PERKS is solely dedicated to curating some of the most wide-ranging perks, services, and amenities at their conventions and beyond. Their mission is to change how people think about work and empower professionals who are passionate about culture, employee experience, and building a better work-life with unforgettable experiences and opportunities. Alexa Baggio, Founder & CEO, shares, “PERKS was founded in 2014 as a fully-remote company (way before it was cool). We practice what we preach—living and breathing a healthy work lifestyle. Instead of an office location, we get together in person a few times a year in fun locations for ‘remote HQ,’ where we get to know each other better, work closely on key projects, and explore new places. It’s better than an office!”
Evolving & Adapting: Changing the way businesses work
PERKS was created after Alexa had set up a business in the employee benefits space: 2020 Onsite, providing eye exams to employees at the office. Here she met and worked with countless HR professionals who went to great lengths for their teams but were constantly left feeling frustrated and underappreciated by the tools available to them. That is where the initial impetus was gathered and Alexa started building everything she could to help HR teams amplify their efforts and make them feel more powerful and more effective in building better work lives for their teams. PERKS started with offering best-in-class tools and industry-leading events which not only changed the lives of owners but everybody involved in their companies. PERKS has now become the world’s largest employee experience expo, where employers discover innovative services and perks to offer their employees, connect with peers, and learn how to perfect their employee experience. Alexa shares, “Our events are fun and inspiring, our community is engaged and thoughtful, and our software is powerful and intuitive.” Through its innovative services, PERKS is bringing about the change which was long missing in action. As they say, “Humans, not Resources” PERKS offerings are changing the face of HR forever.
“If you weren’t focused on your employee experience before the pandemic, you damn sure are now. Retention is at an all-time low, the job market is flooded with opportunities and talent, and there’s never been a stronger emphasis on the employer brand and supporting the right employee lifestyle.”
Thriving in Adversity: Signs of Success
Alexa shares, “Our business has adapted to suit the ever-changing needs of HR professionals and the nature of the working world with remote work, hybrid work, and everything in between.” PERKS is aligned to help employers create a more thoughtful and deliberate employee experience with powerful tools and offerings that improve attractiveness for new hires and increase communication about employer brands. This is especially important now because of the timing and changing aspirations when the job market has become fuelled by passion and intention. It is crucial to align with your employees on a deeper level and to consistently demonstrate core values in common. She points out, “All of our growth is driven by conversations with our audience—everything we do and have created has come from listening to HR and People professionals and identifying the gaps between their ambitions and their toolset. We’ve been fortunate enough to survive and even thrive through the pandemic because of this approach.” This becomes even more intriguing since there are a lot of ‘platforms’ in HR and technology that promise to be all things to all people. Most result in costly and untimely implementations and ultimately broken promises. It is here that PERKS is different. She explains, “We have no illusions that we can be everything to everyone, nor do we want to be—we are experts at helping HR teams build incredible places to work and engaging with their candidates and teams.”
Hitting the ground running: Coping with the Pandemic
As with all businesses PERKS faced a looming situation that hit them hard as Alexa puts it, “We had to transition six cities of multi-thousand-person events to online events—which requires a completely different skill set to maintain the same fun, engaging atmosphere. In-person, events are about ambiance, excitement, and overall energy in the room. Virtual events are more like planning out a TV channel that people want to watch all day. It can be done, but it requires a lot of thoughtful planning and flawless execution to keep a single screen so engaging for such a long period.” PERKS had to change the way they worked but since they were already ahead of their times, they were able to turn the adversity into opportunity by introducing SHOWCASEto the world. It was able to create demand for benefits branding and communication to dispersed teams that PERKS had always known was needed but, in the pandemic, became critical. Apart from this what was most amazing was the human factor and how they came together for each other during these trying times as Alexa excitedly shares, “However, hands-down the most incredible thing we saw with covid was our People Ops Society members coming together to be vulnerable and discuss the crisis for their teams as it unfolded. People often forget how thankless and lonely HR teams can be, so when covid hit, seeing our POPS members lean on each other was really powerful. There have been tears, lots of laughter, and overall, we’re grateful to be able to bring people together for support during such a hard time.”
Although hit by the pandemic PERKS was weirdly in such a segment that became more relevant, they were at the right place at the right time. As Alexa shares, “If you weren’t focused on your employee experience before the pandemic, you damn sure are now. Retention is at an all-time low, the job market is flooded with opportunities and talent, and there’s never been a stronger emphasis on the employer brand and supporting the right employee lifestyle.” This renewed interest is exciting for PERKS and Alexa feels grateful to be leading the conversation on how companies can improve in areas that they knew for a long time were super important but often neglected.
Building Legacy: Prospects and Goals
Being zealous and sharing what she has learned Alexa is excited about the future. As an amateur boxer and college athlete doing physical activities is super important for her. It can be anything with a good soundtrack she enjoys cross fit or the occasional spin class and that is besides preparing for trail races. She also loves interacting with students and sharing her experiences with them. She says, “In the summer I teach a short course on customer acquisition and marketing to students in the Brown University B-Lab program (my alma mater). I love working with students to think through their business use cases and help them find early traction. Someday I’d love to teach in the entrepreneurship program there.”
Alexa is a huge multitasker so she is now working on her yet untitled book. She has witnessed everything undergo a full transformation over the years, and the HR space is on the verge of doing the same. Alexa feels thrilled to share her vision, “It’s my life mission to improve the experience and expectations of work. My team and I spend every day in and out exploring how we can help companies perfect their work-life and we’re on a big mission to evolve the HR industry and what it means to work with humans. It’s possible to build thoughtful, profitable, and charismatic companies—my goal is to show the world how.”