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Tech Company Perks Make the Rest of Employers Look Bad

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Work at a technology company in Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas, or another tech-savvy city, and as an employee you are sitting pretty.

If you don't work at one of these highly-sought after high-tech organizations, you may suffer with less than stellar benefits. Corporate benefits are big business and are growing in importance to full-time and part-time employee populations.

The Society for Human Resource Management, or SHRM's, 2012 Employee Benefits report is peppered with the usual benefit suspects of standard PPO and employee health benefit plans, prescription drug offerings and casual dress offered in the office at least one day a week for 55 percent of those companies surveyed.

A one-day a week dress code and standard health benefits program where the organization fronts 60 percent of costs can no longer compete with even the smallest technology organizations.

These small technology companies can act big by offering a variety of corporate perks like catered in-house meals, tuition reimbursement and even unlimited vacation.

Companies like TrackVia, a small 22-employee business software company located in Colorado are offering amazing benefits to lure in top talent. 

Chief Executive Officer Charles Var says the rapid growth has been centered around their unique company culture and employees. TrackVia offers perks like unlimited vacation and 100 percent paid health, dental and vision insurance plans, as well as free access to public transport for those employees who commute via train, shuttle or bus.

"Our philosophy is to treat the employees like adults," says Var.  "We work in a growing, yet competitive industry. Our employees understand that and don't abuse these privileges."

TrackVia was recently named one of the Top 30 Best Places to Work by Outside Magazine. And their unlimited vacation offering was especially attractive to Jennifer Gargotto, who began working for the organization a few months ago, re-entering the traditional workplace after honing her skills in online marketing as an entrepreneur.

"The culture here isn't that unlike life as an entrepreneur. The company culture is great, and their company philosophy is in line with my own," she says. "The unlimited vacation and benefits factored in my decision to work here."

When it comes to offering company perks that deliver, one company rises above all others.

Enter the Google.

Googlers are offered a number of benefits including free haircuts and gourmet food, but nothing comes close to their employee and family death benefits. Spouses of deceased Google employees or their domestic partners receive 50 percent of their salary for 10 years. The deceased employee's stock vests immediately, and each child of the employee receives $1,000 a month until they reach age 19, or age 23 for full time students.

The impact of employee benefits is real with 75 percent of companies surveyed as part of Harvard Business Review's Commitment to the Future: 10 Years of the Principal 10 Best Companies agreeing that employee benefits increase employee retention and 72 percent employee loyalty. Published in May 2012 as part of 10 Best Companies, the research produced case studies supporting the value of perks and other company benefit programs.

Outside of employee payroll, benefits are often the second-largest organizational expense, accounting for 30 percent or more of an employee's annual salary. If the demographic, industry or region doesn't typically warrant unlimited vacation or other coveted perks, those companies aren't offering them.  High-tech companies are laying roots in different regions, pushing you to possibly re-evaluate your corporate benefits packages. How are you or your organization responding to these interlopers poaching talent with their high-tech perks?