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Any out-of-the-ordinary benefits we can offer employees?

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Question: “Does anybody offer employees a broad range of fringe benefits beyond the standard ones most companies offer, especially in light of the current economy? Our boss can’t really give us raises, but he would like to offer additional benefits that could be used by all employees. Is anyone aware of any benefits we could offer, (gas, groceries, etc)?” — Lyndsey Bell


Our company offers free bus passes for employees and is going offer a free lunch ticket to the first 100 people to car pool on a certain day. In our specific department, we present awards quarterly based on customer service (we nominate each other) in three categories. You can get one $5 value item (massage certificate, lunch ticket, movie ticket, gift shop certificate) per category. In the past we had a quarterly "innovation award" that was presented to one employee, with a $25 chamber gift certificate as the prize (taxable though). Peers voted for the person who came up with the best ideas to save time, money and effort that utilized technology.

Our small company (8 employees) gives tickets to cultural and sporting events. Also, each employee has a credit card to pay for gas and meals while on the road. Occasionally, gift certificates to local restaurants are given

The company I work for pays membership dues for local community organizations, mileage, and provides company merchandise and food occasionally.

Our company has two types of non-raise incentives: One is a You Rock program where if an employee goes above and beyond (this has to fall within our Colleague Commitments and be clearly documented), then you can award that person a $25 or $50 gift voucher that they can them redeem from tons of merchants. The non-monetary gift (although to me it is a monetary gift and is worth way more than cash or goods) is free time off.....we have what we call Hour Dollars. Our Marketing dept. prints up large dollar bill looking things and they are valid for 1 hour off without having to take the time off your timesheet. You can save them up or use them 1 or 2 at a time to use for doctor appts, leave early on a Friday, etc. They are fabulous! These are given, too, for "above and beyond service".

We have a fairly strict dress code and on special days for example the Final 4 for college basketball we got to where jeans while KU was playing and also afterwards. We also pay $1 to wear jeans on special occasions to raise money for our employee event committe which provides fun things/gifts and or dinners for employees. There are many employee related gifts (coffee mugs, totes, etc.) to purchase from various vendors. Maybe even parking places close to the building?

We do alot of the above ideas. We have a team game where employees do "above and beyond" type things and quarterly if you make the needed amount of points we give out gifts that increase as the year goes on, like first quarter we give out "date night" 2 movie passes that include popcorn/soda, second quarter we give a "survival kit", $10 gas card, $5 Donkin Dounut Card and $10 resturant gift card to an area lunch place, 3rd quarter we close and take a 2 hours paid lunch, the teams that won enough points of course, and then 4th quarter we give out a free vacation days. If all teams win at the end of the year we close and everyone goes on an awesome field trip.

You can use outside vendors also. Like BJ's if you start a company account any staff that wishes can sign up for a membership and it is 1/2 off, courtesy of BJ's. We also have the local gym who gives us free passes that we give to new employees. We have deals also like we worked out with a car insurance company where if you enroll through us they get a discount, like 15%. And things like this cost the company nothing but a little research and phone calls.

You could do small things like you mentioned also, anything that helps with daily bills like grocery, gas, dry cleaning service that picks up and drops off at work, car wash....

We offer a number of perks to our employees with minimal out-of-pocket expense: we arrange for on-site chair massage (employees pay), dry cleaning pick-up and drop-off (employees pay), hosted spontaneous lunches and afternoon cookie breaks "just because", closing the office an hour early on occasional "just because", allowing employees to use our mail and supply room for personal needs for which they reimburse us, and training opportunities such as CPR and ergonomics. Feedback from employees has been very positive. Morale has greatly improved after offering these benefits and they are not expensive to implement.

Our company works 9-80 schedule. In other words, we work our 80 hours in 9-days. Monday-Thursday we work 9 hour days. On "working" Friday, we work 8 hours, then the next Friday we are off! Every other weekend we have a 3-day weekend. It's great! We're also permitted to bring our dog to work (well-trained, please.)

Our Company offers summer flex-time, AAA memberships, they pay their employees' parking garage fees, car detailing at company expense twice per year, 15 minute massages on the company, as well as on company time, they also offer dry cleaning services (drop off & pick up). Those little perks can go a long way!

All ideas above sound good. However, make sure that none of them can be considered as taxable benefits.

Our company gives out Above & Beyond awards and we use severals different means to do that. One of the ways is gas cards. More often than not, if given the choice, employees take the gas cards. We also have grocery cards available.

Our company just decided to do a gas stipend for all employees for the summer months. It's $50 per month for June, July, and August. It's not meant to totally make up for the high cost of gas, but it might give someone a chance to do a local "stay-cation" if they're short on money during the summer vacation season.

We also pay about half the cost of a monthly bus pass for those employees who take the bus.

(PS - as someone else mentioned, the gas stipend would be considered taxable income, so our HR department "grossed up" the amount so that the company paid the taxes for the employees.)

Our firm pays my IAAP membership fees, reimburses my dinner cost, and gives me time off work for the time spent at our meetings. We get a couple of chair massages during tax season and other fun things. On our anniversary date each year we receive a gift certificate of our choosing worth $10 for every year we've been there. We have a summer outing, and we receive a gift card for Christmas (in addition to a nice dinner). There are usually lots of small perks throughout the year.

How about time off? We use time off rewards on a regular basis. Some are for an extra hour off (that a person can accumulate, or they can come in late or leave early) some are a half day, and some for a full day. It does not cost the employer a penny, and a day off is something everyone appreciates. However, to get around the state law requiring earned vacation time to be paid out if employment is terminated (voluntary or not), we never call it vacation time. It is simply referred to as time off.

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