A paid holiday abroad might seem like the stuff of dreams, but not with one tech start-up company.
As employers look for increasingly tempting job incentives, Chicago-bred web company Basecamp has gone one step further. It now not only offers three weeks of paid leave every year, but it actively encourages travel abroad by offering a foreign holiday completely gratis, provided that you’ve worked at the company for over a year. Newer employees will receive a paid night out to let their hair down.
It’s a smart move by company CEO Jason Freid, whose employee perks are becoming nothing short of legendary. On top of free travel, Basecamp also offers its employees four day working weeks from the beginning of May until the end of August, something sure to appeal to the company’s young workforce. Freid himself is only a spritely 40, and as such provides a £60 stipend for healthy hobbies such as gym membership or exercise classes.
There’s also an £600 Continuing Education Allowance for those wishing to continue training in any field, and a £60 massage stipend. The latter, Fried argues, is so that employees can counteract the classic posture problems presented by office work. There’s also the offer of 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and 6 weeks of paid paternal leave.
All of this might sound extravagant, but it sits logically with Basecamp’s recruitment ethos. The company encourages a less rigid working schedule; employees are actively discouraged from working over 40 hours a week. Its flagship web product Basecamp 3 contains a feature called ‘Work Can Wait’, which stops employees receiving office notifications during evenings and weekends.
The idea of discouraging your employees from working may be the antithesis of productivity, but as start-up companies take on ever more staff, Basecamp’s approach might well just work.
Not only do the company’s perks lure potential candidates, they also attract the right kind of person; ambitious college-educated employees who are looking to work hard and play hard. Like many young tech start-ups, Basecamp’s roughly 40 employees are largely in their 20s and 30s, with active social lives and young families. By providing these incentives, Freid ensures that he can tempt bright young things away from larger tech companies with people-focused leadership.
Is it a waste of time and money? Perhaps. Especially since the tech market is awash with companies offering similar incentives, and graduate employees are unlikely to stay in one place for a long time. But the bottom line is that Basecamp is making smart moves in attracting the right candidates – and therefore fuelling its recruitment process.
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