Company Perks – Do They Assist With Life Balance?

In order to keep employees and attract new candidates, many employers are now offering new perks to their employee packages.  In a BusinessWeek Online article, some of the examples of these perks are: at Quicken Loans each employee receives transportation, tickets, dinner and merchandise credit to a Cleveland Cavaliers game.  They also receive vacation raffles to places such as the Bahamas.

After salary, bonuses, incentives, and benefits, many companies are adding perks to employment contracts in an effort to attract and retain employees.

In a BusinessWeek Online piece titled Companies with Quirky Perks, here are some extras offered to enhance deals for their workers:

Quicken LoansLivonia, Mich.
Each employee gets transportation, admission, dinner, and a $50 merchandise certificate to at least one Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game per year courtesy of Quicken founder and chairman Dan Gilbert—who is majority owner of the team.

Who’s eligible: All 4,600 employees

What it’s worth: Average cost of gas for 338-mile round trip (source: AAA) + average Cavaliers ticket (source: Team Marketing Report) + $20 dinner + $50 merchandise = about $289

What employees say: Senior partner manager Jon Moises, who goes to games three to four times a year, says he and other employees feel like part of the team. “There’s a lot of pride in going to [Quicken Loans Arena] and seeing our company name plastered everywhere,” he says. “We feel like the Cavs are a sister company to us.” The camaraderie built among coworkers is a big boon to office productivity, he adds.

What else they get: Vacation raffles for trips to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas; in-house rock band “The Loaners” plays at company events, meetings, and fundraisers.

Methodist Hospital System – Houston
In 2006, Methodist spent some $4 million to give employees a $250 Chevron gas card.

Who’s eligible: All 11,000 employees (except top executives—vice-president and above)

What it’s worth: $400 per employee (including taxes)

What employees say: “I was definitely taken by surprise,” says telephone technician David Baker, who owns two vehicles including a gas-guzzling truck. He says the gas card was a welcome incentive for working at Methodist, but if it came down to it, the perk “wouldn’t have any bearing on me working here” should a better job come along.

What else they get: $200 Kroger grocery cards handed out in February

Anheuser-Busch – St. Louis
Each employee gets a monthly beer allowance of two cases. Plus they get a prepaid debit card which reloads in $50 increments four times a year, aimed at treating friends of employees to Anheuser-Busch products.

Who’s eligible: Those of the company’s 30,000 employees who are at least 21 and live in a state where free beer distribution is allowed

What it’s worth: More than $480 per year, if an average case costs $20

What employees say: The tradition has kept employees happy for decades, but several states have taken legal issue and banned the perk within their borders.

What else they get: Free admission to Busch Entertainment parks, including Busch Gardens and SeaWorld

Timberland – Boston
Any employee who buys a hybrid vehicle gets $3,000 back from the company. Plus, desirable spaces in the parking lot are designated for hybrid owners.

Who’s eligible: All 6,300 employees

What it’s worth: $3,000 plus as much as $1,200 per year in gas savings

What employees say: “It certainly tipped me over the edge to buy a hybrid,” says Greg Rainforest, senior manager of real estate, who bought a hybrid Honda Civic in 2005. He says that, with his employer’s rebate, the hybrid cost about the same as a comparable nonhybrid car, plus he saves $80 to $100 a month at the gas pump.

What else they get: Up to 40 paid community-service hours per year

Yahoo! – Sunnyvale, Calif.
Free transportation to campus on a Wi-Fi-enabled biodiesel bus.

Who’s eligible: All 5,000 employees at headquarters

What it’s worth: The average worker spends $9,641 per year in commuting expenses (source: AAA); reduces carbon footprint

What employees say: Communications manager Heidi Burgett doesn’t take the bus to work regularly, but in principle thinks it is “about the best way to commute short of jumping into a private helicopter.” Burgett more frequently takes advantage of the surprising range of on-site services Yahoo offers, such as haircuts, Men’s hair coloring and dentist appointments. “It just makes your life easier—it is all here,” she says.

What else they get: On-site masseuse, dentist, barber, oil changes, car washes, and dry cleaning; movie nights and game nights.

Do these strategies really work? Of course they do. It’s impossible to create a benefit that makes everybody happy, but providing employees with goods and services for their immediate consumption or that make their lives easier sure goes a long way.

Here’s my personal website, please do visit.

What does your company offer?
What do you wish your company offered?

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