- Companies might be serving up alcohol as a workplace perk, but research from Oregon State University shows that college graduates aren't necessarily buying the idea.
- "Political skills," or abilities to understand, influence and navigate certain social situations, impact perception of alcohol at work, the study shows. Students with high-level political skills were more comfortable with a company offering alcohol as a perk, while students with lower-level political skills were less comfortable with the idea. Researchers concluded that alcohol can hurt recruiting efforts for those with low-level political skills and that there's no significant upside to showcasing alcohol for those with high-level skills.
- The research findings also suggest that job seekers are looking at the smallest details in an organization's culture, even including whether it serves alcohol as a perk, when considering their fit at a company.
Alcohol might be a desirable perk for some, but adopting trendy perks doesn't necessarily add value to recruiting efforts or to an employee's work experience. For example, Salesforce banned alcohol in its workplace — and the company remains at or near the top of best places to work lists.
The OSU study may be a call to employers to more carefully consider how and why they offer perks. Perks should be directly tied to the type of culture you wish to create, and culture should be tied to how and why the work you do gets done.
Wellness perks, including increased attention to mental health issues, have increased in popularity thanks to more employers seeking ways to support their employees in all aspects of their lives, for example. But even those must be implemented well and measured for effectiveness. Employers can go overboard, even when it comes to wellness and other benefits.