‘Gift of time’ benefits: Nice perk, but consider safety, too — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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‘Gift of time’ benefits: Nice perk, but consider safety, too

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in Employee Benefits Program,Employment Background Check,HR Management,Human Resources

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 employee benefit.

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:

  1. Choose a vendor whose name you know and whose reputation is good.
  2. Select vendors who do criminal background checks, document foreign-born workers and check references.
  3. Assign liability to the vendor for theft, broken articles and their own employees’ on-the-job injuries.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Give employees a way to back out if they feel uncomfortable with someone who comes to their homes.
  7. 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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