More and more workers want perks over bonuses. See which companies deliver on this desire.
“Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss.” – Lee Lacocca
Employee benefits aren’t new to the American workforce; in fact, history dates the concept back to the 1600s. Over the course of the 400 years to follow, profit sharing, pensions, and insurance plans made their way into the picture.
Though some modern businesses continue to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, some are going out of their way to create an entirely new standard in this realm.
In a time when motivation is often hard to come by for much of the general public, this global coffee king provides liquid inspiration to millions of customers around the world. For the more than 230,000 employees keeping the company up and running, the incentives take on a much more concrete form.
Rather than referring to them as mere employees, every member of the Starbucks team is considered a partner.
Being a partner comes with an array of perks. The company offers “Your Special Blend”, benefits package tailored specifically to the needs of each recipient. Traditional 401(k) matching and healthcare coverage for partners and their families are only a couple of the available options. Adoption assistance, free coffee, and 30 percent discounts on online and in-store purchases also enter into the mix.
Partnership also includes opportunities to purchase Bean Stock at a reduced price. Since this program’s launch, participants’ financial gains have amounted to more than $1 billion. Beginning later this year, those who reach two years of employment with the company will see a significant increase in their potential Bean Stock returns.
“I wanted them [the partners] to have a chance to share in the benefits of growth, and to make clear the connection between their contributions and the growing value of the company,” President, CEO, and Chairman Howard Schultz explained.
College students make up an estimated 70 percent of the Starbucks team, and the company caters to their needs in a unique way. Aside from offering flexible scheduling so students can work and attend school simultaneously, partners also have access to the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.
In a joint venture with Arizona State University, the company provides full tuition reimbursement for those working toward their Bachelor’s degrees through ASU’s more than 50 online undergraduate programs.
Unlike many other companies, mutual communication and team member input is also welcome in the Starbucks community. Via their Partner Open Forums, employees can speak with and hear from leadership directly. These perks are available to not only full-time staff but all partners contributing at least 20 hours per week to the company.
Starbucks partners help customers attack life one day at a time; in exchange, the company helps them build solid foundations for their futures.
As a global technology giant, Google helps us find whatever we’re looking for, figure out how to hold onto it, and expand upon it as need be. Employees of the company, known as Googlers, are rewarded generously for making it all happen. Free meals and snacks help see them through each day, but that’s only the beginning.
Those who are part of the Google team also have a hand in beta testing all the products, apps, and other goodies the company develops. While the rest of the world is only reading about what might hit the market in the future, Googlers are experiencing it all firsthand.
Though only those living in the San Francisco area have access to the company’s free Wi-Fi enabled transports to and from work, all 61,814 full-time employees can benefit from free fitness classes and gym memberships.
At the company’s Mountain View headquarters, team members have the added convenience of on-site laundromats, dry cleaning, vehicle maintenance, and healthcare, among numerous other amenities.
Pet parents have the unique stress-relieving option of bringing their dogs to work. When the time comes to bring a new family member into the picture, moms get paid maternity leave to the tune of a full 18 weeks and dads are given six weeks of paternity leave.
The entire new parent experience is made somewhat easier courtesy of the company’s “bonding bucks”, complementary funding to be used for any baby or mommy essentials. On-site daycare helps foster the bonding experience once the leave comes to an end.
Although no one likes to think about the potential loss of a spouse, Google makes special provisions for its married team members. Should an employee meet with an untimely fate while working for the company, his or her spouse receives the full value of any stock holdings, half the Googler’s salary for ten years following the loss, and $1,000 per month for each child in addition to life insurance payouts.
Employees don’t have to search far to make sure their families are taken care of no matter what the future holds.
As you can imagine with a company like Reebok, fitness, flexibility, family, and fun are core elements of their employee benefits program. Add philanthropy to that, and the package looks pretty sweet for the 1,000-plus employees.
The brand’s sprawling campus offers incredible fitness facilities including a 12,000 square- foot CrossFit Box, multi-use basketball court, soccer pitch, tennis courts, cycling studio, running track, obstacle course, and a 37,000 square-foot fitness center with fitness classes available for all staff throughout the day.
Exercise is one aspect of maintaining a healthy body, but good nutrition is also essential. The campus features a healthy eating cafeteria which no longer serves processed sugar. Sodas and sugary beverages, large candy bars, fried foods, and white bread and pastas have been removed and replaced with whole foods such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
Flexible scheduling is encouraged, allowing employees of all levels—from the Brand President to the interns—to take a break from their work at their convenience. Summer hours enable employees to start their weekends at 1:00 on Fridays. With flexibility and family in mind, employees can enroll their children in the Onsite Childcare Center and take time during the day to have their hair cut at the onsite hair salon/barber, visit the on-site physical therapist or receive a manicure, chiropractic and acupuncture therapy, or nutritional counseling.
