The HR Specialist: Compensation and Benefits

Sure. the holidays are over, but here 12 unofficial “holidays” that employees will likely observe in 2014—even if they aren’t on the calendar—and divert their attention from their work.

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Extra-small employers in the Washington, D.C., area are offering some oversized benefits to their tiny staffs. Washingtonian magazine gave a shout-out to five of them.

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On the desk of every Benefitfocus employee is a cowbell, which the associate may ring to announce that he or she has closed a big deal—or gotten engaged or is expecting a baby. In fact, employees of the Charles­­ton, S.C.-based benefits software company spend a lot of time celebrating personal and professional milestones.

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Mattel employees who want to attend their children’s soccer games and school plays can take 16 hours of paid time off each year to do it. Full-time employees may participate in their children’s school activities or volunteer at school events that don’t involve their own kids.

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A group of more than 30 employers—including Boeing, Chevron, GE, Target and Wells Fargo—have formed the national Employers Cen­­ter of Excellence Network to negotiate lower prices so they can offer hip and knee replacement surgeries at no cost to employees.

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Enterprise Holdings plans to hire 11,000 new employees over the next year, mostly to fill vacancies created by in-house promotions. The promote-from-within policy allows young employees to rise through the ranks quickly and makes the organization attractive to entry-level job-seekers.

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Recruiters at investment advisory firm Andrew Garrett are hoping to attract women financial advisors by telling would-be candidates that “no workaholics need apply.”

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Rewarding your company’s star employees with the heftiest pay raises might not be enough to keep them from looking to jump ship if you expect them to take up the slack of associates who do the bare minimum.

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If your company will hand out holiday bonuses this year, do it with purpose. Here are seven questions to ask before you start writing the checks.

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A year-end bonus isn’t the only way an organization can say “Happy Holidays!” to hard-working employees. Here are 10 alternatives to cash:

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