To thank employees for working 10-hour days during the busy tax season, RSM McGladrey gives them back some of their time: four hours of it, to be exact, in the form of gift certificates for a concierge service that will do anything from shovel snow to address Christmas cards.
While more employers are offering such convenience services—including baby-sitting, housecleaning or car detailing—as a reward or work/life perk, some employees may be uncomfortable with the idea of trusting strangers with their homes and cars or even children.
Teresa Hopke, director of RSM McGladrey’s work/life strategies, says the firm avoided such risks by choosing a name-brand vendor with a good reputation whose employees are insured, bonded and checked out before setting foot in any employee’s home.
Companies like ServiceMaster (which owns Merry Maids, TruGreen ChemLawn and other recognizable home-care brands) sends workers into the homes of employees whose companies have given them Gift of Time certificates for maid and lawn service as an .
Likewise, providers of backup babysitters and errand services contract with employers to help busy employees. Such services can be a boon for the organization as well: KPMG, for instance, estimates its return on investment for backup child care tops 520 percent.
Convenience services: 7 legal tips
If your organization is arranging for service providers to visit employees’ homes, make the benefit a safe one. Here’s how:
- Choose a vendor whose name you know and whose reputation is good.
- Select vendors who do criminal background checks, document foreign-born workers and check references.
- Assign liability to the vendor for theft, broken articles and their own employees’ on-the-job injuries.
- Invite the vendor and its employees to your workplace for a meet-and-greet with your employees so they can get to know each other before the in-home work begins.
- Test the service out with a small number of employees before offering it to everyone. Ask the test group to evaluate the service and reveal any concerns.
- Give employees a way to back out if they feel uncomfortable with someone who comes to their homes.
- Follow up regularly with employees to gauge their satisfaction.
Finally, weed out vendors that involve you in the administrative work. Most home-service providers make the appointments, keep track of hours, follow up with employees and advertise the service in your organization.
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