times get tough & they must scale back the extreme perks? #TChatBrent Skinner
A1: Extreme perks on 1 side show desire to retain. On the other lack of sincere work ethic. #TchatBeverly Davis
A1: Ham at Christmas, turkey at Thanksgiving–not extreme perks but employees thought giver was best boss ever #TchatCareer Action
A1: Nothing beats the feeling of surprising an employee with an extreme perk #TChatSean Charles
A1: Supply donuts on Friday morning and watch “sick day” numbers drop!! #tchatSam Fiorella
A1: shows generosity and investing in the employer beyond just short term. #tchatPlatinum Resource
A1 Leaders keep an ear to the ground & know what would work in their culture as well as what is being done across their industry #TChatJanine Truitt
A1: Extreme perks can back fire. Give 2 much 2 soon & expectation for future rewards can get out of whack #TChatSean Charles
A1 “Extreme perks” may not necessarily be the ones most valued by employees. Leaders need to know what’s valued. #tchatJoe Sanchez
A1 Life is so busy for ee’s- an org that offers possibilities that will make life easier is bound to be the employer of choice #TChatJanine Truitt
Q2: Most of the economy is lagging. Is the tech market really all that different? What’s driving the generosity? #TChatSalima Nathoo
A2: The ever growing and changing demand for the next best thing is driving the generosity #tchatBusinessWorldRising
A2: Has to do with income and profitability. Tech usually leads and talent costs more. #TChatTom Bolt
A2 imo, budget alignment due to culture/sector difference. Recruiting & hi-turnover costly; spend $$ on retaining ee’s #TchatClaire Crossley
A2: If generosity becomes seen as entitlement it will be difficult to cut out EP’s when things go sour. #TChatTom Bolt
A2 Current generosity is a focus on keeping the best talent IMO > not all bad! #tchatCASUDI
A2: BIG Perks are a result of BIG competition, not BIG corporate generosity. #justsayin #tchatSam Fiorella
A2 – I’d suggest part of the generosity is that the industry grew in a new generation; more trad biz r trying to figure it out. #tchatJudi Samuels
A2: Just following up to Q1, really I think it’s a tool to stand out and attract the best talent. The benefits pay for themselves #tchatJoshua Barger
A2: #tech market can’t decide if there’s a talent shortage in US. Definitely is for select tech #jobs, so comps attracting talent #TchatStephen Van Vreede
A2: Perhaps lots of lessons learned from the tech bubble bursting. People are being smarter. #tchatRob McGahen
#TChat a2: they understand that all ppl r different and try to be innovative about offering alternative work environments. They take chancesAshley Lauren Perez
A2: It’s the People in the Tech Market that are differ, they are more creative, kno their staff #TChatBrandie McCallum
A2: Tech is 1 industry that is resistant to fluctuations in economy. A driving force for the economy & therefore makes its own rules #tchatP
latinum Resource
A2. If you got big profits – you can have big perks #NoProblem #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A2: I suspect market for talent is like any other… supply and demand drives pricing (comp and perks) #tchatCLOUDTalent
A2 Many orgs are turning to tech to improve inefficiencies and manual processes in an effort to streamline and get lean #TChatTeala Wilson
A2. #tech market is diff for ppl w/much needed, hard-2-find skills. Comps aren’t being generous; their eager to attract/retain. #tchatSheree Van Vreede
A2: In short, market forces driving #tech job market and perks offered. Always pesky fundamental truth of supply vs demand #TchatStephen Van Vreede
A2: It’s risk & reward – I’m willing to invest in big perks now so that EE productivity will pay them off in the long run #tchatBright.com
A2 The generosity in tech is driven by the in demand jobs and the cream of the crop talent they have to attract. #TChatJanine Truitt
A2: The tech market is always in demand and if they want to retain their employees, they have to be generous #tchatJumpstart HR
A2: It’s more about recognition. Recognize that ppl want to be appreciate in diff ways. Regularily. We make you $$ so pay it forward #tchatPlatinum Resource
A2 A lot of tech ppl worked for companies that sucked & didn’t appreciate the nerds, so they started a company and made it awesome #tchatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A2. Generosity seems to be an outcome of the evolution of sustainable employee engagement #TChatSalima Nathoo
A2: Creativity in tech is knowing what makes your folks tick, doesn’t have to be large, just has to inspire #tchatJen Olney
A2: Generosity comes from shortage of developers & engineers w very specialized skillsets: simple supply & demand despite bad economy #TchatWendy Beecham
A2: Money! People with big pockets are still investing heavily in Tech right now #Oracle #SalesForce #TChatSean Charles
