Companies in Korea for many years have had a bad reputation as being too old school and traditional. Old school meaning, a working environment that overworks its employees, has few benefits and has a hierarchy system that restricts creativity and outside-the-box thinking. This is the reason why Samsung, Hyundai, and LG are losing out to other global giants such as Apple and Tesla. Korean companies can learn a lot from Silicon Valley as they seem to put employees first. They realize that employees want to work in an environment that encourages fun which in turn will help them be more productive. Skilled tech workers are in such high demand that it has become a workers market. The competition for these tech workers is getting intense and Korea is very far behind in their employment packages.

Many companies in Korea can not hold on to their workers for more than 3 years. This is because the retention rate is so low for many of these Korean conglomerates. If Korean companies want to compete with Silicon Valley to bring in the best programmers, software engineers, and tech specialists and keep them, they will have to completely overhaul their working environment. Here are the top 10 employee perks companies in Korea need to adopt from Silicon Valley.

10 Employee Perks Companies in Korea Should Adopt

10. Nap Areas

Companies in Korea Nap AreaNap Areas or Rest Areas are a must for any company. These areas do not have to have a bed, it can just be a pod or even some isolated couches. The important factor is that it can be a place for workers to get a quick nap. Workers are shown to be more productive after a power nap. A company losing 30-40 minutes of worker productivity will be worth it in the long run since workers will have more energy and focus. Companies in Korea overwork their employees as it is, why not allow them to have a reboot after lunch? A well-rested employee will be a more productive employee in the long run.

9. Exercise Rooms/Free Gym Memberships

Exercise RoomsThis is a bit similar to perk #10. It is all about keeping employees productive. A stationary bike or a weight set at work can go a long way in keeping workers healthy and refreshed. If companies do not have that kind of space at the office, why not pay for your employee’s gym membership? Workers will not only be incentivized to stay at the company but it will help them improve their health overall.

8. Company Retreats

Companies in Korea RetreatsSome companies in Korea already do company retreats but rarely do they go outside of Korea. They mainly go to a pension just outside of Seoul for a 1-2 day retreat. There is no better way to build teamwork than going on a retreat abroad with your employees. Bonds get formed which in turn will lead to a better working environment. The most recommended would be to go to a global conference. This will help the team learn more about a particular market and give them a chance to expand its global network.

7. Game Rooms

Game RoomMost companies in Silicon Valley have some type of game room. Koreans love gaming so it makes sense to have some stimulating gaming device around the office. It is good to let your employees know that they can take a break from their work and just focus on something not related to work. The game room can be a place to not only play video games or watch T.V., but also play physical games such as Ping Pong, Pool, foosball, or even screen golf. The whole point of a Game Room is to show employees that a work/life balance is important to the company.

6. Vacation Cash

Vacation CashSome innovative startups are looking into unlimited vacation days. This is something that will never happen in Korea but “Vacation Cash” could be something Korean companies can think about incorporating into their company. This will show employees that the company cares and will build loyalty with them. Also, it will benefit the company if the employee comes back from their vacation feeling not only refreshed but motivated to work harder for the company.

5. Transportation Allowance

In Korea, only senior management get company cars and free parking. Many have to commute to work in Korea by bus, taxi, subway, or by using their personal vehicles. Why not provide an allowance for transportation to show workers that you want to help them get to work as safely and as easily as possible. Doing this will also ensure that workers get to work on time since they will have many transportation options. In addition, companies will have access to a larger pool of talent, since transportation costs are covered by the company.

4. Interest-Free Loans

Companies in KoreaFor big companies that have the cash flow to make these loans, the idea itself might sound strange. However, if workers take an interest-free loan from the company, they will have a lot more loyalty to stick with the company for the long term.

3. Free Lunches

Free LunchCompanies in Silicon Valley are known for having their own cafeterias. Most companies in Korea just do not have the space for their own cafeteria so why not have their workers eat wherever they want and reimburse them? This would be a huge perk the company can provide and will save workers a lot of money in the long run. A monthly company card of 500,000 won a month would attract a lot of interest in the company.

2. Education Reimbursement

Paying for your worker’s education in a way will improve the companies assets. Companies like to invest in the company and employees are a part of any company. Allowing employees to take classes online or offline will improve their skills and would be a win-win for both parties. A more educated workforce means a more productive workforce. This is also a great way for companies to keep up with the latest trends in technology. Need an AWS solutions architect? Why hire one when you can pay for an employee to get the certification?

1. Flexible Schedules

Flexible Companies in KoreaThe coronavirus pandemic has opened the door to the idea of remote working in Korea. Korean companies have been notorious for being strict when it comes to working hours. You must get in on time or better yet, an hour early. You can forget about leaving on time as well as that will be looked upon as you not having enough work. A flexible schedule will show trust in your employees to make their own decisions. Some work better in the morning, some work better at night. Some might work better on the weekend as fewer people will be in the office. Giving employees the power to make their own shifts will produce better performance.