The Tyranny of Satisfaction

I was invited to contribute a blog post to this fascinating series on Surviving Work over on the LSE Business Review.  I wrote a short […]

Creativity is a problem

…however much an organization officially celebrates out-of-box thinking, people are going to associate leadership and creativity the way they associate fish and bicycles. So being […]

The art of listening

I heard the two men talking about a third old man who had recently died. One of them said, “I was visiting him at his […]

Periphery and Centre

I’m looking forward to hosting the European Regional Meeting of the ISPSO at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin this week.  We will have 40 […]

Dare to disagree?

I keep returning to Margaret Heffernan’s TED talk on constructive and creative conflict.  Her invitation (one with which I agree) is to consider conflict a […]

The real price of perks at work

The second part of my conversation with Charlie Taylor at the Irish Times focussed on perks at work.  Are free sandwiches, gym membership etc enough […]

The real price of perks at work

The second part of my conversation with Charlie Taylor at the Irish Times focussed on perks at work.  Are free sandwiches, gym membership etc enough to keep you working for your current employer? Or, would those perks be the deciding factor between two jobs of equal merit?  I, for one, don’t think so.  Perks always come with an assumption of reciprocity.  It may not be this week or next, but you will be expected to ‘pay back’ those freebies.  The cost is loyalty, extra hours in the office campus, not to mention the emotional component of guilt if you think of eschewing the freebies.

Dan Ariely’s work in this area is fascinating.  We attribute more value to something that’s free (that’s why we queue up for free cups of coffee or giveaways at shops). Read more here. It seems more significant when it doesn’t require us to put our hands in our pockets.  But over time, the value of free diminishes.  Those free sandwiches will become part and parcel of the daily routine and won’t feel that special after a while.   Unless the basics are in place – salary, career progression etc no amount of free food will compensate.

 

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