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The great 8: Smart tips from the ‘best places to work’

by on
in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Is your organization a “great place” to work?

Every year, that title is bestowed upon employers from groups like The Great Place to Work Institute, Fortune magazine, the Society for Human Re­­­source Management, the Small Business Association and many more.

The honor comes with a certificate, bragging rights for a year and a strong selling point to dangle in front of potential employees.

Each winning company is “great” for a different reason. But these lists seem to consistently include companies that provide creative HR practices in areas such as perks, benefits and worker management. Some of the leading ideas:

1. Launch a work/life balance support group. Allow parents and caregivers to meet regularly during work hours to share insights on balancing jobs and personal lives.

2. Involve top brass in employee onboarding. Have the CEO welcome all new employees, possibly with a handwritten note or video explaining the company’s goals. Encourage the big boss to participate in employee orientation sessions.

3. Allow shift swapping. Permit hourly workers with similar jobs to ­exchange shifts to handle personal ­affairs or take a break. Establish guidelines for shift swapping and allow it as a rare reward for employees who qualify.

4. Award on-the-spot bonuses for exceptional work. One company permits managers to spontaneously award bonuses of up to $175 for truly outstanding performance.

5. Rotate layoffs. One small company with 156 employees cut its workforce by implementing a rotating layoff system. No employee was laid off ­longer than six months.

6. Convert to a high-deductible health care plan. Use incentives to encourage employee participation in the plan’s accompanying health savings account (HSA). For example, use some savings from the first year of the program to contribute to employee HSA accounts or fund part of deductibles.     

7. Include spouses and partners in educational meetings about health care benefits. Employees aren’t always the decision-makers, and families that choose their plans together may feel better about the benefits.

8. Recognize employees’ personal milestones. Celebrate birthdays, newborns, employment anniversaries and engagements. And provide free treats for special days, such as “fruit Tuesdays,” “breakfast Mondays” and “pizza Fridays.”

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