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What does it take to attract and retain a high-quality workforce in the competitive tech industry? More than free beer and candy.

That’s one of the takeaways from this piece by KING 5, based on the “Perk of the Year” category in last week’s GeekWire Awards. Check out the story by KING 5’s Mitch Pittman above, or read the text here on

Here’s a rundown of the finalists in the category, which was won by SEOmoz.

Buuteeq: The company’s “Trotamundo program” aims to get all employees travelling to visit its hotel customers worldwide. It requires a planned agenda prior to trip, and a report on return from the trip.

Double Down Interactive: Surprise trips for selected employees and annual all-staff resort vacations.

Groundspeak: Unlimited reimbursement for ski and snowboard lift tickets at any resort, plus a “snow day” every year where free lessons are provided.

HasOffers: In-house chef Chris Blanco prepares meals for staffers.

SEOmoz: Every employee gets a $3,000 stipend to use for their vacation. Money can only be used on vacation related activities, from SCUBA diving lessons to luxury hotels.

“There are great companies all over,” says Brian Saab, CMO and co-founder of buuteeq, in the KING 5 piece. “We want to make sure we have the best people here. So giving away these types of benefits, we don’t think of it as an expense, we look at it as an investment.”

Here’s the video from this category at the GeekWire Awards.

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