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Seeking Talented Workers’ Services? Consider At-Your-Service Perks

Perks like virtual personal assistant MyAssist can make companies more attractive to employees looking to better balance their work and personal lives.

Given the choice between a high-paying, prestigious job and work-life balance, many millennials would choose the latter.

In a recent survey from INSEAD’s Emerging Markets Institute, Universum and the HEAD Foundation, nearly half of respondents said they would give up a well-paid and prestigious job to gain better work-life balance.

Increasingly, work-life balance is among the top characteristics employees look for in a job opportunity, and the ability to help provide that balance can make companies more attractive as employers.

“There’s a lot of competition for good employees,” said Jim Flavell, senior vice president of MyAssist. “Work-life balance is a key factor these days.”

MyAssist is a cloud-based virtual personal assistant service that Flavell said he believes can be instrumental in maintaining this balance. Available by text, call, email or even as an app, MyAssist’s network of 300 live agents provide users with 24/7 assistance for any problems or challenges that come up in their day-to-day lives.

Though the exact price for the service varies depending on company size, a company spokesman said the service generally costs less than $10 per employee per month.

Jim Flavell, MyAssist
Jim Flavell, senior vice president, MyAssist

“Everyone who uses MyAssist has one-button access to a team of people virtually who are there standing by to help with anything at any time,” Flavell said. “It’s an empowering tool that’s there for people’s peace of mind, for their wellness, for their safety in the event of a problem or a challenge in their life.”

Unlike employee assistance programs, which generally deal with more personal problems, financial concerns or family issues, MyAssist is designed to provide concierge services, such as helping users get around in an unfamiliar location. Flavell himself recently used MyAssist when he found himself driving a rental car through tollbooths with no cash to pay the fees. Through MyAssist, Flavell was able to ensure the amount was paid quickly and efficiently, leaving himself free to focus on the day ahead.

Although personal assistant apps are increasingly common — anyone with an iPad or iPhone, for example, has access to Apple’s artificial intelligence software Siri — MyAssist is unique because it connects users to live agents who are able to help with a broad scope of tasks. Through offering MyAssist as an employee benefit, Flavell said organizations can enable employees to better manage their lives outside of work.

“Employers are looking for ways to take care of their employees, that allows them during their off-hours to live their lives more effectively on their own terms, but also as a company allows them to compete better for the loyalty of those employees,” Flavell said.

Benefits in general have been a go-to way for companies to attract and retain talent. Whether it’s a standard health care package or a perk like MyAssist, employee benefit offerings can make organizations more competitive, said Lynda Zugec, managing director at The Workforce Consultants.

“If there are employee benefits or perks that one organization is offering that another organization I’m considering is not offering, that’s going to be a carrot for me to draw me to that organization,” Zugec said.

And benefits that promote work-life balance in particular are of high value to today’s employees, Zugec added, recommending perks such as flexible work hours, employer-provided child care and the ability to telecommute.

“Anything that makes my life easier is more than welcome,” she said.

Janette Levey Frisch, founder of The EmpLAWyerologist Firm, a legal consultation provider for the workplace, agrees that benefits can be a great way to attract employees, but cautions that employers need to be careful when offering perks.

“You have to be consistent in how you’re implementing it,” Frisch said. “If there is any sort of tax consequence, you need to be careful that you don’t have something that might discriminate.”

With MyAssist for example, Frisch said it would be necessary to define the parameters of which employees would receive access — if it would be offered to all employees, or, for example, be limited to senior management. From there, she said the organization would need to consult with a tax attorney to ensure that the benefit implementation plan is in accordance with federal and state regulations.

“Before you offer certain types of benefits and perks, it’s always a good idea to speak with a tax attorney,” Frisch said.

But should a company decide to offer a benefit like MyAssist, Frisch said it would likely be well-received by employees, both current and prospective.

By promoting work-life balance, benefits like MyAssist can help employees and employers alike, Flavell said.

“Companies are looking for more commitment from their employees, and employees are looking for work-life balance,” Flavell said. “You’ve got to find new and different ways to be there for them when they’re not at work.”

 Amy Whyte is a Workforce editorial intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.