Social events are regularly organized to enable employees to connect with one another. Recently the company hosted a summer social on the campus tennis courts, which included live music, rap battles, and mega prizes.
And if all that isn’t enough, the company offers four paid volunteer days per calendar year and also invites small groups of employees to sign collectively up for volunteer days at local nonprofit organizations.
When the average tenure is 10 years, you know a company must be doing something right when it comes to employee retention. We reveal just a few of the many benefits that help keep the 1,200-plus Timberland staff satisfied and engaged.
At the heart of the Timberland brand is service, so the company strives to help employees support the communities around the globe where they live, work, and play. The Path of Service program offers full-time employees up to 40 paid hours each year to volunteer in their communities.
Also, the Global Stewards program gives employees the opportunity to volunteer for a two-year term, above and beyond their roles and responsibilities to drive service and CSR around the world. Timberland employees have served more than one million volunteer hours to-date.
There are some programs that foster wellness and a good work-life balance. At the company’s headquarters there is an on-site fitness center with various classes, running trails in the woods around the building, weekly on-site massage therapists and chiropractors, and regular lunchtime soccer games on the fields.
The on-site daycare provides a significant benefit to Timberland’s working parents, meaning they can focus on their job role knowing their children are well cared for just a hallway away.
The Victory Garden, which is the company’s community garden, is tended to by 25-30 employees each year. The fresh produce—fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers—harvested in the garden is sold to employees in support of the local food bank.
The garden gives employees a chance to get outside during the workday to benefit the community, serving as a break from the office norm and a vehicle to engage with the broader employee community. Since 2008 the company has raised more than $15,000 for the New Hampshire Food Bank.
Over the decades, Barbie’s careers have taken her everywhere from the fashion runway to NASA, and Hot Wheels have driven children anywhere their imaginations could take them. Though the company responsible for these, and an endless array of other Christmas wish-list items, makes its name catering to the desires of kids of all ages, it does keep the needs of employees in mind along the way.
Besides the conventional retirement and healthcare packages, Mattel team members find themselves enjoying some out-of-the-ordinary benefits.
Mattel grants a few significant perks to those preparing to bring the next generation of the company’s fans into the world. New moms are given up to 12 weeks paid maternity leave.
Though dads only officially get one week of paternity leave, the company offers plenty of leeway when it comes to scheduling paid vacation time around new family members’ arrivals. Plans designed to help offset the cost of adoption and infertility treatments are also available.
Beyond that point, employees may use their additional 16 hours of paid time off for school-related matters to accompany their children on field trips, help out with class activities, and participate in other events. Employees have opportunities to volunteer through the company’s non-profit organization, The Mattel Children’s Foundation. Flexible scheduling goes a long way toward planning for all these ventures.
A company like this would be remiss not to offer employees discounts on their products, but Mattel goes above and beyond where special pricing is concerned. Its 31,000 team members have access to discounts on travel, accommodations, vehicle rentals, electronics, clothes, and many other items from more than 200 retailers. With half-day Fridays being a weekly routine, they have plenty of time to take advantage of those perks.
The West Coast’s largest independent community bank is headquartered in Roseburg, Oregon and has more than 330 locations and 4,600 employees.
Umpqua Bank is deeply committed to investing in the health of the communities they serve, both financially, through active lending to businesses and consumers, and with the company’s time and resources.
Umpqua’s industry-leading Connect Volunteer Network gives Umpqua associates up to 40 hours of paid volunteer time each year to make a difference in youth and community development organizations and schools.
According to Umpqua, this is consistently the top benefit noted by employees. Last year, 67 percent of Umpqua’s associates participated in the program, donating more than 50,000 hours of time to the community.
The wellness of the internal community is prioritized and at Umpqua Bank, everyone starts each day with a motivational moment—a brief group activity (five minutes or less) that promotes fun and teamwork and often teaches critical lessons or offers fresh ways to think.
Acknowledging and recognizing peers is paramount to Umpqua’s culture. Associates are empowered to show appreciation and genuine care for each other through an internal online platform offering prizes and recognition for great work. Each associate can give up to $100 in prizes throughout the year to fellow associates. In 2015, more than 10,000 awards were sent by 2,708 associates.
For 20 consecutive years, the company has held its annual Celebration of Excellence—an awards event to recognize outstanding individual and team performances for the year. Similar in style to the Academy Awards, the Celebration of Excellence focuses on recognizing the hard work and culture of Umpqua associates.
Employee benefits may have gotten off the ground some 400 years ago, but a few of today’s employers are taking the concept to new heights. From incredibly practical to simply incredible, these workplaces have taken matters above and beyond the free Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas bonuses of the past.
Entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes once said, “If you have a job without any aggravations, you don’t have a job.” It would seem the previously-mentioned companies are out to make sure their perks more than compensate for any work-related frustrations their employees may be up against.