Pay and standard benefits lead the list of requirements for job seekers, according to a 2022 Gallup Poll. In fact, 64% of respondents listed the category as “very important,” making it a key factor in employee retention for 2022. But is offering competitive wages enough? Not anymore.

Job seekers are also paying close attention to the extras. Utah tech companies have made a name for themselves in the way of pluses. For example, some offer serene benefits such as in-house massages or yoga sessions. Others focus on paid parental leave and remote work options. Don’t forget the fully stocked break rooms, foosball tables and hoverboards. Throw in a private concert with a superstar and you have some serious swag to compete with.

Does that mean your small business needs to offer a night at the circus or host the hottest comedian in town? Not necessarily, although it wouldn’t hurt if you want to host a retreat at your beach house in Hawaii.

Work hard, play hard

According to the Gallup poll, 61% of workers said they strongly value a work-life balance. But what exactly does that entail? In short, it means employees want to feel fulfilled in both their personal and professional lives. While at work, they are energized by what’s ahead. But when it’s time to clock out, they can easily switch gears. And when it’s time to relax, they have hobbies or activities to help rejuvenate them. 

Paying top dollar is no longer the only way to be one of the best companies to work for in Utah. Employers need to look at their workers’ overall needs. Finding a way to aid that balance can make the difference between a happy workforce and one that is constantly scanning job boards.

Bloom, not doom

Employees also want to work in an environment where they will thrive, not burn out. How can an employer encourage that, while still keeping everyone productive?  

  • Set reasonable work expectations. Especially when working from home, it can be difficult to know when you are “done.” Help employees set weekly — or even daily — goals, so they can feel they have finished their work.
  • Promote good health. Wellness programs such as fitness challenges — physical or mental — can make prioritizing healthy living enjoyable. Stress and burnout are some of the top reasons people walk away, so it’s beneficial for everyone to offer easily accessible health resources. 
  • Encourage time off. Paid time off gives employees a chance to recharge their batteries, as well as take care of personal obligations. A 2022 Harris Poll found that 50% of workers surveyed would forgo higher pay for a job with unlimited PTO. That doesn’t mean they want to take weeks off at a time. Instead, they feel like it's OK to attend their kids’ school programs. Whether they want to is still up to them.
  • Offer a flexible work schedule. A study conducted by Future Forum in 2022 found nearly 93% of work staff want the option to set their own schedule. Morning people might appreciate getting started at 7 a.m., while others find they are most productive later in the day. Some might do best splitting the day up into blocks of work periods.
  • Stock up on snacks. The candy dish on the receptionist’s desk no longer cuts it. Have a selection of healthy and fun snacks, as well as drinks, available in the break room for days when people are in the office. It creates a place to build camaraderie and encourages employees to stay on site.


Work from home

One of the most significant transformations in the workplace has been the change in work space, of course. Many workers have learned to love working from home, while others have been happy to return to the office. What people don’t want? A return to the traditional office setup. 

The Gallup poll found 59% of employees surveyed prefer a hybrid work environment, while only 9% want to return to the office full time. That doesn’t mean workers want to abandon the office altogether. It is still considered a place for team building and collaboration on special projects.

Little things

Whether working from home or in an office, employees appreciate the extras. Small business owners may not be able to afford the major perks — annual company trip, anyone? — but little things can make a difference. Utah Business magazine’s annual list of the best companies to work for in Utah asks what personnel love. Along with typical benefits such and medical and dental plans, common extras include:


  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Swag/prizes
  • Gym memberships
  • Casual dress policy
  • Mentoring
  • Free lunches
  • Tickets to events
  • Friendly competitions


Safe and sound

While the extras are fun, even more important to employees is feeling safe. For example, a Utah tech company seems like a promising place to work because it will keep growing. There will likely always be a job there and even chances for advancement. 

Indeed, 53% of those surveyed by Gallup said they would seek new employment if it offered greater stability and job security. People want the chance to grow within a company, and the security to know they will have a job in the future. Rumors of downsizing and cutbacks do not promote confidence. As a business owner, ask yourself, “Will an employee feel like there is job security with my company?” If the answer is no, don’t be surprised when people begin to jump ship and start paddling toward Silicon Slopes.

Allow feedback

How do you know if your best laid plans are working? Feedback platforms are a simple way to keep your finger on the pulse of workers. Is there something about company culture that annoys them? Do they have ideas for team building? Are they concerned about how a new policy will be implemented? 

An open channel where they can voice concerns or ideas is a valuable way to identify the general atmosphere. This could be done with a virtual complaints box or a message board. Keeping communication open can go a long way in creating a contented workforce and reducing employee turnover.

End result

Leaving a job to pursue a better opportunity is not uncommon, so you can’t expect all your hires to be lifers. However, you can make your business a positive place to land if you want to improve your employee retention rate. Keep in mind what they value rather than focusing solely on productivity and profits. 

Competitive pay is a must, but also consider adding perks, encouraging a positive work-life balance and seeking feedback. Maybe even throw in an afternoon of axe throwing. It shows employees that you are aware of their needs, and that you aren’t out to create a modern-day sweatshop. 

Use KSL Jobs to list your next job opportunity. There, you can include all the details about your company’s positive work environment, essentials and extras.