Recently, I shared with you 13 No Cost Benefits That Your Employees Will Love. This time the focus is on no additional cost benefits. Many of these benefits revolve around time off and work life blending. Today’s workforce values time off over pay increases. You may remember that during the economic downturn of 2008, many organizations provided furlough days to reduce payroll expenses and retain employees. What these organizations learned was that employees welcomed the furlough days and were disappointed when they ended. Most organizations found that the additional time off didn’t disrupt productivity and in some cases, it even increased. I’ve even heard that our Millennials value time off as more than a pay raise.
Providing time off for your employee’s milestone events such as weddings, the birth of a child or grandchild, and bereavement lets your organization know that these events are important. The key is to provide this time outside of your traditional paid time off or PTO program. Recognition and support will go a long way to engage your workforce.
Creating days where your employees work together to solve real business challenges, design the next mouse trap or refine a process are invigorating for your team. Rarely does a business unit have time to take a step back and work on what is important to their success. As an output of your innovation days, require a report back to the organization on findings and next steps.
Extended time away from work allows employees to rest, rejuvenate and return to the business with fresh eyes and new ideas. For your organization, teams learn to cooperate, acquire new skills and solve problems without the help of the employee on sabbatical. Generally granted after several years of service, only 4% of U.S. companies offer a paid sabbatical program and 12% offer an unpaid sabbatical program according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
PTO vs Traditional (vacation, sick, holiday)
As your workforce continues to demand empowerment, creating a time off bank, to be used as individual needs arise, is one way to fulfill this need. Employees who are never sick, receive additional time off and employees who are always sick must better manage their time. Providing this autonomy helps employees decide what is important to them around time off. Leaders in the organization need to set the pace and the example.
Same Perks for PT
Part time employees are critical to an organization’s success and offering them the same perks will show them how much you value them; reducing turnover. You are also sending a message to your full-time staff that moving to part time will allow them to continue maintaining these benefits. As you build your plan, look for creative ways to maintain your overall spend and cover all employees.
Auto 401k Savings
Requiring employees to opt out of your 401k plan encourages retirement savings and shows your employees that participating in your program and perhaps receiving a match, will help with their long term savings. An added benefit to the organization is a more favorable discrimination test. Most employees appreciate that you are helping them save for the future and tend to increase their contribution once they see how easy and painless it can be.
Your health and welfare providers are always eager to help you lower insurance costs. Generally, they will come to your campus and provide screenings around cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index. They will also work to enroll your employees in wellness programs. This adds up to a healthy workforce and the convenience of having screenings as part of the workday.
With the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, your employees long for additional time in the sun. Providing the opportunity to work a shorter day on Friday will allow your employees to get a head start on the weekend. Generally speaking, folks are more than happy to work longer days Monday through Thursday. Some organizations even offer four ten hour days with Friday’s off.
We know that becoming parents is an enormous undertaking and interestingly only 12% of organizations offer paid leave according to SHRM. Providing paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child lets your employees know that you value this tremendous responsibility and supports the notion of “family first”. While FMLA is a federal requirement often employees are forced to use their time off if they want to be paid or are simply not paid. It’s not about the amount of time off, it’s the gesture and message you are sending.
Offer employees their choice of a PC or MAC. By providing choice you are helping your employees work more happily and productively. Forcing our Millennials who have grown up with a MAC to use a PC is a recipe for disaster. Gone are the days of MAC users having to employ workarounds to access servers, email and other tasks in the PC world. Today both operating systems can live in harmony.
Within your organization, you have years of tribal knowledge and years of digital knowledge. Capitalize on the expertise of your Baby Boomers and Millennials by creating opportunities for them to mentor each other. Call upon your leaders to provide micro-mentoring with groups of employees. Ask your CFO to conduct a one-hour session on basic finance for the non-financial manager. Mentoring will go a long way to engaging your workforce and help them collaborate on real business problems.
R&R After Traveling
If your organization has employees who travel frequently, encourage them to take time off after a long trip. Set the example and take time off yourself. Allowing your team to recharge their batteries, spend time with their families and pursue their outside interests will help them to come back to the business with a fresh perspective. Acknowledge that travel can be disruptive and exhausting.