4 Chicago tech companies' perks that go way beyond free food

October 16, 2015

Technology companies are often celebrated for their unique approach to perks and benefits. Distancing themselves far from the grey flannel culture of the corporate world, tech companies often use perks as a way to invest in their human capital — to reward and celebrate the people behind cutting-edge innovation.

And sometimes, companies go far beyond what is expected to keep their employees happy. We sat down with four companies to hear the perks they offer that most of us only ever dream of.  

 

Performics Chi

What "out-of-the-box" perks do you offer your employees?

We do Bagels and Beer Fridays, and on Mondays we like to kick off the week with healthy food. We do a lot of lunch and learn training sessions, where our employees get free food to learn, and we contribute to Divvy memberships for our employees. One really exciting perk we do is called Manicube, which is an onsite opportunity for weekly manicures. In terms of where we stand in the marketplace, our time off policy is just awesome. Just starting, we have over seven weeks of time off, which encompasses corporate holidays, vacation, and flex time.

We also give back to the community. We match 100 percent of employee donations of up to $600 a year. One day a year, we shut down all of our global offices, and as a company go out into the community and give back together, which is really exciting. In addition, employees are given a day off to give back on their own. And we have a sabbatical for every ten years you work for Performics.

We also have a “Live My Life” program, where you physically get to go work in an office in another country for two weeks. It’s an amazing opportunity to get exposure to our different markets and physically be in the office to learn about a different side of the business and company culture. Because we have such a great global network, people can also move around. We have one employee who’s moving to Australia to fill in for someone on maternity leave — for eight months.

How do your office perks help contribute to your culture?

Just looking at the global opportunities, employees are encouraged to think outside the box, to not just understand the business in terms of their local market, but globally. It gives them knowledge that not everyone in our industry gets exposed to. It also really helps with diversity. If you look at things narrowly, from a local perspective, you really miss out on a lot. That opportunity for growth really impacts our culture in terms of innovation and collaboration.

Any other more traditional perks you'd like to show off?

We do 401k matching up to four percent. In terms of healthcare, we have a really good program through Blue Cross Blue Shield with three different plans. For sick time, we understand that people get sick and don’t hold that against you. We also do tuition reimbursement — we are a learning, growing, and developing organization, and we always push are people to go above and beyond what they know.

Responses from Kate Maier, Director, People and Development


G2 Crowd

What "out-of-the-box" perks do you offer your employees?

We’re not sure what is considered out of the box anymore! But G2 Crowd has catered lunch daily, beer Fridays, a putting green and basketball hoop in the office, the latest MacBooks, thunderbolt displays and Bose headphones, adjustable standing/sitting desks, untracked PTO, and incentive trips (like Nashville, but also our content team took a trip to Mexico).

We also do a yearly amazing race style event in the spring where the company is split into teams and start in our office in Highland Park and teams have to solve clues and do activities along the way till all the teams end at a mystery location in Chicago — a lot of fun and great team building.

How do your office perks help contribute to your culture?

G2 Crowd was founded from the beginning as a place where people will love to work and bring purpose as well as joy to everyone’s lives. We spend a good portion of our life working and believe that this time should be enjoyable and sometimes down right fun. All of our perks contribute to creating an environment where people will look forward to coming to work every day.

Any other more traditional perks you'd like to show off?

Fantastic health benefits, abundance of snacks and drinks, fun company events (margaritas after work, Whirly ball, Cubs games, kayaking), ability to work from home, birthday celebrations, a welcome lunch for new hires with their team, tuition reimbursement, stock options for all employees, and new/growing office space.

Responses from Taylor Morgan, HR Coordinator 

 

What "out-of-the-box" perks do you offer your employees?

We have an annual company retreat where the entire team travels to a destination for a day or two to get to know each other outside the office. In the office I think we're unique for our fun, hard-working, family-like atmosphere. That's hard to quantify, but I truly believe it’s different from most workplaces I've been in. For example, this past July, we took the team to Galena, IL for the weekend. We had a full weekend planned of things to do, like wine tours, riding down the Alpine Slide at Chestnut Mountain (we advise everyone to check that out!), a dinner boat cruise on the Mississippi River, followed by brunch and a little competitive golfing the next morning! If you want to see the full recap, you can check out our blog post.

How do your office perks help contribute to your culture?

I think these perks have improved our internal communication and built a lot of trust among the group. We're not afraid to be open with ideas, concerns, questions, etc. and that is huge for a growing startup.

Any other more traditional perks you'd like to show off?

Generous paid-time-off that starts on your first day, several affordable health insurance options, monthly team events, and the opportunity for a lot of responsibility early in your career.

Responses from Tim Haitaian, CFO and co-founder


vivid seats

What "out-of-the-box" perks do you offer your employees?

Our work is all about helping fans attend great live events, so we do the same for our staff. Employees get access to deeply discounted tickets to all live events nationwide, as well as receiving occasional freebies to the Bears and other local favorites for special events or rewards.

How do your office perks help contribute to your culture?

Our office perks are an important part of contributing to our culture—they’re designed to help us celebrate our industry, promote gratifying relationships with colleagues, and simply provide for a highly supportive and rewarding work environment.

Discounted ticket access and office parties geared towards major sports championships help us stay close to what we care about day-in and day-out, namely great live event experiences.

We also have weekly catered meals and office happy hours to celebrate staff birthdays and anniversaries with the company. Our in-house bar surrounded by ongoing ping pong, foosball, putting green, and classic arcade game tournaments helps staff get to know each other both during and after work hours — along with maintaining a healthy dose of friendly competition.

We also commit to perks to make the workplace more productive and rewarding. Our newly designed office has a variety of workspaces, multiple monitors per workstation, countless white board walls, lots of meetings paces with giant monitors, unlimited fountain soda, coffee, energy drinks, and healthy snacks. We also have adjustable height desks, a communal treadmill desk, on-site bike storage, highly subsidized healthy meal programs, and summer sports leagues as components of our wellness initiatives.

Any other more traditional perks you'd like to show off?

At the core of our traditional perks are perhaps our most important benefits, namely competitive compensation levels, attractive individual and team-based bonus opportunities, aggressive promotion timelines, and of course a casual dress code. Our standard benefits also include subsidized health insurance plans, short and long term disability, 401(k), paid time off, and transit plan discounts.

Responses from Kathleen Phillips, Senior Human Resource Manager

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