We have all seen articles on the best places to work. What makes these the best places to work? A common misconception is that the companies that offer the most money are the best places to work. However, as anyone who has ever held a job before knows, money is not the only thing that makes the world go around.
Many companies are zeroing in on what makes their employees actually happy. There is more of a focus on paid time off, recognition for good work, flexible scheduling for family events and an emphasis on health and fitness. Many companies are finding creative ways to reward their employees and, more importantly, to keep them happy & healthy!
Disclaimer: The companies mentioned are mostly huge multi-billion dollar companies. Obviously every company cannot reward their employees with a trip to France and unlimited champagne. Regard these as more of an outline & get creative within your company’s budget!
1. Parental Leave
Netflix spearheaded this “movement” in August 2015 when they made an announcement that they would be offering “unlimited parental leave” during the first year of a child’s life or adoption. Along with their paid leave, Google offers “Baby Bonding Bux”, which is $500 to spend on new baby in the first year. Facebook recently hopped on board with the birth of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s baby, offering four-month paid parental leave to all employees worldwide.
2. Referral Programs
Many companies offer referral programs to find new employees. Referral hires are 14% more likely to retain employment within the company. Salesforce acquires 58% of their new hires from employee referrals. They have been known to give referral rewards such as first class round trip tickets to a destination of their choice!
3. Volunteer Time
Salesforce offers employees 6 paid days a year to do volunteer work. This results in over 800,000 hours in volunteer service each year! The Boston Consulting Group also offers a Social Leave of Absence for three to 12 months. BCG employers have worked for Clinton Health Access Initiative, Education Pioneers, World Food Programme and more.
4. Education Reimbursement
Some truly great companies offer programs for tuition reimbursement. This, for companies that can afford it, seems like a no-brainer. Investing in your employees’ higher education fosters an idea of loyalty and care for an employee’s future, whether within the company or outside of it.
5. Office Pets
Can’t stand that face your dog gives you when you leave the house every morning? Some companies allow employees to bring their pets to work. Office pets have been known to increase happiness, productivity and office chair warmth. Don’t believe it? Check this out!
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6. Orientation & Training
New Twitter employees spend their entire first week in “flight school”, where they learn about the company. Making an effort to familiarize your new hire with the company is crucial and saves a ton of money in the long run. This allows your new hire to become acclimated, learn the basics and make fewer “first-timer” mistakes. This is an oft-ignored part of onboarding a new hire that pays off in dividends.
7. Positive Reinforcement
Another thing Twitter is famous for is their Birdhouse, where employees are encouraged to send a shout-out to other employees. On average, there is a Birdhouse shout-out every minute of the work week!
8. Stock Options
When storage retailer The Container Store went public in 2013, a quarter of their employees owned stock in the company. Offering stock option to employees is beneficial to both employers and employees. It creates more dedicated employees and is a cost-effective benefit program for a company.
9. Employee Empowerment
Some companies host events to empower their employees. Tech company Intuit sponsors an event called Girl Geek Dinner. It brings together 100 Bay Area women to exchange ideas in order to empower women in the otherwise male-dominated tech world.
10. Individualized Work Plans
Some companies, like NetApp, offer employees personalized work plans so that employees can make their kids’ basketball games or dance recitals. Other companies offer work from home options, personalized schedules or hourly accrual programs that allow them to take off time later.
11. Fitness Benefits
Many positions require an employee to be seated at a desk for 40, 50 or 60 hours a week! Some companies offer fitness centers on premises, discounted gym memberships or team sports within the company. Whole Foods even offers its employees and extra 10% off merchandise if they enroll in their healthy lifestyles program. Healthy employees are vital to every company!
12. Random Acts of Kindness
This is a little more vague and you can take this as big or small as you would like (or as budget warrants). A law firm based in Seattle, Perkins Coie, gives small rewards in the form of candy bars to employees who help out in a big way. For example, one might receive a Nestle Crunch bar for helping someone out who “was in a crunch.” In addition, they have an anonymous “Happiness Committee” that leaves gifts on desks. Even small gestures like a candy bar can make a huge impact!
13. Paid Time Off
Some companies offer extended time off. 3D design company, Autodesk, closes all offices between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They call it The Annual Week of Rest. In addition to that, they offer a paid sabbatical program, which offers six weeks of paid leave every four years.
14. Shadowing & Department Collaboration
Companies like Scripps Health allow department leaders to shadow employees in other departments. They also allow peers to shadow in other departments, which fosters career development as well as inter-departmental collaboration.
Companies like General Mills are known for their impressive talent retention. Why? They promotion from within. 80% of General Mills’ management are promotions from within the company. Promotions from within a company greatly incentivize employees' loyalty.
16. Performance Awards
Many companies have recognition programs in place. Recognition can range from a named award to a monetary prize. Florida-based, employee-owned supermarket chain Publix recently awarded 44 of their truck drivers with safety awards. One truck driver received the unprecedented Three Million Mile award for 35 years without an accident!
17. Culture of Fairness
Some companies, such as global consulting firm Protiviti, allow employees at any level to post innovation ideas. At Protiviti, peers have the opportunity to “like” or comment on them. If the idea comes into fruition, the employee accrues “points” that can be redeemed for prizes ranging from books to trips!
18. Create Your Own Traditions!
Every company has their own style, culture and management style. Decide what works in the realm of your company. Create your own traditions!
Here at Proven, when the clock strikes 11:40am and 4:40pm, we do thirty seconds' worth of push-ups to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger”. Sometimes we do it begrudgingly. Sometimes we just lie on the floor for 30 seconds (maybe that is just me), but it is part of our own special tradition. Make one (or two or three!) for your own company!