Yesterday, as is often the case, there was a good discussion in the HR Open Source Facebook Group. A group member posed a question stating she was looking for creative ideas as her company wants to offer additional benefits/perks beyond the basics (medical/dental/vision). Members of the community chimed in with all sorts of ideas including:
- Pet insurance
- Commuter benefits (i.e. train or bus pass)
- Time off to volunteer
- Birthday off
- Wellness Days off (i.e. go and take care of preventative wellness appointments)
- A book benefit (company pays for book on a professional development topic; the readers writes a review to share with co-workers)
- Discount movie tickets, amusement park tickets, etc.
- Onsite massages, oil changes, car washes, and teeth whitening
- Student loan repayments
- Milk Stork (ships milk home for breastfeeding moms who are traveling)
Nice. Real nice.
Interestingly enough I recently had several conversations with business owners and HR leaders posing the exact opposite question:
“We need to save some money and are wondering which of our existing benefits we can eliminate without too much fuss from employees.”
Items potentially on their chopping blocks included:
- Paid Time Off (PTO)
- Holiday Pay
- Employer provided Short Term and Long Term Disability coverage
- Sick Days
- Free coffee
Ah yes; the great divide.
Alpha Companies are taking the approach that we all like to think we can take; crafting a total rewards program that is designed to not only recruit and retain but also to delight, excite and energize. Does cost factor in to the equation? Of course it does; but there’s analysis (and sometimes just sheer gut-feel) that stuff like this is worth it.
Omega Companies, on the other hand, have decided to approach the design of their benefit offerings in the same manner in which they decide to purchase 2-ply vs. 1-ply toilet paper. Supply their staff with generic ball points or fancy liquid roller ball pens. Determine whether their pay will match or lag the market. (No leading the market with this group).
The Omega Companies simply want to push the limit by asking:
- “How much can we take away before our current employees either stop performing or leave?”
- “How little can we offer before our applicant pool dries up?”
- “How much are we willing to risk that we won’t be able to innovate or grow revenue because we can’t even attract the people who will make that happen?”
And that’s …. OK. It’s the real world. Oh sure, in some cases there are business owners being assholes and treating people as disposable widgets in the great scheme of keeping the ginormous corporation humming along. In other instances there are challenges being faced in order to keep a business running in the first place; although, come to think of it, how is it that newly-minted start-ups and/or small businesses with, one would assume, less cash flow, seem to offer the best benefits around? Maybe it IS more about the a-hole factor….?
Alpha vs. Omega.
There’s an attraction/retention battle for you.
Head on over to the HR Open Source site to check out the case studies, Sparks and other great content. And join us in the Facebook group referenced above; you’ll love it.