A2: Tech industry knows how to tailor their perks. As long they are specific & relevant they are seen as generous. Pass the donut plz #tchatPlatinum Resource
A2 The tech industry is a different animal altogether. They are an industry driven by innovation so their perks must follow suit. #TChatJanine Truitt
A2: Tech market needs highly skilled workers, who are therefore in high demand. So, yes, it’s def diff. #TChatBrent Skinner
A2 – best perk stock options!!! Surprising how they motivate and attract talent!!! #tchatRichard S Pearson
A2: Since the dot com boom days, extreme perks have become part of the fabric of this industry’s culture. Candidates expect them. #tchatDave Ellis
Q3: How can companies in a competitive market for talent exercise #innovation in attracting and retaining talent? #TChatSalima Nathoo
A3: Attracting: Fast-track the hiring process so that black holes don’t suck the life out of the program. #TChatTom Bolt
A2: Supply and demand. Tech talent is limited. Competition is therefore stiff. May the best indoor playground win! #TChatJoel Peterson
A2: big skills gap is killing jobs and economic growth but those with skills and their tech employers are quite well #tchatJohn T. Lawrence
A3: Retaining talent: Promote a culture that listens to employees and respond…even if the answer is no, say something. #TChatTom Bolt
THIS -> MRT @czarinaofhr: A2 Tech industry is diff animal altogether, an industry driven by innovation so perks must follow suit. #TChatBrent Skinner
A3: Offering an exciting and enjoyable workplace b/c they need to be able to picture themselves working there #tchatJumpstart HR
A3 Doing that extra for your employees whether EP or inspiring them to make a difference 🙂 Best perk= making a difference! #tchatCASUDI
A3 Perks can be costly but not always necessary if orgs are innovative; sometimes it *is* the small things that matter! #TchatClaire Crossley
A3: The key is to tailor your brand and your perks to the talent types you want to attract #tchatBright.com
A3 Letting go of old insecurities around how an ee should be rewarded. Employers need to be accepting and willing to bend a little. #TChatJanine Truitt
A3: Make an effort to fill the individual needs of the employee; Just b/c no one else uses MS Project doesn’t mean I don’t want it! #tchatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A3. Ignite innovation at the personal brand level. Hire those who identify themselves w/innovation then let them unleash it. #TChatSalima Nathoo
#TChat A3: have employees create and suggest their own perks and let them be awarded it when they reach goals they set or themselves & teamAshley Lauren Perez
A3: innovative co attract/retain talent by allowing employees, who are also customers, speak to what’s next for the co #TChatBeverly Davis
A3: Be creative, and generous, with compensation packages. People will love you. #tchatRob McGahen
A3: Maintain a culture that rewards… excellence, loyalty, teamwork, innovation etc. Not just perks for the sake of perks #tchatDave Ellis
A3: Being purposeful when hiring: look beyond skills to fit- if they really fit and are committed 2 mission= retention + loyalty #TchatWendy Beecham
Straight to my heart MT @CASUDI A3 Doing extra 4 ur ees whether EP or inspirng to make a difference 🙂 Best perk=making a difference #tchatDeb Maher
A3: Even if there are extreme perks, not being able to wake up and be excited to go to work would not retain even the best talent #tchatJumpstart HR
A3. To fuel innovation – we must excepting of failures #tchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A3: Employee involvement in the process is huge – if you are offering perks that no one takes advantage of – are they really perks? #tchatJoshua Barger
A3 Really get to know your target candidate. Show up in places they wouldn’t expect to find you (But dont be a creepy stalker either) #TChatTeala Wilson
A3: Create the culture that attracts talent to seek out your company, not just for $$ but for innovation and leadership #tchatJen Olney
A3: Priority 1: value existing emps + retention of top performers, elim of poor performers…then attracting easier, less frequent #tchatStephen Van Vreede
A3: Attracting top talent is automatic when you build company that people WANT to work for. Simple as that. #tchatSensei Marketing
A3: Monetary compensation is primary, but for #innovation in #retention & #engagement, think beyond $$$ #TChatBrent Skinner
A3 Many orgs expect ee’s to do more w/ less of everything from resources to compensation and as a result employees are less engaged. #TChatJanine Truitt
A3: Let your team know everyday that they matter. It’s all in the experience not the outcome. #TChat #YouMatterSean Charles
A3: attract – w/ benefits/value. retain – w/ continuous recognition & value in the process + perks sporadically = #happyemployee #tchatPlatinum Resource
A3: In some industries monetary only goes so far – for some, it’s the culture, environment, and engagement in unique projects #tchatBright.com
