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TGIF: Perks That Work

The term “employee perks” tends to call to mind, at least for some of us, the “perks heyday” of the ‘90s.  You wanted it, you got it.  Massages, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, happy hours, parking, comp time, dry cleaning pickup and dropoff – the sky was the limit.  There was plenty of money to be made, and a well-comped staff was a hardworking and happy staff, or so the thinking went. 

Perks these days are much more scaled back, out of necessity – times are tougher – and a more thoughtful approach.  Throwing the world at your staff doesn’t always work, and may attract employees who are more interested in the perks than the work.   How do you figure out which perks to offer, and which to ditch? 

Some perks that are always keepers, in my book:

Spot bonuses – for an employee who has really gone above and beyond, always takes initiative, always gets great results; nothing says “we love you” like cash.

Gym bonuses – talk to your insurance company; most are happy to offer an incentive for employees to go to a gym 2-3 times a week for 6 months.  This is a win-win; you get healthier employees, and gym rats get paid!

Snacks – yes.  Snacks.  Everyone gets hungry at 3:00, so having some snacks on hand provides a quick fix without too much interruption to a busy day.

One thing valued almost across the board is time off.  If an employee has just returned from a media tour or conference that involved heavy prep work or weekend time, a comp day is a much better reward than, for example, a massage.  (Plus, believe it or not, not everyone likes massages!)  We try to do Wine Wednesdays here at Crenshaw, but sometimes forget when everyone is busy.  I’m going to try to be better about remembering to do this; a glass of wine with coworkers is an excellent way to relieve stress – and a great excuse to bounce ideas off of relaxed minds!

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