In this economic climate, not all employers are able to give raises. What perks would make you happy in lieu of a raise?
First, there's all the other things we'd love but that would cost companies money, so they will never do.
- How about if they pay for our insurance, rather than making us pay for most of the monthly premium - hello, we already pay copays!
- How about increasing the matching amount they put into 401K's?
- How about offering a "mental health day", that employees can use up to one a month of? They don't have to accrue or anything, but if you just need ONE day off, there it is, without a hit in the paycheck.
- As long as I'm being silly, how about massaging desk chairs?
- Not making people get foot rests approved by a bitter Office Manager?
- Free box lunches?
- Working with company partners to provide free admittance/special events to local family/fun spots - ie "Free Day at COSI for all WonderCompany employees and their families!"
- Profit sharing??
- Offering a partial reimbursement for services used to stay in contact with work when you're not there, like cell phone bills and internet connection?
- Discounts on the product/service the company actually provides for employees? Not bullshit 25% discounts...I mean free to like 80% discounted.
- Quarterly or annual productivity and attendance rewards for every employee, not just commissioned ones? Might I suggest gas cards as a suitable reward?
- Managers who take a required dose of Prozac, are adequately trained not to be Napoleon-like dictators, and are actually qualified for the positions they've been hired into??
Ok, seriously...how about telecommuting a few days a week, to help employees save on gas? Most employees maintain high-speed internet in their homes, and phone lines or cell phones to be used for communication. To make it even nicer, employers could give telecommuting employees laptops to use instead of desktops, so that the work can easily be taken from office to home. And there's no reason to limit telecommuting to sales associates and VP's. Data entry clerks can work from home. With phone lines forwardable, secretaries can work from home. Network admins can even work a couple of days a week from home, given the remote access tools available...if you can make me get desktop support from some dude in India, I'm pretty sure Bob the Network Guy being 20 minutes from the office won't be a big deal.
Flex-schedules are good too - four 10 hour days, for example, instead of five 8 hour days. But even better is to make that flexible so that if I need one week of 4-10's, and two weeks of 5-8's, I can do that.
How about a more casual work environment - allowing jeans for any position that isn't right in front of the customers, and even in front of the customer as long as they are jeans as a part of a business casual outfit. Most people are smart enough to know how to dress up denim, and even if they aren't, there are a bajillion websites to pull from to define guidelines.
How about having a nicely decorated or landscaped room or garden, and allowing 20 minute "de-stress" times for people to recharge their batteries? To be used whenever they want to, but I know a 20 minute nap around 2pm would keep me a whole hell of a lot more productive for the rest of the afternoon - I'm prediabetic, and for some reason, lunch seems to be a high carb meal for me. I'm always crashing at 2 or 3pm. My friend at Children's, on the other hand, needed a "power walk" whenever she got stressed. I noticed the nicer the place we "power walked", the more she was able to relax and the faster she got back to work. There is benefit in having people get up and walk away.
How about letting employees cross train on other employee jobs? Like, say Betty is a receptionist, but has always been interested in management. She's been here three years, is as high in administration as she can go. How about if you give Betty eight hours a week to cross train with Bob, your best manager? She can shadow him, take notes, and eventually even pick up a few management duties....which trains her, and also gives Bob a break. In the meantime, pull Joe the data entry clerk making 18K a year, and let him train for eight hours a week with Betty, so that when Betty is ready to move up, so is Joe, and BOTH feel honored and appreciated and like they're growing and improving themselves? Radical thought, I know.
I'm back to silly now, I think...cuz I keep thinking of things like a policy requiring the immediate dismissal of anyone who wears patchouli oil ever, or "Bring your Cat to Work day" and "Pick your own Paint Color" for cubicle walls, which come on...you KNOW would rock.
But seriously...*takes a sip of her coffee* Got those TPS reports yet?
- She looks...:: dorky