Perks matter: Employees at 5 Chicago tech companies weigh in on their most impactful benefits

by Alton Zenon III
February 21, 2019

Everyone loves coming into work and taking advantage of things like cold brew, paid lunches and company outings. But while that stuff is very enjoyable, smart companies also develop perks that extend beyond the day-to-day, helping employees develop new skills, spend time with loved ones and pursue their passions outside the office.

We spoke to individuals at five companies about what perks they love most, and how they play a role in day-to-day work.

 

Yello team at tropical-themed party

Yello provides companies with talent acquisition software that makes their candidate recruitment process more personalized. Learning and Development Manager Kelly Kennedy said she most enjoys the resources the company provides that let team members advance their skills and knowledge.

 

What’s your favorite perk Yello offers?

While the free snacks, panoramic office views and unlimited PTO are awesome, I would say my favorite perk is the dedication to professional development — it’s one of the reasons I applied and I could tell it was a priority during my interview process. Yello offers a monthly online learning reimbursement, makes quarterly contributions towards student loans and 529 college savings accounts, and has team budgets carved out so employees can attend professional development conferences throughout the year.

Within my first six months, I had the opportunity to attend an employee and organizational development conference in San Diego.”

 

Why is that perk important to you, and what effect does it have on your work?

Within my first six months, I had the opportunity to attend an employee and organizational development conference in San Diego, where I heard from thought leaders and others in similar positions. It was an interactive experience that empowered me to implement ideas immediately, which I did. I’m so thankful for the professional development opportunities Yello has provided me so far.

 

ShopRunner team at axe-throwing outing

ShopRunner is an e-commerce platform that partners with retailers of all types to provide shoppers with two-day shipping and free returns. Director of Analytics Ally Mustafa is particularly fond of the company’s maternity leave policy.

 

What’s your favorite perk your company offers? 

Supporting work-life balance via maternity leave and the re-onboarding process.

This spring I’ll be leaning on ShopRunner’s 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.”

 

Why is that perk important to you, and what effect does it have on your work?

This spring I’ll be leaning on ShopRunner’s 16-weeks of paid maternity leave. This generous policy grants me ample time to spend with my growing family. With it being a pivotal moment in both my professional and personal life, I couldn’t be more grateful to have found such a supporting team and work environment.

 

Label Insight team at conference event

Label Insight works with retailers and manufacturers to show consumers all the ingredients in their packaged consumables. Director of Data Strategy and Solutions Brooke Bright said she loves the company’s work-from-home policy, for a number of reasons. 

 

What’s your favorite perk your company offers? 

My personal hero is the access to on-demand cold brew, for those types of mornings, and the fan favorite is definitely the beer on tap and wine. However, to me, the most valuable perk is our work-from-home policy and schedule flexibility.

A random work-from-home day or showing up to the office a few hours later than normal helps me to relax and rejuvenate.”

 

Why is that perk important to you, and what effect does it have on your work?

Whether Chicago is experiencing an actual polar vortex or I’m just too bummed by the rain to convince myself to commute to the office, I know I have the ability to work from home. Outside of this perk being downright convenient, it represents the trust and value Label Insight has in employees. A random work-from-home day or showing up to the office a few hours later than normal helps me to relax and rejuvenate, coming back inspired and ready to hit the ground running.

 

Catch Co. team posing for group photo

Catch Co. helps fishermen and women find new lures, rods and other equipment through its curated online selection of gear. CEO Ross Gordon said he wants team members to take time to enjoy and explore nature, since they are an outdoors company, after all. 

 

What’s your favorite perk Catch Co. offers?

To stay true to our mission, we give employees five annual outdoors days that can be used on top of unlimited PTO to take a day off to enjoy an outdoor activity. We also use company-wide outdoors days for team building and to give us a shared purpose. 

We also use company-wide outdoors days for team building and to give us a shared purpose.”

 

Why is that perk important to you, and what effect does it have on your work?

As an outdoor brand, this is important, because we want to make sure that work does not get in the way of our employees’ passion for being outdoors.

 

Buildout, Inc. working at a computer

Buildout, Inc. provides commercial real estate operators with marketing software and other tools to help them manage communications and optimize their listings. Business Analyst Shamekia Butler said the company’s perks grant her peace of mind.

 

What is your favorite perk that Buildout offers?

It’s a tie between free lunch and health insurance for me. Our hour-long all-company lunchtime is really unique — we catch up with coworkers, laugh and tell jokes all over delicious food we didn’t have to pay for.

Childcare is insanely expensive and any area where I can cut expenses to offset the weight of that truly make a difference for me.”

 

Why is that perk important to you, and what effect does it have on your work?

As a single mom, having benefits built into my salary allows me to focus on my role while I’m here. I don’t have to think about, “How am I going to afford to eat out this week” or “How much does my insurance premium cost, and why,” which truly means a lot to me. Childcare is insanely expensive and any area where I can cut expenses to offset the weight of that truly make a difference for me.

Jobs from companies in this blog40 open jobs
All Jobs
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
Internships
Marketing
Operations
Product
Sales
Developer
new
Yello
Chicago
Developer
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Sales
new
Yello
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Developer
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Internships
new
Catch Co.
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Internships
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Design + UX
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Internships
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Developer
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Developer
new
Yello
Chicago
Developer
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Product
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Operations
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Sales
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Design + UX
new
Yello
Chicago
Developer
new
Yello
Chicago
Sales
new
Yello
Chicago
Developer
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Product
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Developer
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Marketing
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Marketing
new
ShopRunner
Chicago
Marketing
new
Yello
Chicago
Developer
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Developer
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Sales
new
Buildout, Inc.
Chicago
Sales
new
Catch Co.
Chicago
Design + UX
new
Yello
Chicago
Marketing
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Developer
new
Yello
Chicago
Data + Analytics
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Internships
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Internships
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Internships
new
Label Insight
Chicago
Marketing
new
Yello
Chicago

Chicago startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Offices in Chicago Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Chicago Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Healthtech in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Data Science & Data Analyst Jobs in Chicago
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Chicago