Guest Blog from Michael Dunnett-Stone of Seed Music
When it comes to picking workplace perks, the stakes couldn’t be higher. According to a recent survey by Payment Sense, 38% of employees would consider moving companies to get the perks they want.
The best companies are well aware of this – and will go to great lengths to provide the perks which will keep their workforce happy. This is great news for employees, but it puts the strain on employers: doling out freebies is all very well, but it gets expensive rather quickly.
The best perks, then, are those which benefit not just the employee, but the employer too. Perks which aren’t just freebies, but investments in the workforce. Put simply: perks which make good employees better.
There’s a whole genre of perks which is the epitome of this ‘investment’, but is yet to be seized upon by the vast majority of employees. It’s simply a huge missed opportunity.
That opportunity is music.
No, not listening to music, but playing music. If you can provide a place for your employees to play music, you should. Here’s why.
1) It improves productivity.
Music does amazing things for the brain. As Anita Collins, a leading neuroscientist, puts it in her brilliant TED talk, it’s “the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout”.
By using both the analytical traits of the ‘left brain’ and the creative skills of the ‘right brain’, the pathways between the two sides are strengthened. The stronger these bonds become, the more they can be put to use in everyday tasks – solving an analytical task more creatively, or bringing more structure to a creative challenge.
2) It’s great for well-being
Playing music releases endorphins and dopamine, relieving stress and – in a nutshell – making people happier. This effect is especially strong when music is played in a group.
3) It builds a community in the workplace
At its heart, music is a sociable activity. People who otherwise have very little in common can find a shared interest in Shostakovich or The Smiths and, in an age when loneliness in the workplace has been described as an ‘epidemic’ by the former US Surgeon General, this can only be a good thing.
4) It’s a differentiator
Very few companies actively facilitate music amongst their employees. This means there’s an opportunity for a forward-thinking company to be a first mover, and make a real difference for both its current employees, and future recruitment drives.
5) It’s valuable to employees
I previously wrote for HR News describing how the value of workplace perks should be seen in the context of what employees would otherwise have to pay to obtain the same benefit for themselves. Paying £30 for a gym membership that would have cost the employee £45 is a multiplier of 1.5x. Not bad, but not great.
Facilitating music could provide a multiplier off the scale.
For the employer, it’s cheap to provide. For the employee, it would have been inordinately expensive to attain, if attainable at all.
Hiring space to practice music is currently hugely expensive and often the spaces are usually inconveniently located. What’s more, being part of a musical community is something you can’t really put a price on – we take them for granted during school and university, but once work starts, they’re suddenly incredibly difficult to find.
A company that provides a musical space for employees and builds a community around it is providing two scarce and valuable opportunities: the place to play and the people to play with. For the employees who make use of this, this starts to sound like a very good recipe for retention.
6) It’s only going to get more relevant
Thanks to some fantastic initiatives in recent years, music participation levels have risen dramatically. More children than ever now play musical instruments (up to 76% in 2014 form 41% in 1999), and that number looks set to continue to grow.
This is the next generation of the workforce and, according to research, they are more likely than those who preceded them to pick a company based on the perks on offer.
Be the creative office with a lively musical community that they want to join.
Ultimately, facilitating music can make your current workforce happier, more productive and a stronger community. It differentiates from your competitors with something that is not widely available, and it helps to retain your good employees and attract more creative talent. The first movers stand to gain an advantage right now, and that advantage will only grow as the next generation comes to the fore.
But what to do about this?
If your company is over 600 employees and you are interested in learning more, this is Seed Music’s bread and butter.
Read more at www.seedmusic.co.uk or get in touch: email@example.com