#tchat a3: ask candidates what attracts them to the company and build off of that.Ashley Lauren Perez
A3: Innovation ok but not really necessary. Pay fairly and treat ppl w/ excellence. What more is needed? #tchatStephen Van Vreede
A3 If you’re a company that can’t afford a perk let alone an extreme perk try saying “thank you” once in awhile. It still works. #TChatJanine Truitt
A3: Leadership needs to be on purpose. Recognize >> Reward >> Repeat! #TChatSean Charles
MRT @CzarinaofHR: A3 If U R at a CO that can’t afford a perks try saying “thank you” once in awhile. It still works. #TChat <#TrythisDave Ryan, SPHR
A3: flex work schedules, open workspaces, open communication, casual dress and be willing to
pay for the best when u find them #tchatJohn T. Lawrence
#TChat a3: even if I didn’t get hired by a company, I’d be willing to network w them if it meant giving them ideas to help them & employeesAshley Lauren Perez
Q4: A healthy economy begets dynamic compensation & benefits for employees. How does HR technology figure in? #TChatSalima Nathoo
A4: Flexible and responsive HR tech will keep employees in the know and comfortable with the culture. #TChatTom Bolt
A4: HR also needs to learn how to collect, analyze and deliver big data to upper management…not poss w/o tech. #TChatTom Bolt
A4: working remotely! Why this isn’t standard is beyond me. We have the tech & capability. Would solve a lot of unemployment #tchatPlatinum Resource
A4: Using HR tech for performance reviews that provide the best perks to employees that contribute most to company’s success #tchatJumpstart HR
A4: I don’t agree with statement that “healthy economy begets dynamic compensation & benefits…” Is that based in fact? #TchatStephen Van Vreede
A4 Through the magic of #hrtech HR gets to tie what they know about employees needs to the business strategy-good ol’ hr analytics. #TChatJanine Truitt
A4: #HRTech can help to retain your top talent through social recognition programs. #TChatSean Charles
A4: Companies can afford more expensive #hrtech solutions, e.g., mobile tech for retail floor worker recognition. #TChatBrent Skinner
A4: This is an interesting one – using big data to determine needs and to analyze utilization of existing benefits perhaps #tchatJoshua Barger
A4. You can’t outsource or techify/digify/socialize (yes I made up words) pure human incentive. Or can you? #TChatSalima Nathoo
A4: #HR should be careful not to hide behind #tech. Easy to disengage from ppl #TchatStephen Van Vreede
A4: social 360 perf review program floats best talent to the top, kills good ol’ boy culture and inspires all #tchatJohn T. Lawrence
A4: It improves the work environment beyond compensation for all. #tchatRob McGahen
A4: HR Tech should include internal social networks for productivity, retention…& eventually new acquisitions. #tchatSam Fiorella
Q5: Are we cruisin’ for a bruisin’? Or is extremism in perks this time different than last time? Why or why not? #TChatSalima Nathoo
A5: Diff because not all companies are enjoying improved business or recovery from recession. #TChatTom Bolt
@SocialSalima A5: extremism is never a good position. #tchatSven Tilburg @ 40FS
A5: BTW, high profile executives with visible unrealistic perks are not good practice in any time. #TChatTom Bolt
A5: Bruisin comin…History teaches 1 thing…that we fail to learn from our mistakes =) #TchatStephen Van Vreede
A5: Comps. are conscious of the budget implications of these perks. If it becomes too much and not maintainable, things can be cut #tchatBright.com
A5: For some companies EP are about looking good NOT being good, they need to reflect the good culture not lack of #tchatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A5 Balance is necessary. Re: perks I think consistency is a must but over-rewarding is against the law of human conditioning. #TChatJanine Truitt
A5 imo, not extreme only rare & culture-based. Signing bonus (as @DebAMaher ment’d) costly but different perk & culture #TchatClaire Crossley
A5: Hopefully orgs have learned to do more with less since 2008 and make attractive perks w/out putting them in the red #tchatJoshua Barger
A5: *Extreme Recognition* is the silver bullet. Without it $$$ will only take you so far #TChatSean Charles
A5 Companies are stretching ee’s too thin and haven’t even scratched the surface of offering proper perks. Let’s get back to basics! #TChatJanine Truitt
A5: Perhaps because the rest of the economy is struggling, that thought will linger in perk extremists’ minds. #TChatBrent Skinner
A5: Co that do good always do better. Focus on doing good and you will grow big. Focus on being big and you’ll be so big you’ll fail #tchatBeverly Davis
A5 What is considered an extreme perk? This would change depending on diverse backgrounds and values #TChatTeala Wilson

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